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Mixed-Media Self-Portraits Paperback – September 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In artist and magazine editor Prato’s first book, examples of self-portraits, in nonvisual and visual media, introduce chapter 1, beginning with a quote from Oscar Wilde: “Of course I’m enjoying myself. There’s no one else here to enjoy.” This book is about showcasing different media and encouraging crafters to reveal at least one part of their personalities through art. Exercises follow, using digital images, a “who lives here” quiz, color symbolism, even caricatures to warm up visual inspiration. The last chapter, promising hands-on instructions, is a bit of a misnomer; the author skillfully mixes the how-to’s (fashioning different role dolls, for instance), artisan samples, and self-portrait ideas (e.g., pick from a birth-year book or a mini-assemblage, among others) in a collage that can be hard to follow. The occasional missteps in book layout and design are more than forgiven by the immense range of expression and, at the very end, a nine-item gallery of self-portraits. --Barbara Jacobs


"The ideas are inspirational. The book makes you want to go and grab your markers...and play. It's so inventive and wonderful." - CraftLit: A Podcast for Crafters Who Love Books


Kaffe Fassett's Brilliant Little Patchworks by Kaffe Fassett
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Interweave (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596680822
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596680821
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.4 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #711,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am a writer, editor, wife, mother, collector of vintage fabrics and objects, and (underneath the sarcasm) an optimist. I think I began writing when I realized it was a way of speaking without being interrupted. Hurray! I love the "voice" that writing gives me, and so it was fate that after years of toiling in daily journalism, my first book was about exploring the self: Mixed-Media Self Portraits (Interweave, 2008). I also contributed to Pam Carriker's book Art at the Speed of Life (Interweave, 2011).

I'm captivated by home decorating and design and have been rearranging the furniture in my dwellings ever since I was big enough to push my white canopy bed across the floor when I was 8. Because I can only afford one house, I spend most of my time redecorating mine and writing about other people's. Fortunately, my job as editor of Cloth Paper Scissors Studios Magazine allows me to peek inside artfully decorated homes on a regular basis.

I bring writing and design together in my blog In The Studio with Cate (http://clothpaperscissors.com/blogs/in_the_studio_with_cate/default.aspx) and on Twitter@StudiosMagazine.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Tuscanyblue on October 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered Mixed-Media Self-Portraits and was thrilled when it finally arrived. It was worth waiting for and everything I hoped it would be. I'm a mixed-media artist and have been wanting to do some self-portraits for a long while but didn't know where or how to start. The title says exactly what the book is about: inspiration and techniques. Just thumbing through the pages makes you want to jump right in and create your own self-portrait. There is a whole chapter just on drawing eyes! But first you are shown amazing self-portraits other artists have done. Next are warm up exercises to get you in the mood. Finally, hands on instructions for creating your own self-portraits. If you need inspiration to get you started, this is the book for you.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Belinda Spiwak on November 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
I could not wait for this book to come out. I am always looking for new sources of inspiration. This book is a keeper! The book has a nice selection of artists with different perspectives. There are different self-portraits using different media. Cate Prato has done an excellent job with this book! It is not often that I find an art book that I keep going back to as a reference and for inspiration in what I am currently working on.

It can be a difficult thing to look at yourself in the mirror and turn that into a piece of art. This book gives you a great jump-start on the process.

The book starts out with a bit of history behind self-portraits. Don't skip this part. It was very interesting to me to read about other artists' self portraits. There is a little section on getting yourself out there and on blogging. I am a huge blogger myself. Love to keep one and love to read other artists' blogs.

Some of the artists do not do just one self-portrait. Some do several different ones and some do variations on the same picture. There are all sorts of tips in the book to help you - such as digital imaging. I enjoyed reading the thoughts behind each self-portrait. Some of the reading was very personal. You could see it in the very revealing self-portraits.

As I said before, there are a lot of tips and techniques to help you get started on your own self-portrait. There is even a short quiz to help you think about yourself. There are some detailed exercises to help and inspire you. The techniques are easy to follow.

You do not have to be able to draw to make use of this book. I am a mixed media artist that cannot draw diddly. I used a headshot I had, altered it on the computer, and used that to create several different self-portraits of myself.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By E. Franz on November 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I saw this book was due out in mid September, I jumped on the opportunity to order one. I am a doll artist, very interested at the current time in delving into my persona and pulling interesting elements about myself out and transferring those into images which I can use to create a piece of art. What is more interesting than ourselves? This book should be considered a self portrait bible of sorts. It's amazing!

The book starts out discussing a little bit of history of self portraits and why they are important for each artist to do. The book is written in a very fun, and easy to decipher way-it's not like reading an art history book. Quite the opposite, the book is very entertaining to read with many illustrations, photos and examples of work to inspire the reader. It's filled with lovely images, incredible color and a fun layout.

Chapter 2 gives exercises such as using color to describe your personality, a "Who lives here?" quiz, a quick drawing lesson on the scale of anatomy in relation to drawing the human body and many exercises with instructions to do self portraits with specific themes. This to me is wonderful, because she gives you the instructions with just enough information to allow you total freedom to make each one of these self portraits a true work of art. There is also a section on how to generate ideas. Many projects are 'led' by well known mixed media artists such as Kelly Rae Roberts, the Artgirlz and Loretta Benedetto Marvel among many others.

The self portrait projects are so diverse, ranging from digital photo alteration, to fabric, to art dolls, to caricature, to art books, to masks, assemblage and so much more. It's truly a plethora of inspiration and will reach virtually any type of artist out there.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bird That Flew on February 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To me, self portraits are pretty self explanatory. You use yourself as the subject of your work,whatever medium that might be. This book is more or less a gallery of artists' own self portraits, along with explanations and stories about them. There is a little hands-on information but it is the most basic of info that you would probably be able to figure out by yourself. There are a couple pages that show how an artist manipulated her photo in Photoshop to get certain effects, and I did find that helpful. That's pretty much it, though. The rest, like I said, is very basic information (for example, a "tutorial" on self portraits that reminds you that eyes have whites, irises AND pupils. Well, duh)!

I'm not too into galleries of other artists' works - I prefer how-to's and tutorials so I can make techniques my own. This book was lacking in that respect. If you like to look at other peoples' self portraits, or if you have absolutely no idea how to use your own image in a work of art, this might be a book you'd enjoy. I didn't find it helpful at all, though.
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