Book Review: Outside the Lines

By / Oct 11th, 2013 / , , / No comments

‘Keep within the lines’ is one of those phrases we become familiar with when we’re all grownup. It usually signifies a reluctance to squish the elaborate signature we’ve been perfecting on A4-scale since childhood. This skill lets us fit ourselves into an (inadequate) space on forms and certifies our status as part of adult-dom. Bore. Big kids need fear no more the reality of precariously navigating the nib of their pen in confined spaces thanks to a new publication, Outside the Lines: An Artists’ Colouring Book for Giant Imaginations. Featuring over 100 black and white drawings, Author Souris Hong-Porretta brings together celebrated international talent from the creative worlds of animation, illustration, fine, contemporary, graphic and street art as well as photography, music and video gaming to contribute to this grownup colouring book.

Conceptual designs range from the iconic bold aesthetic of Keith Haring to his contemporary counterparts such as Ryan McGinness, Steven Harrington, Shepard Fairey, Katsuo Design and AIKO. The work of these artists makes up the eclectic mix of content in this book, which ranges from traditional to graphic styles, past and present. White cube cognoscenti, animation aficionados, graffiti junkies and culture vultures will all enjoy interacting with the established artists on the page to produce their very own collaborative works of art. With plenty of space to customise and colour as well as the reverse of each side left blank, this colouring book will have you quickly reverting to your childhood ways, and you’ll be proudly pinning your work to the fridge in no time.

With the line between institutional and alternative platforms ever-blurring, Outside the Lines functions as an accessible outlet for contemporary art, letting it reach beyond conventional audiences to a greater, more unassuming readership. As with the rise of graffiti and street art as an accepted art form within the commercial world, this publication is much more than a colouring book – offering a narrative of art education without the use of words. It comes as no surprise that Author and Curator, Souris Hong-Porretta is based in Los Angeles – home of the art billboard – as the city has successfully carved a name for itself on the art map with the introduction of several outlets for major public art away from institutional confines.

Whether a gift for a fellow culture comrade or an escape from the big bad world of rules and regiment, Outside the Lines is guaranteed to appeal to all big kids. In the same way as riding a bike, you never forget how to colour in, and you always remember how much fun it was to let your imagination run wild.

The hardest thing will be digging out your old crayons and markers – once they’re found, your fridge will become unrecognisable.

Outside the Lines: An Artists’ Colouring Book for Giant Imaginations, curated by Souris Hong-Porretta, is published by Penguin Group. Images were kindly provided by Penguin and are credited as follows: Outside the Lines cover, AmyRoss ‘Forest Friends’ and Mambo ‘Brainology’.

Jonathan Velardi is an arts, culture and lifestyle writer and one of the latest Ohh Deer bloggers. His background as a conceptual visual artist forms the basis of his editorial interest around global creative activity – visit for a selection of his published work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.