Friday, May 10, 2019


By Taro Gomi

(Chronicle Books, 2012)

I just love the concept of this book. It begins with:

I don't know what you're grumpy about, but why don't you try doodling? Doodle anything you like. See? Aren't you starting to feel better?

And the likely answer from a truly grumpy person will be, "NO!"

But that's okay. Taro Gomi provides ample space for grumpy doodles. Gomi draws a simple shell of a house and invites the doodler to "draw a person being very cranky inside this house." The doodler next gets to make a teapot angry and create a crabby train.

It gets more absurd. "What do grouchy mountains look like?" Draw the clothes you would wear when feeling mad. Make a "furious clock".

After about fifty pages of angry doodles, Gomi says:

Well, well! You don't look grumpy anymore. What does your face look like now? Now that you're feeling better, turn the page for more doodling.

Here's where I expect a typical doodler to resist, not due to still being grumpy, but simply to have fun. There are pages and pages left for the user to draw angry blobs and squiggles. Or not. Maybe a smiley face will creep in. Ultimately, I have a strong hunch that the budding artist will find amusement in free-form doodling, regardless of whatever emotion he or she feels in the moment. Art is indeed a form of expression.

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