Book Review: A Creative Companion

A Fair Trade Book

Title: A Creative Companion

Author: SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy)

Author’s web site:

Date: 1991

Publisher: Celestial Arts

ISBN: 0-89087-651-7

Length: 80 pages

Illustrations: drawings on almost every page, some in color

Quote: “It is good to read this book lying down, because that is how it was written.”

Like other SARK books, this one is a collection of calligraphy and cartoons, plus poems, quotes, a few photos, an occasional story. SARK lives in, for, with, and of creativity. Her brooks are wacky, goofy, intimate, inspiring, and fun guides for fellow artists.

This one tells us how to shake loose our creative blocks and build castles with them. You’ve probably heard of unblocking yourself by working with your less dominant hand, talking to someone much older or younger than you, or taking a long brisk walk. These techniques work, and SARK tells us about them, but she knows goofier ones too.

“Lying down” and “naps” are mentioned often, for a reason. Sleep deprivation is known to cause that “blocked” feeling. On the other hand, when creative people give our bodies the rest they need, they reward us with inspiring dreams.

When you’re rested, alert, and ready to write or draw, A Creative Companion offers lots of simple, affordable brain teasers to get you started. Some pages are left partly blank to encourage you to answer questions and fill in decorations. Five pages contain scaled-down versions of SARK’s original calligraphy posters; some of the black-and-white pages are suitable for photocopying, enlarging, and embellishing so that you become SARK’s “creative companion” in finishing the posters. (Attention any plagiarists who know how to read: SARK’s style is quite distinctive—if you tried selling these posters as your own, they’d be recognized.)

There are some artistic problems A Creative Companion won’t help you solve, such as thinking of something fresh or original to say on a topic a commercial sponsor has requested…but these techniques will go a long way.

SARK is alive and well and fundraising to help pay for expenses related to her partner’s cancer treatment. If you can possibly afford it, buy her books (this one and as many others as possible) new from to show respect. A Creative Companion is widely available secondhand, so I can resell clean used copies as Fair Trade Books for the usual $5 per book + $5 per package, from which SARK or a charity of her choice will receive $1. But check first; you might find as good a price there.

Book review cat, courtesy of Morguefile:

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