Imagine A Forest…



Imagine A Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art by Dinara Mirtalipova is such a beautiful book. I found it at the library one day when I was on my way to the checkout station with a handful of books I had on reserve. The cover caught my eye right away. I took one look and added it to my stack to check out and take home.

Mirtalipova, originally from Uzbekistan, is officially one of the most inspiring self-taught artists ever. In the introduction she explains that she never thought being an artist could be a career, and it wasn’t until later in life that she actually realized she could pursue it.

“I believe art is not about precise details but ultimately about expression, or a story you’re telling through your work and the emotions you’re sharing. Painting with my daughter is wonderful, as she often reminds me that following the rules is boring and insists on drawing things her way. So please look at the lessons I share here as an inspiration and try to discover your own way of drawing.”

After covering which tools to use for drawing and painting, (brushes, paints and paper thickness) she discusses how to pick a color palette, something which is personal and unique to artists. She recommends looking at your life for inspiration: your closet, your music preferences. They will give you clues as to what the colors in your palette will be. In my case, my color palette would be a mix of blues and greens, black and white, with some purple thrown in just for fun 🙂


The chapters teach you how to create everything from flowers and animals, to mythical creatures, people, castles, and lettering. I will admit that as a non-artist who has never been great at drawing, I did not get this book with the intent that I would pick up a paintbrush and have at it. But Mirtalipova’s inspiring words on each page will make you believe you actually can, and that you might not be terrible at it.

I especially loved her “Note from the Author” at the end of the book where she offers advice for those of us who are full of ideas but aren’t sure how to get started, reminding us that:

“You are so much bigger than mimicking someone else’s work or style.”

YES. I think we can apply that to so many things in life, not just drawing, don’t you? 🙂 If you can’t pick up the book, there are equally beautiful drawings to lose yourself in on her website,

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