Remember when the reusable shopping bag scene exploded about a few years ago? Made out of cotton and eco-friendly material, these tote bags were found almost everywhere, and almost overnight too. And of course, we couldn’t let it go out like that – all white, plain and unembellished. To the bag, that would be akin to going out naked. OH NO.
So what do artists and illustrators do? They leave their mark on it of course. They drew, screen printed and then some. Explosions of colors and thoughts blasted through the outsides of the multi-purpose bag which held anything and everything from groceries to your pet chihuahua. From political messages to plain inspiring ones, the tote bag has come a long way from being a humble accessory. Think of it as this centuries’ version of the ubiquitous graphic t-shirt. If you have an opinion, voice it on your bag!
And so Jitesh Patel’s book The Tote Bag is a timely homage to the simple yet usable carry-all. In it are collections of works by various artists and illustrators. There are simple ones, and those that are complex; but one thing’s for sure, this new canvas is not going anywhere anytime soon.
One thing I absolutely love is the ingenuity of the way it is packaged. You see, it’s not encased in those see-through boring (but absolutely necessary) plastic cover. The book is wrapped in – you guessed it – a tote bag with a pattern designed by none other than one of my favorite illustrators, Gemma Correll. And of course, in addition to being hugged by a tote bag, it was also wrapped in plastic to keep grubby paws clear from manhandling the book. Because let me make it clear: YOU WILL WANT TO when you see it on a bookshelf.
The book is chock full of lovely works by some of my favorite artists in there as well – Anke Weckmann, Julia Pott, Sarajo Frieden, Ashkahn and Shinzi Katoh. I found quite a few lovely work from new peeps of course, which are too many to mention right here. In a nutshell, I love the selections that Jitesh put forth here in this book, and if you’re nuts about illustration like I am, it deserves to be in your library.
You can pick up a copy of The Tote Bag over at Amazon if you’re so inclined!