Comics Reviews

REVIEW: One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal

Written by Fred McNamara

SelfMadeHero have made their mark on the indie comics scene, and are well-known for the diversity in their titles. They publish everything from imaginative sci-fi, hard-hitting drama to whimsical romance. It was a refreshing surprise therefore when Mike Medaglia‘s One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations dropped through A Place To Hang Your Cape’s letterbox earlier this year.

An insanely adorable read, Mike, a Huffington Post blogger and Zen Buddhist practitioner, took life-affirming quotes from around the world and from the ages and brought them to life via endlessly handsome illustrations. Now however, One Year Wiser has developed from that initial book into its own mini-franchise, which includes the recreational book One Year Wiser: The Colouring Book and now One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal.

Essentially a fusion of 365 Illustrated Meditations and The Colouring Book, A Gratitude Journal has plenty of space for you to scribble down your daily plans, but also yet more reassuring quotes on life, the mind and more from the world’s best brains. There’s also amble opportunity to colour not just the accompanying black-and-white illustrations, but also the journal entries themselves.

Admittedly, the included quotes themselves don’t hold as much visual power as they do in 365 Illustrated Meditations. Without the full-blown colour treatment, their punch doesn’t have perhaps the desired impact. But once you dig out your colouring pencils, you’ll soon take Mike’s already gorgeous drawings to a higher level. Mike also floods the journal with his own meditative, balanced thoughts on the importance of keeping a fair and gracious attitude in all aspects of life.

A Gratitude Journal
works as both a journal to fill with thoughts and ideas, and a journal to simply admire. Taking advantage of the journal’s spacious capacity for your own writings means that every so often, you’ll discover a quite or a drawing to colour at random intervals of page turning. A lack of structure regarding which page you get a quote and which page you get space to write makes A Gratitude Journal all the more an immersive experience. You never quite know when the next quite will come, or what it will be, and the same goes for the drawings. As skilled a thinker as he is a drawer, there’s no element of A Gratitude Journal that’s stronger than the other. Everything feels perfectly balanced and paced, and there’s as much ample room for you to transfer your own thoughts on life, the universe, and everything to paper as there is for savouring Mike’s own reflections on the world.

One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal is yet another delightful item from the mind of Mike. He takes the opportunity to produce a reflective concept of a journal that invites more participation on the part of the reader than your average blank-page affair. Ultimately, it;s the kind of journal you’d want to sit back and admire for its own light, artistic merits, rather than fill it with messy scribbles. It’s that good.

Have you read One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments section below or send us a Tweet!

About the author

Fred McNamara

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