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For anyone who forgot someone on their holiday shopping list and needs to make it up fast, this collection of Tim Burton nostalgia,"Things You Think About in a Bar: The Napkin Art of Tim Burton" is worth the price of every drink these napkins came from.

Book Review: ‘Things You Think About in a Bar: The Napkin Art of Tim Burton’ by Tim Burton

There are some artists you recognize the moment you see their work. Picasso, Warhol, Pollock, to name a few, but in both the world of film and art, Tim Burton lands firmly in the same boat. Things You Think About in a Bar: The Napkin Art of Tim Burton is a collection of silly, morbid, and instantly recognizable pictures drawn on a medium usually tossed blindly away. Some of the pictures are of characters we already know and love from his films, while others are images that immediately feel at home in your mental treasure chest of Burton paraphernalia.
The Napkin Art of Tim Burton
While many of us just sit, drink, and whittle away the minutes and hours in bars and restaurants, Burton continues to see the world and its detritus as canvases for his constantly moving imagination. He takes a flimsy piece of material meant to be meaningless and disposable and imbues it with spirit and permanence.

In some pieces he creates an interplay between his pen and the bar food nearby, like pretzels and cherries. The resulting works are moments of simultaneous depth and whimsy. My personal favorites include the ‘Sweeny Toad’ drawing and those from the era of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Some pages also fold out into extended napkins or show off a tryptic of images tied together by a single theme, like the “man-o-war” series. Most are done in black pen, but those few imbued with color are all the more striking for it.

While Burton’s drawings are a treat to see, they also make a point. Burton mentions in the epilogue that he hopes this collection encourages readers to express themselves and create as well, noting that the results are less important than the act of creation itself. There’s even a blank napkin in front, just for you.

For anyone who forgot someone on their holiday shopping list and needs to make it up fast, this collection of Tim Burton nostalgia is worth the price of every drink these napkins came from.
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About Luke Goldstein

People send me stuff. If I like it, I tell you all about it. There is always a story to be told.

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