What do my dreams mean? Lost in Reverie encapsulates the creative mystique of dreamscapes

Our dreams are free from judgement and often act as a release of pressure. Here, we see how many artists and illustrators are using their dreams as creative inspiration.

1 June 2021


From a young age, book designer Leanne Lee has been fascinated by the whimsicality of dreams. Currently working at the Hong Kong-based arts publishers Victionary, Leanne has poured this life long interest into a new book Lost in Reverie, a compendium of illustration and art works capturing the magic and mystique of dreamscapes. The book designer tells us about the passion project, mentioning, “In this fast-paced world, we are always fed with lots of rules and boundaries that limit us – but dreams will never stop inspiring our creativity.” Noting how dreams act as an “exit point” where we can release subconscious and conscious pressures, the book encapsulates how our minds can flow freely in dreams, free from judgement.

When it came to Victionary creating a book on the subject, the team felt it was an undeniably interesting subject given the importance of imagination in the creative process. “In terms of book design,” adds Leanne, “we tried to eliminate the limitations of the usual reading experience.” Disrupting the typical flow of a book and getting rid of page numbers (“who needs page numbers when dreaming?"), Lost in Reverie is not so much a guide to artists exploring this subject matter. Instead, the book is the “voice in your heart and that should guide you in your ‘dream’ journey.”

Featuring artists such as Jun Cen, Tae Lee, Andrea Wan, Afa Annfa, Céline Ducrot, Owen Gent, Tae Lee, Nancy Liang, Yiyi Wang and more, the artists’ work unfolds with its imagination centre stage. The most elaborate design detail occurs on the front and back cover, which also follows an untraditional approach. Two different covers allow readers to access the book’s content from both upright and upside down. Choosing to print the cover with white silkscreen ink on a transparent PVC jacket, Leanne hoped to communicate the weightlessness of dreams. It also indicates how these covers can be seen as a starting point to either end of the book.

The book is also separated into two sections, Into The Light which features colourful art and illustration delving into our daydreams, and also Into The Dark which includes work reminiscent of nightmares. These two chapters however, are anything but a binary distinction between so-called ‘good’ and ‘bad’ dreams. As Leanne puts it: “Although we can have good or bad dreams, it all depends on the way we interpret them and get inspiration from them.”


Victionary: Lost in Reverie (Copyright © Victionary, 2021)

Leanne continues to mention a couple of artists to look out for in the book. In the light side, for instance, Po-Hsun Huang includes his surrealist painting titled Before The Beginning, After The Ending, an enigmatic piece which explores an unknown fantasy full of life and colour, but not limited by time and space. Interestingly, his narrative-based works challenge the possibilities of storytelling and Huang combines traditional and digital mediums to create something uniquely delicate. On the other side, Marie Muravski includes an illustration asking the audience to question what is on her mind.

On the importance of Lost in Reverie, Leanne cites how humans are “easily attracted to the unknown”. While dreams have been a huge topic of conversation in both art, science and literature – take, for example Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland or Salvador Dali’s work – Leanne underlines how most of us are still baffled by our dreams and any attempt to interpret them. She adds, “In a world full of data, the existence of magic and the mystery of dreams continue to captivate creatives, as it is a rare space to let their creativity flow freely.”

With a wealth of other creative artistry and atmospheres wrapped up into one comprehensive tome, Lost in Reverie details the expansiveness of dreams from the “weird, quirky, mysterious, crazy and fun” enigmas where no judgement occurs. Leanne finally goes on to say, “No matter how ‘weird’ your dreams may seem, be inspired by them, just like how the artists and illustrators in this book have been.”

GalleryVictionary: Lost in Reverie (Copyright © Victionary, 2021)

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Victionary: Lost in Reverie (Copyright © Victionary, 2021)

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About the Author

Jynann Ong

Jynann joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. She went freelance in 2022.

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