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4.6 out of 5 stars
How to Draw Animals (Dover How to Draw)
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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2001
I'm an Ed Emberly fan, and as my children (and admittedly myself) have drawn so much out of his books, we've started to branch out to more sophisticated drawings. With the exception of Ed's, most "how-to" books pretty much "teach" in the same way: They give you a number of guides which are supposed to take you from simple shapes to the picture you're trying to arrive at.
It's apparent to me now, having revisited Emberly's work as an adult, and going back to books like this, which were tremendously frustrating to me as a child, that the key difference between a book like "How To Draw Animals" and "Ed Emberly's Drawing Book of Animals" is =not= the complexity of the final picture.
The key difference is the =gradient= between the guides.
In an Emberly book, each guide adds one or two very simple shapes to add--and tells you which shapes to add and often where (though it's usually obvious) and maybe even some explanatory text, etc., etc., whereas a book like this often gives you half-a-dozen shapes, and requires you to tweak the shapes you drew previously, all without a word of instruction or a different color or kind of line showing where the changes are.
Of course, these things are obvious to someone who already =can= draw, but very frustrating for those who can't.
Now, in my experience, most drawing books are like this, and you can't realistically buy them and be shocked when they all more-or-less take this approach, so I didn't really mark Ms. Soloff-Levy's book down for it.
Parents and teachers should pay close attention when buying these books for children. They all have different skill levels and the difference between ending up with a kid who gets frustrated and wants to throw the sketchbook away and ending up with one who enjoys drawing is, in a large part, going to depend on the adult's understanding of what skills a particular book requires.
For what it's worth, I'll continue to post my experiences here.
From a skill standpoint, I'd put this book after Ed Emberly's Big Red Drawing book. The shapes used are subtler than straight geometrics, but there are often only a few elements to a picture. And, thankfully, there are more than just three guides. (Some drawing books give you just three--or even two!--guides to go from nothing to a finished picture.)
I'd give it four stars but in some of the drawings, the guides don't match! I don't mean that a shape has to be tweaked or subtly altered, but simply that a leg in one guide is in a different position than the same leg in the next! Other than that, this book is recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2013
I bought this book along with "How to Draw Pets." There are similar animals in this book (monkey, rabbit, horse, mouse, sheep, pig, dog, cat) but are drawn with a different design. Most of the animals are farm or zoo related. The design of these animals are more simple than the animals in "How to Draw Pets." The difference is there is less focus on texture, i.e. fur/feather development. These drawings are more shape initiated than free-hand. Each project has 4 stages which build upon each other to complete the drawing. Dashed lines indicate lines to be erased due to overlapping. Practice page is include next to each project but the following project is on the back of the practice page. This is for my 6 year old grandson who I also bought a drawing pad to practice on. Tracing paper will help me overcome areas of difficulty. Good book for his age/ability level.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2000
This book is very good for children. The children have not put it down. It teaches them how to draw basic animals and gives them a sense of accomplishment!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 24, 2008
I bought this as a gift for the daughter (7 years old I believe) of a friend of mine. I am very impressed by the results. She snapped it up and immediately began using it. You could see her drawing improve almost immediately, and she came up with some very impressive (and hilarious) drawings.

I can't really give the book any higher praise than that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2013
This book was a gift for my wife, who doodles cartoon animals and was interested in learning how to improve her technique. She loves it, as it does exactly what the title says; It shows you how to draw cartoon animals in a simple, step-by-step manner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Our young artist-to-be- friend loves it, and the other drawing booms we got for her. Well done, nicely explained techniques even for the very young, because the graphics are so well drawn.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2014
My 8 year old grand daughter loved this book and sent me many of her drawing for my refrigerator. I love them all and was surprised at how good they were.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2014
Simple easy lines, very basic perfect for my7 year old. I would buy it again plus how to draw people and just how to draw by same author!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
My child loved it! We bought it for my 9 year old daughter and her little girlfriends. They loved it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2014
My granddaughter spent so much time with this. She's 6 and loves animals. A great hit!
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