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on March 20, 2012
I purchased this book on a whim at my local art store. Having gained curiosity into what else is out there I found myself with mixed thoughts on the reviews of this book, some saying that the person they bought it for liked it, others claiming that it's pedantic or insulting, etc., so I thought I would offer a review as one for whom this book claims to be written. This book, subtitled "Project Book for Beginners" is me. I am a true beginner. I'm the guy that is content with being able to draw not just stick figures, but gender-appropriate stick figures (the triangle for the dress!). I'm the guy that looks at all those "real" artists saying "woooooooooooow" as they draw something with distressingly impressive ease. For me, the difference between a kneaded eraser and silly putty is that a kneaded eraser does not make imprints nearly as well as silly putty. I have never taken an art class nor have I spent years just drawing whatever I see (though I do admit to some impressive doodles over the years!).

So what this book has to offer:

A decent intro for the concept of starting tools. Being published by Reeves, it should be no surprise that they recommend Reeves supplies, but I assure you that I have seen far worse by way of shameless promotions - The book on Colored Pencils by Veronica Winters, I hope she received a lifetime of free Prismacolor supplies for all the advertising she did for them! Master Realist Techniques in Colored Pencil Painting in 4 Weeks: Projects for Beginners: Learn to draw still life, landscape, skies, fabric, glass and textures What I like most is that it emphasizes that some pencils, a sharpener, an eraser, and any paper will get you started. For a guy like me who wants to purchase an entire workshop before I start a new hobby, the simplistic view can be refreshingly encouraging.

Basic techniques. If you're wanting to learn key concepts behind drawing, you can expect to be satisfied. You'll learn some clever tips on how to draw long vs. short grass, some shading concepts, how to draw tree bark, how to draw "negative space", and how to see an item to be drawn first as a collection of basic shapes.

Some very decent drawings. Reproducible? Not any time soon, but then again, the book does claim that tracing paper isn't cheating as it helps to build drawing skill and practice! It includes "step-by-step" (more on this in a bit) instruction on specific items. This is the heart of the book and in eleven very truncated chapters, which the book appropriately entitles as "Lessons", they cover fruit, flowers, dogs, horses/ponies, cats and kittens, still life, and textures, landscapes, portraits, children, and figures in action. Why I say "appropriately", is I believe that what you are learning is more conceptual lessons than actually being able to draw that figure as you're reading the book. I put "step-by-step" in quotes because I don't believe a hairy dog complete with facial expression is really drawn in just three steps or that a horse can be drawn in four. Expect these lessons to roughly guide you in the direction you want, followed by many hours and many many sheets of paper on practice.

Where this book might not be ideal:

In three steps you should be able to draw a detailed and impressive still life consisting of a jewelry box, a flower, another flower in a vase, and a candle, all situated on white delicately-draped cloth replete with subtle shading and perspective.

Worth $8? Considering how much classes go for, easily Yes. The knowledge contained is definitely worth sacrificing a large Burger King value meal. Is it the best use of your $8? Probably not. Considering that I have found many books on beginner drawing here on Amazon for $4-5 more dollars with 150-200 more pages of instruction, you can probably get more detailed and clear instruction for your dollar. Where this book shines is as a solid no-nonsense bullet-point-construct drawing cheat-sheet (or cheat-book). If all you need is some decent guidance and to let the understood need for practice rule the day, then this book will suffice. If you are like me and would prefer a few more than four steps to draw a bridled horse, than there are likely better avenues out there.

All in all, having already spent $8 on this book as an pure impulse purchase, I'm not upset.
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on March 16, 2011
I love this book and have been using it often. I only gave it a 4 as it seems to jump so quickly from easy to hard in the exercises, but that is my only criticism. This is an excellent book with a large variety of lessons to choose from. I just thought it would go a bit slower for the new artist, so I am supplementing with other art tutorials to get more practice with the basics. But the exercises are very inticing and I am looking forward to doing more of them.
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on July 25, 2011
If you have drawn before and have gotten out of the habit (say, for several years), and are finding it difficult to relearn all that you lost, this is a good book to help reacquaint you with the craft. It's very short and to the point, and will assist you in dusting off all the drawing cobwebs in your head.

However, if you are brand new to drawing, I do not recommend this book. It simply does not offer enough information for new artists. Everything that's taught in this slim offering is far too streamlined for the newbie, so I suggest looking elsewhere. Jack Hamm's books are a good start. Some people really like Andrew Loomis's stuff as well, but I find his descriptions way too technically complicated for my tastes (and his books are sometimes hard to find).
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on November 16, 2012
Book does not teach the basic techniques. This is not a beginner book. If you really want lessons I highly recommend "Keys to Drawing".
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on April 7, 2010
Bought this book because I wanted to start up again with my drawing, and I am very happy with my purchase. The book came in excellent shape, and its content is precisely what i wanted it to be. It explaines alot of drawing-tips and techniques, a very good book for those who want to learn to draw animals. Thumbs up!
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on November 13, 2007
There was once a time when Walter Foster's art titles were about the only instructional art books available. Now there are so many to choose from, and so many which are much simpler and step-by-step than Foster's books. If you're a beginner, don't sit down and expect to reproduce the images in this book just like that. On the other hand, don't miss the opportunity to look at the beautiful artwork that Foster produced so effortlessly.
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on February 2, 2012
I bought this item for my teenage son for Christmas who has displayed his interest in drawing/art. He has drawn a few items for the book already and is having fun learning the techniques in the book.
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on January 7, 2014
I like this book for myself. But because it stated beginner I thought it would have the starting concepts and easy sketches for teaching my talented pre-teen. The basic concepts were brief in the beginning and then it went straight to a much harder level of drawing. I like the book, but not for this age group.
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on May 28, 2014
This project book is nice to refer to. However, for a real, never done this before, beginner, it is way above my knowledge level, which is basically null! I'm a REAL beginner, and I probably am strictly left-brained, because I could NEVER draw to this level at my stage of "beginning". However, for those of you who have a micron of artistic ability, this book would help you with shadowing, lighting techniques, and other skills that are not contained in my brain cells.
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on February 25, 2015
I got this book for a young man who wants to learn how to draw. They instructions are not that clear for a younger person just starting to draw. I still can't decide if I am going to give it to him. I got him another book that was much better for a beginner and he is very happy with it. I may give this book to him later on.
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