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642 Things to Draw: Journal Paperback – September 1, 2010
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About the Author
Chronicle Books is a San Francisco-based American publisher of books for adults and children. The company was established in 1968 by Phelps Dewey, an executive with Chronicle Publishing Company, then-publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle.
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This book gives you blank pages with a random prompt. Your goal is to draw that prompt. No guides. These prompts can range from a skunk, to a crayon, to David Bowie, to a sense of humor. Just random prompts.
Why is this the best thing for your skills? If you really want to get good at drawing, you have to practice drawing everything. You haves to expand and understand your mind reference library. The bigger you mind library is, the better art you will make.
But you don't know how to draw one of the prompts? I'll let you in on a secret. Artists use references. They look up and learn what they want to draw. All the best to this. From the ancient masters to Rockwell to James Gurney. You can often find their notes and process on famous artwork. If your goal is to become better, or even just learn how to do it, that is what you will have to do too. In fact, however simple and nice those step by steps are, this approach will do much much more for you in the long run.
This isn't a big book and the paper shouldn't be used for anything other than pencil or a ball-point pen. But, you don't have to draw in this book. You can take the prompts you find and draw/paint/color them in your sketchbook or on whatever paper/canvas of your choosing.
This book is great for breaking out of art-blocks, for figuring out what to draw, for getting you out of your comfort zone, and for helping you improve your skills. Get it. Use it. You won't regret it.
I can definitely say this has helped me cope with my anxiety disorder better than most every other tool I've tried. This is like a stress ball for me, except that it actually works. When I'm feeling anxious and/or having racing thoughts, I grab this book and it gives me something to really concentrate on. Before I know it, I'm really into what I'm drawing and have totally forgotten about whatever it was I was ruminating over.
If I just sat down with a blank piece of paper I would feel overwhelmed and not have any idea where to start. I like that this is guided, but you can use the prompts in whichever way you're feeling that day. Sometimes I just end up doing small cartoon like sketches. Other days I end up going all out with shading and making it look as 3-D and realistic as possible. The cool thing is, it's up to you!