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642 Things to Draw: Journal Paperback – September 1, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
"I thought I was buying an orange.
I was actually buying an apple.
And, dang it!, it doesn't taste anything like an orange!!"
If you pay attention to what you are buying and even go so far as to take advantage of the handy-dandy "look inside" feature on this site, then you won't be disappointed in what you get.
This is a book of IDEAS of things to draw and spaces in which to do so. It's a fantastic way to engage the imagination and make an artist in a rut think outside the box. Many, MANY artists get into the habit of drawing the same subjects over and over again. A book with 642 suggestions of (often) off-the-wall ideas will force such people to go in a different direction.
I understand that some people are looking for a "how to" book, but what better way to learn to draw than to simply sit down and do it? Having someone set up a step-by-step example of how to draw a particular object is all good and well if you want to draw exactly like somebody else. But developing your own style of art requires you to look at things with your own eye and figure them out yourself. If you want to encourage your young budding artist to draw, please don't shy away from this book. It will be exactly what they need!
As for the actually physical construction: The book is, itself, really nice. The cover is sturdy. (I'm not sure what they call the material... It's not actually paper, but it's not a hardback, either.) The paper is nice, very smooth, and stands up well to different mediums. So far we have used ink and a variety of markers and have not had any problems with the colors bleeding through the paper. I am going to try some carefully applied watercolors in it to mix things up, but the paper will not likely hold up under much more than that. It will have its limits. It is a nice sized book. I expected it to be quite small, sort of a travel journal sort, but at about 7.5x9 inches, it's more substantial than that. This was good news for me.
I took another reviewers suggestion and use this as a sort of guest book for our home, in which visitors are asked to draw a random picture and sign and date it. When this book is all filled up, I believe it will be one of my most treasured possessions and a family heirloom.
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!