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The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw Paperback – July 5, 2016
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up—David is awed by an older student who can draw cars, and he wants to be able to do the same. When he asks Becky, an artist drawing in the park, for a quick lesson, the small request turns into an entire summer of progressive tutorials that readers are encouraged to emulate and practice. What could have been a series of instructions enhanced with dialogue and humor instead features a full story that's heartfelt and quite moving. The book contains illustrations rendered in shaded, sepia-tone pencil overlaid with crisp, computer-created dialogue balloons, and as Becky talks about framing and realism, negative space, and lighting, readers start to notice the intriguing choices Crilley has made in his storytelling. The focus is on drawing, not graphic narrative, but as readers see and analyze the way Becky—and, by extension, Crilley—is encouraging them, the balance between cartooning and realism begins to leap out. The dynamic between David's impetuous enthusiasm and Becky's caustic reserve pays off in a way that might be surprising, considering Crilley's frequent use of caricature. This title supports rereading and careful examination of the author's impeccable technique and the implied storytelling lessons he doesn't make explicit. VERDICT An artful balance of character and technique, of observed human moments and carefully pitched instruction, that will appeal to students with artistic aspirations.—Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH
2017 Eisner Award Nominee
2017-2018 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award List
"[H]eartfelt and quite moving...An artful balance of character and technique, of observed human moments and carefully pitched instruction, that will appeal to students with artistic aspirations. Gr 4 + Up"
—School Library Journal
"Engaging...A pleasant diversion for a long summer afternoon, The Drawing Lesson is likely to result in lots of ambitious sketching among readers ages 7 to 14."
—Wall Street Journal
"The narrative is often funny and unexpectedly poignant, while the tutorials are impressively clear and easy for readers to implement...A great pick for juveniles and young teens looking to learn the craft of drawing."
"Proportion, negative space, perspective, lighting, and other drawing basics are covered concisely and informatively, so a student could easily follow the clear drawings to benefit from Becky’s lessons. Crilley develops his characters fully, making this a true novel and not simply a narrated drawing lesson. An original and accessible way to learn to draw. (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)"
"Offers thorough and practical lessons in drawing. The instruction is solid, covering proportion, shading, loose sketching, self-criticism, drawing shadows, and negative space."
"You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and you might even discover a hidden talent. What’s not to love?"
—Girls' Life Magazine
"A great book for young artists and their parents, sure to encourage artistry while building confidence and fundamental drawing skills."
"Everyone has looked at a piece of art, whether it is a comic book or classical painting, and thought I wish I could do that…Mark Crilley’s latest drawing manual, ‘The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw,’ turns that wish into an absolution."
"The book doesn’t just show you the right way to do things but also common, fixable mistakes. Then it shows you what to do in order to make things right."
"This book tackles all the topics they covered in my High School AP Art Class...An excellent book to give to a young person (tween to teen) if they’re interested in learning about the technical aspects of art."
—The Children's Book Review
"The Drawing Lesson is a truly innovative way to learn art. I can’t wait to get this book for every kid on my gift buying list. Whatever your age, The Drawing Lesson is an essential primer on how to draw what you see."
—Gene Ha, artist for Alan Moore’s Top 10, Fables, and Action Comics, creator of Mae, and four-time Eisner Award winner
Top customer reviews
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Its purpose, according to the book's notes, is to allow you to experience what it's like to have a mentor--someone who will not only teach you how to draw, but interact with you, point out what you're doing wrong, and to encourage you (but not coddle you). This book delivers that, in an abbreviated form.
The story is of a boy, David, who meets a woman in the park who is drawing. He begs her to teach him, and she does, for a few hours. But of course, the lesson doesn't end there! Each chapter shows how David and his mentor meet up, and each chapter shows her teaching him a new drawing principle. First, it's getting the outline of the drawing accurate. There's a chapter on shading. Then there's the one about using your pencil strokes to follow along the form. (I enjoyed that one. Finally, a beginner drawing book that doesn't rely on smearing the graphite! Eureka! Glory be!) Negative space is covered, composition--it's a really good book!
I'd recommend it to anyone, of any age. I wouldn't assume that it would be the only drawing book that would ever be needed. It can't possibly cover everything. But it does offer a good start, plus it teaches some truths that beginner artists need to learn, but are things that are often beyond the scope of regular beginner drawing books. Things like wanting to draw for its own sake (not to compete with someone else), and to accept criticism and keep on moving forward.
This is a wonderful book and beautifully presented. I think it would be a big hit with anyone, but particularly those under age 18, especially if they've just discovered drawing.
The sketchy art style is superb. With it's cartoony characters and semi-realistic backgrounds, it's almost as if he's returned to his Akiko roots, while at the same time he makes it seem as if the world around the characters is a sketch itself. The thinly laced plot is solid as a rock and the characters are very believable. From the eager student David, (named after his real life art instructor, David Small,) to his art instructor Becky, who seems to teach him about drawing just to get him to stop bugging her.
As a young student artist, it calls to mind MY drawing lessons I've had with my first art instructor a few years ago, (and him telling me to make my lines darker among other things.) I've had many of the same problems with my art as David does in this book, (and still do,) so that makes the young protagonist far more compelling to me than, say, Miki Yoshida from Miki Falls. Becky's drawing lessons are very practical and very similar to how my art instructor taught me, (though I don't remember him telling me about Negative Space,) and her instructions don't feel like she's talking down to you, unlike SOME instructional comics I've read.
Ever since I picked up that copy of Mastering Manga over a Christopher Hart book so long ago, I feel like I've learned everything about drawing comics from this master of the comics medium, (and from my art instructor of course!) All in all, if this masterpiece doesn't win him his Eisner Award, (or at least fourteenth nomination,) I don't know what will!
The story line is very simple. A young boy meets an artist and wants her to teach him to draw. Crilley's drawings are simple. The emotions of the characters are well portrayed in their facial expressions and body language. The boy is impatient but enthusiastic. The artist undertakes the task unwillingly but works with him, encouraging and correcting him.
The lessons in the book are very basic but can lead to becoming a competent artist. I'm not a professional artist but I have taken a few lessons. This book covers the lessons I took very thoroughly.
I am really glad we got this.