My kids (and I) are all interested in drawing. As I’m sure is the case with most people, we struggle with getting what’s on the paper to look anything like what is in our brain. With some exception (mostly in subject matter), we aren’t actually that great at drawing. We are not innate artists. However, can naturally follow rules, develop patterns and spend long periods of quiet time working on something.
And that’s where drawing books come in. We have tried many drawing books. We find most “How to Draw” books frustrating and difficult to follow (even when intended for kids). We’ve given my kids drawing books for birthdays and Christmas for 6 years and have a bunch in the house and we get them out of the library often. We’ve enjoyed Ed Emberly books somewhat, never really got into them much. My daughter got D is for Doodle out of the library last month that was more fun than most books passing through here [these are all Amazon affiliate links, by the way.]
However over Thanksgiving vacation we started really using Ralph Masiello’s books. I know these are already popular with a lot of kids in our town from volunteering in school libraries. We’ve gotten them out of the library before, but just looked through and never really sat down with them because the final drawings seemed too complex and intimidating. Now that we have seriously given them a go, these are a new favorite in the house. There are easy step-by-step/line-by-line instructions for drawing pictures that are more basic than a simple cartoon frog. The final product is a complex line drawing that makes you feel like a good artist. My kids do still get frustrated when the hand doesn’t seem to do what the brain and eye want it to, but the end results comes out great (for us!)
Here are a few of our drawings. My son, daughter and I drew the pictures, and then we traded them to be colored. I think that helped the kids to not be so critical of their own drawing (both seeing the imperfections in someone else’s drawings and seeing their own drawings as a nice finished product – or maybe being able to blame someone else if they don’t like the way it looks.)
If you are looking for drawing books for entertainment, holiday or birthday gifts for elementary age kids and up, you might want to leaf through some of Ralph Masiello’s books. The subjects are limited, but we’ve enjoyed them, and even the six year old found them all doable.