by Sachiko Umoto
Drawing people is the biggest hurdle to every artist. Would-be artists might show you sketches and paintings of still-lifes, landscapes, maybe even some animals, but not many humans people their pages! That’s because (aside from making fur look furry), drawing a person who looks alive, capable of movement or emotion, is very challenging.
This little book called Illustration School: Let’s Draw! is a compilation of three small books called: Happy People, Cute Animals, and Plants and Small Creatures.
In some ways it is simply a step-by-step drawing book, but the brief descriptions on each page help you see what it is that makes one person look different from another, and how to capture it in pencil on the page. For example, on the page of faces, you are taught a few simple lines that will express these emotions: I did it! This is fun! Embarrassed giggle, Peacefully asleep, etc. There are faces from the front and faces from the side. On another page, with just a few simple changes in line, you are shown how to draw both a lively mother and a kind mother. Elsewhere, draw six unique boys. Draw a crawling baby and a toddling baby; a stylish father and a plump father; a police officer, teacher, artist, etc.!
In the animal section you can draw simple animals while following the brief text that is sort of a leisurely telling of a fact unique to each animal. You are not given just an animal staring off the page at you, either, but different poses of things like a bear in motion: Step step, Sniff sniff, Munch munch, Zzzzzz, Ha ha ha, Eeyow! Somehow the asian style of writing manages to be somewhat random and relaxing, while being still very clear and concise :).
Please note: This is not a book on drawing portraits, but on how to draw little figures of people and animals here and there…the kind of drawings that elementary school children do. I bought the book with my two girls in mind, ages 6 and 8, and although they used it, it was my son (age 5) who jumped on it, and began drawing various people from it. He saw it as the tool it is, the tool that would move his figure drawings from unrecognizable sticks to clear astronauts, firemen, and explorers!
For complete beginners, there is a simple, brief introduction on the basics of using the book, simple drawing supplies, and drawing in general.
Ages: for the beginner, whether 5, 15, or 45!