As my moniker says I’m “The Harried Mom,” so helping this gal out today is The Hubs aka Tyler. He’s taking over the blog with a fun post talking about our young son’s love of drawing and how he’s trying to become a better artist.
Take it away Tyler…
We have a big plastic bin that is filled with just about everything he’s ever doodled, from his first blocky dinosaurs to his latest intricately detailed dragons like you see here.
It’s clear he’s got talent, but sometimes his mom and I can see that he gets a little frustrated with his drawing skills and abilities.
I know that I can certainly relate. When I was around my son’s age there was nothing I wanted more than to be able to draw my own comic strips and comic books. I loved Batman and Fantastic Four comics. And our house was full of paperbacks filled with the classics: Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, Family Circus, even Andy Capp (though probably not the best role model for an 8-year-old).
But why couldn’t I make the smooth, perfect lines and symmetrical details of my favorites?
Determined to learn, I picked up a copy of the book How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way by legendary comic book creator and writer Stan Lee. Much to my surprise, those characters came to life through a series of circles and lines that merged together. See, I had thought the best way to draw was just by freehand, and after this revelation my lumpy, oddly shaped “heroes” soon took on more of a classic design.
Now my son is learning that very same lesson with Christopher Hart’s book Drawing Animals Shape By Shape: Create Cartoon Animals with Circles, Squares, Rectangles & Triangles.
Hart is the world’s best-selling author when it comes to “how to draw” books. His subjects range from popular Japanese styles like anime and manga to fashion and figure drawing. He also has a few books such as “Drawing Animals By Shape” that are aimed specifically at teaching children the fundamentals of drawing.
Hart’s love of drawing and his desire to teach others — especially children — truly shines through on every page of this book. I like that it’s spiral bound so it can lay flat on a table to use as a guide. It’s also printed on bright, white quality paper with bold lines and bright colors that fill every page, making it easy to follow the step-by-step instructions to draw cartoon animals of every type.
Even though it’s suggested for ages 4 and up I feel that, at 8 years old, my son is the perfect age for this book.
I sat down with my son as he opened the book and started to tackle the many characters in the book. Naturally, he wanted to try his hand at dinosaurs first, so he took a stab at a gator and an eagle.
In the past, he would skip over to the final, completed drawing and just try to copy it. But the book showed him a better way – starting with simple shapes like triangles, half circles, squares and connecting them together, adding in the small details, erasing and blending.
As you can see from the drawings above, he caught on pretty quick, and soon he wanted to draw raccoons, dogs, birds, lions and everything else in the book that caught his eye!
I have to admit, it was pretty fun for a grownup like me to take a stab at drawing a few cartoon animals myself! Here’s a few of my creations:
If only I would have had this book as a kid, I might have been able to draw a decent Yogi Bear or Augie Doggie!
Now I am noticing that my son is starting to use some of the techniques when he is drawing his own creations. Here’s a few other of his animals:
He really wants to be able to draw faces and human forms, so I am guessing it won’t be too long before we’ll be checking out more of Christopher Hart “how to draw” books!
~~~Thanks Tyler for your review! I do have to say, and this isn’t just mother pride (well, maybe a little!), that my son is turning into quite the artist!
I love how this book is inspiring my son to create and use his imagination. I think that this book or Hart’s other child-focused book Drawing Shape by Shape: Create Cartoon Characters with Circles, Squares & Triangles would be a great gift to give to an aspiring young artist for their birthday or for the holidays. It would be perfect to pair with a box of crayons or set of colored pencils and a sketch book.
Now it’s your turn to share. What do you like to doodle or draw (i.e. landscapes, animals, people, etc.)?
For Full Disclosure: The Harried Mom was provided with a copy of Drawing Animals Shape By Shape: Create Cartoon Animals with Circles, Squares, Rectangles & Triangles by Sterling Children’s Books to facilitate this post. This post does not contain any affiliate links. As always, the opinions expressed in this post and on The Harried Mom blog are all my very own and are not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing any products as your opinion may differ.
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