Read This If You Want to Be Great at Drawing

Image of Read This if You Want to Be Great at Drawing
Release Date: 
October 30, 2017
Publisher/Imprint: 
Laurence King Publishing
Pages: 
128
Reviewed by: 

For many people just the mere thought of drawing is intimidating and consequently dismissed. Read This If You Want to Be Great at Drawing acknowledges this preposterous no-can-do attitude and has the reader jump right in with a pencil on the very first page. “Everyone can draw . . .” no exceptions, no debate. If you can write your name, you have already made a drawing.

The very definition of what constitutes a drawing is shifted with each style, technique, or approach Leamy presents. The reader is challenged to consider different perspectives of drawings from 50 different artists, each with their personal touch, and is careful to acknowledge that these 50 are only the beginning. There is infinite potential in a pencil.

Don’t forget to have a pencil and a piece of paper on hand because the allure to draw is irresistible, starting with the very first suggestion: doodle. Yes, doodling is a valid form of drawing. “This type of drawing is about being free . . . so relax and have fun.” Having fun is what the process of drawing is all about. Worrying about the end product is a self-sabotaging endeavor.

Leamy has divided the book into five sections full of suggestions. Within each section he also provides a “Technical Tangent” for how to actually accomplish his suggestions. These tangents are instructive, condensed to the fundamentals, and easily assimilated.

In the first section, Starting, there are terrific basic concepts to focus on and to keep from getting overwhelmed and frustrated. “Drawings don’t have to be complicated, or elaborate. It’s a simple step from the freedom of a doodle to a crafted and elegant drawing . . .” Even Henri Matisse followed the protocol of the quick and simple sketch.

In the Tone section Leamy tackles different methods of shading. Using an example of an apple, he demonstrates each technique in a strait forward and practical manner. Seeing the apple transform method by method is quite stunning and amazingly easy to execute. This section alone is enough to get the reader addicted to drawing. The aha! moment will occur here and launch the reader to the next section.

Accuracy. What most people think of when they think of drawing. The showcased artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Egon Schiele, Hokusai, each knew how to represent “reality” in their drawings. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a talent that one is born with, rather a skill that can be learned. Here are offered several insights and tips for how some artists tackle this challenge.

The last two sections, Perspective and Explore, will certainly instill confidence to keep practicing. Learning to draw, like learning anything, takes time, commitment, consistency, and a willingness to explore. One will get out of it what one puts into it.

Artists whose works are hanging in museums did not just get lucky with a few drawings and paintings. Every single one of them was determined to learn and grow. They wanted to solve the puzzles, attack the challenges, debate the techniques and see what would appear. Fear of failure or negative feedback was unwarranted as they filled sketchbook after sketchbook navigating to their artistic personalities.

The encouragement here is well stated, light, and fun. The book delights in exclaiming that you can learn to draw and draw well. Reading this book and engaging in the suggestions will indeed help. Suitable for all ages, the recommendation is definitely to Read This If You Want to Be Great at Drawing.