Start with a Scribble: Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered

Image of Start with a Scribble: Quentin Blake's how-to-draw book for kids and adults
Release Date: 
August 25, 2020
The Experiment
Reviewed by: 

“With its helpful tools for beginning artists, imaginative sketches on every page, and its unique approach to drawing this book will also benefit the adult budding artists.”

The artistically undiscovered: If you thought that you couldn't draw a straight line, or if your animals, people, trees, and sky don’t look like real ones, then this book is for you.

Start with a Scribble delves into children's imagination, letting them explore the world as they see it. There are lots of open spaces to play in, prompts to inspire them, doodles to finish, techniques to try and plenty of wide-open spaces to play in. In addition, an artist-quality pen and red and black watercolor pencils are included. (The pencils are water-soluble so that they can be smeared when wet). This book will banish one's inner critic and tap into the inner genius of the mind.

Contents include perspective, a pure pen and pencil page, light and shadow, human anatomy, and fantastic animals. But the authors take a different approach to these concepts, providing a new tool for expressing oneself. Mistakes are gone because the authors removed all the erasers from their pencils. "In our book, we describe a successful drawing as one that captures (with deadeye accuracy) something interesting or essential about the subject. . . . Play around with your subject until you find a balance between the rules (light, shadow, perspective) and your own personal interpretation." 

The sketches on each page resemble cartoons or caricatures of its subjects. There's a space for children to call on their censors by writing negative comments about their own drawings. Play around with familiar shapes such as brooms and mops. One page suggests drawing a cup without looking at it. (One can also draw with the left hand.) One page is devoted to drawing anything one wants, starting with a blank sheet of paper with some prompts on how to start.

"What if nobody in the world likes my drawings?" Draw, produce, create. Don't criticize yourself. . . . You're working for yourself here. And your mom, of course."  When a drawing doesn't work it's the drawing's fault. There are numerous examples of subjects to try such as umbrellas, buckets, clocks, candles, spectacles, pitchers, potted plants, etc. A page describes how one can draw from memory. On page 36, there is an example of a child's drawing of "The Road to Tipperary," using perspective with the hills in the background. He writes: "And the road curved away into the distance, through trees and rocks and over hills and mountains . . ."

To release inhibitions, Sir Quentin Blake and John Cassidy suggest naming animals with nonsense names, naming them before drawing. For example, the small hairy glob, the hopeless flopper, the nervous ferblow, the long-tailed warble, etc. Even "Mrs. Thudkins Takes Her Floppaterasis for a Walk." This releases inhibitions and allows one to draw more freely.

The pages of noses, ears, necks contain drawings of long noses, triangle shaped necks, round small ears and some with earrings dangling. There are several empty picture frames. The reader is asked to hang these pages with lifelike portraits.

Start with a Scribble belongs in every elementary classroom library and home. Its fun-filled humorous illustrations will not only stimulate the readers' imagination, but will tap into their creative processes. With its helpful tools for beginning artists, imaginative sketches on every page, and its unique approach to drawing this book will also benefit the adult budding artists.