Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10. Pencil, Paper, Scissors!

Let's Make Some Great Art
Created by Marion Deuchars
$19.95, all ages, 224 pages

Have you ever taken a pencil for a walk?

Without lifting your pencil off of paper, draw a picture that someone would recognize.

Not easy, is it?

That's how Swiss artist Paul Klee used to warm up his drawing students.

In this eclectic book of drawing lessons and doodle prompts, Deuchar challenges readers to look beyond what they expect to see.

On one page, readers blow ink through a straw and try to relate the shape to something they know.

On another they draw an upside-down sketch of Michaelangelo's David without turning the sketch around.

As if whispering over readers' shoulders, Deuchars instructs artists to focus on the lines and shapes of the famous sculpture, and not think about what the picture represents.

Throughout the book, Deuchars tries to stretch the readers' ideas of art.

Every time a new concept is introduced, such as continuous line drawing, surrealism or after-image, she walks readers through playful exercises to try them out.

Sometimes she gives timed prompts or asks readers to repeat a prompt over and over. In one, she asks readers to arrange their own still life. Readers must stack chairs in their house, then draw what they see.

As she did with Klee and Michaelangelo, Deuchars explores a little about what made an artist famous, then assigns projects so readers can try out their methods.

In a spread about Pablo Picasso and cubism, readers are instructed to draw their own face, cut it up into pieces, then reassemble the pieces, but in a different order.

Other pages explore how to shade shapes to look 3-D, including how to hatch (shade with a criss-cross pattern), and how to sort out the proportions of a face then put them to paper.

By turns a sketch book, a coloring book and art class, the workbook is a perfect choice for any young artist who loves art prompts, but also wants to sharpen their skills.

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