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Book Review

You Can Draw Anything by Kim Gamble (Allen & Unwin, 1994).
48 pages, $6.95 USD

Ages 6-12

Kim Gamble, a children's book illustrator from Australia, has written a book you'll want to borrow from your kids when they're not looking. It's a how-to-draw book that goes beyond the step-by-step approach. Gamble explains what you're doing and why, so that you can apply each technique to new drawings.

You can Draw Anything covers basic line drawings, perspective, and shading. Gamble suggests learning to see objects as composed of basic shapes. That's not a new idea, but he presents it simply, accessibly, and with a nice comic touch that keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously.

The pages about drawing human figures are packed with useful gems about proportion. You wonder, did your school art teacher just forget to mention that eyes are usually one eye-width apart, heads are oval when viewed straight-on but circular in profile, and legs are half the height of the body?

This is one of the few children's drawing books I've come across that assumes the reader may be smart enough to draw something not in the book, and I appreciated that, at least most of the time. Occasionally I felt Gamble was giving me too much credit - effusing that I can draw if I just learn to SEE the basic shapes. Sometimes I wanted a little more help SEEING, but perhaps it really does just take practice.

One more thing - the corners of the pages have little drawings that turn out to be flip book animations - a cute touch that has little to do with the content but charming nonetheless.





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