We sure like drawing books around here. The girls spend a lot of time lately with a basket of crayons, cup of markers and a step-by-step drawing book. They are like me that way, I guess. I always loved to draw those 'Can You Draw Bobo' type of ads. You know the ones, they were placed in magazines for years by the Art Instruction Institute, (no tracing permitted), with the gracious offer to look it over (for Free!) and tell you if you had what it takes to be an artist? I even sent one in for evaluation at some point when I was an adolescent. I slaved over it and it was almost an exact replica. I was so proud. I just knew they'd fall at my feet. So I was a bit crestfallen to receive their tersely worded reply. Something along the lines of 'You should be more original'.
The girls are dog crazy so they especially enjoy this book lately, 1-2-3 Draw Dogs. It has an easy to understand progression and the finished drawings have a pleasing amount of realism for the girls.
There are other titles if dogs are not your thing. Some samples from my dog artistes:
I fell in love with Ed Emberley's books when we saw them at the library recently. Apparently he is a drawing book legend and has tons of books out that I have totally missed it until now. We really love his humorous cartoon style, the imaginative variety of subjects, and the range of difficulty in the books from blobs with eyes to a line-drawing opus that would be a challenge for even me:
It's really clever the way the doodles are built from steps that are never any more difficult than simple lines or curves. It's genius. But a complex drawing has a lot of steps.
A sample piratey pirate from Thing 2:
For younger kids, I highly recommend these Usborne books, I Can Draw Animals and I Can Draw People. We have gotten so much use from them over the years, and the girls still go grab them quite a bit. The skill level required is minimal and the results are always so cute.
I love how each simple drawing is built with crayon first and then layered with marker colors so that the crayon acts as a color resist. It gives some really striking results for such simple drawings.
Just thought I'd pass along some that we've enjoyed having. I don't believe, as some do, that step-by-step drawing books kill true creativity. I think they can be used to get your kids started if they are intimidated by a blank piece of paper, or need a jumping off point for their ideas. I think it also builds skills that they will use to come up with their own original compositions once they get their drawing legs under them.