Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

You Can Draw Anything

You Can Draw Anything

Kim Gamble
Nonfiction drawing book
For ages 9 and up
Allen and Unwin, 2012   ISBN: 978-1742377988

Some incredibly lucky people come into the world able to draw. Somehow they are able to draw or paint from life and from their imagination without being taught anything. What they see with their eyes or manufacture in their imaginations appears on paper as if by magic. Those of us who don’t have this gift have to take a different approach. As illustrator Kim Gable says, “You can draw!” but you “need to know how to see.”

   She begins by explaining that the best approach is to look for “simple shapes and lines” as you look at the thing that you want to draw. Most objects can be broken down into shapes, and so long as you can draw basic shapes, adding in the odd line, curve or squiggle, you will do just fine. In fact knowing the alphabet and your numbers will help too.

   She then gets us started. After a short but sweet chat about how you should “Imagine each line, on the paper, before you draw it,” and how you shouldn’t worry about mistakes, she shows us how to draw a dinosaur using the letters of its name.  Step by step illustrations show us how to turn two Os (one big and one small) into a Jacosaurus.

   Next she shows us how to do an exercise to improve our Os, or our circles. Let’s face it, many us draw wobbly circles, but with a little practice we can make them round. If we are having trouble making our circles the right size she tells us that we need to change the way we see shapes. A funny little comic story demonstrates that what we think we see may be misleading.

   We need to learn how to look at an object and see its “overall shape.” An elephant, for example, may look very bumpy and lumpy, but it basically forms a rectangle. She shows us how to take a rectangle and turn it into an elephant.

   Another way to understand the size and shape of an object is to draw a grid. The author gives us an exercise to show us how to use a grid to draw a kangaroo.  Then she gives us more grid exercises to try.

   After covering these basic lessons, Kim Gable goes on to show us how to draw faces and bodies, how to create perspective, and how to shade. She wraps up with some exercises that we can use to practice what we have learned.

   With simple directions, an engaging text, lovely artwork, and delightful picture vignettes, Kim Gamble gives would-be artists a tool that they will find invaluable to help them become an artist.