07 September 2016

[drawing] Drawing Is Magic: The Guided Sketchbook for The Adventurious Self-Discoverer In You

There's something of the idea of self-discovery and finding your artistic voice in the guided sketchbooks I've seen, or at least, giving you the tools … or even the  courage … to ask some questions of yourself.

These self-questions can be quite grim and serious. You wind up feeling momentous and important and tend to forget that, when done kindly, this sort of self discovery is a fun thing and can be a real adventure. John Hendrix hasn't forgotten this, and his self-guided sketchbook, Drawing Is Magic: Discovering Yourself In A Sketchbook, is bursting with that attitude. Printed in two colors … red and black … the book comes bound in binderboard, giving the look and feel of a true artist's sketchbook.

But … you want to draw. And like a lot of us, you just don't know what. Or where. Or how to approach it. No worries, here. Drawing Is Magic is nothing but games, delightfully drawing graphics, and prompts designed to get you loose and ready to go.

From taking your sketchbook to a movie theater and drawing everything you can during the film to making self-portraits, the preamble to the book warms you up be getting you going on doable drawing adventures in a non-judgmental way. Like the other book I reviewed here last missive, Draw With A Vengeance, it doesn't judge you, but it does insist that you are in charge of enjoying what you make, and by building your own visual grammar (what Hendrix refers to as a visual universe, which is fun coinage, and no doubt) you create an artistic head space in which you can't help but enjoy what you draw because you will first populate that world with things that you love to draw.

Starting with a list of 100 things you'd love to draw, he then moves forward into the main acts of the book which develop that list into an vast range of activities that invite you to play with your pen. You draw scenes inside of cutaway houses, collage dialogue, create chaemerical beasts, design the cover of your autobiography. The whole effect of the book is this lovely gradient which goes from the basics of drawing art to the advanced ideas of knitting things together and telling a story with them.

But in the end? He just wants you to go draw. He lives to draw, and I'd presume he's observed that a lot of people want to draw, and maybe this'll help you get to the happy place were you draw because it's good for you to do. The whimsical illustrations and cheerful mien of the book make it all very accessible.

It's a fun book just to leaf through: Hendrix has posted several page layouts for you to get the idea on his website at http://johnhendrix.com/portfolio/books/DrawingMagic/.

Publisher: STC Craft/Melanie Falick http://www.stcbooks.com, http://www.melaniefalickbooks.com
ISBN: 9781617691379
Retail: $17.95

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