How To Draw Anything: a review

If you can write your name, you have enough touch to learn to draw

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How To Draw Anything by Mark Linley

Author/artist Mark Linley believes that anyone can learn to draw and inspires everyone to pick up a pencil and create a work of art. Unlike many ‘how to draw’ books – those that provide step by step visual aids but no further insight – Linley goes into a lot more written detail.

First of all an artist needs to be able to look properly. Without studying the subject or object properly, no one would be able to produce an accurate sketch. Starting with landscapes, Linley tells the reader how to and what to look for when beginning a drawing in order to get a basic outline. It is only after this is down on paper that specific details can be added.

Linley explains various methods of shading and line marks to give a suggestion of perspective, and emphasises that an illustration does not need to be 100% accurate – that is what cameras are for. After landscapes, Linley takes the reader/future artist through plants, animals, people and cartoons in a similar manner.

Each chapter provides the reader with a few assignments to undertake based on what they have read, or the example illustrations. Many of these tasks are to copy Linley’s own examples, however he stresses that the outcome does not need to – or rather should not – look exactly like his. Each artist needs to develop their own style.

I found How To Draw Anything a lot more useful than the ever popular step-by-step guides that most people gravitate to. In those types of books we are NOT taught to draw, we are taught to copy. You may be able to accurately draw the same cat as the artist/author of the book, but you would not know where to start when face with a real life cat. Linley tells us what to look out for and where to start in these situations – you feel like you are actually learning something.

Mark Linley comes across as a humorous individual – his writing is full of puns and quips, intending to make the reader smile or laugh out loud, thus making them feel more relaxed about the subject. Linley does not only attempt to teach people how to draw, he tries to make each of us feel more comfortable about our abilities and encourages us to keep on trying.

Before reading this book I had already begun developing my own illustration style, however I gave a few of Linley’s assignments a try (see below). I am pleased with my outcomes and feel inspired to try more landscape drawings in the future.

 

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