I recently came across this book while browsing around the web. Apparently, although I’d never come across it before, it’s something of a classic, and was first published in 1972. It is one of a whole series of similar style books by the author Ed Emberley, all with different themes. It seems that this book in particular was quite influential, and helped shaped the visual culture of an entire generation of artists and designers.
The book covers a vast amount of subject matter in its 32 pages, and 400 illustrations, and the completely visual instructions are well suited to children whose reading skills may not yet be that strong. The whole style of the book I thought might appeal to my son, who sometimes gets frustrated at not being able to draw something to his satisfaction, (he’s a terrible perfectionist) and the book absorbed him completely for some time – he was very pleased with the results which it enabled him to obtain, quite easily, and of course the idea is that you can put all these individual drawings together to make your own ‘World’.
I am not always a fan of very prescriptive art books, which show you a particular ‘how to’ technique and nothing else, but I think books like this one can provide a good springboard or stepping stone for the developing young artist. After all, it’s often said that many children eventually abandon art because they get frustrated when they find themselves unable to draw what they want to, and if a book like this helps them get over that hurdle for a while, that can only be a good thing. There is also plenty of potential for creativity in putting together the individual drawing elements to create individual scenes or stories, and I suspect as time went on, those individual elements would be adapted and personalised.
All in all, I can thoroughly recommend this book. If you fancy trying it for yourself, you can get it here. Alternatively, you can get a taste of drawing the Ed Emberley way, by creating your own dinosaur/dragon following the instructions below:
To Create your own Dinosaur/Dragon:
Start with a dinosaur….
To turn your dinosaur into a dragon…..
You may also be interested in visiting Ed Emberley’s own website which has more art activities and resources related to his books.