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Complete-A-Sketch Series: Volume 1 - Orthographic, Volume 2 - Isometric, Volume 3 - Perspective Review by Deborah Wuehler

Melvin G. Peterman

If you don't know what those big words above mean, don't worry, I didn't either until recently. It's really not a foreign language. It is actually something that your children can do successfully and feel extremely proud of. It's called technical art. What exactly is this and why should you consider such a product? This review will answer those questions.

These volumes are not your basic "drawing shapes" workbooks, but rather, they contain a wealth of practical drawing exercises that lead your child to excellence in technical art. Each volume introduces different aspects of technical art by means of teaching by example, promoting attention to detail, self directed learning, and all the while sharpening their fine motor skills.

Volume 1 - Orthographic: This workbook goes over flat two dimensional line art. The child starts by learning to draw basic shapes like circles and triangles. They do so by following outlined patterns, while looking at a picture of the completed shape for guidance. They then progress to a few simple shapes such as a waving flag, a quarter moon, an arrow and more. From there, they learn to sketch by following carefully laid out line segments in order to produce such things as boats, houses, airplanes, trains, castles, and more. They really become quite complicated looking, but are easy enough for your young children to follow due to the lines placed in the drawing and the completed picture in the top left corner to view while sketching. Insight Technical says you may begin this workbook as early as age 5 or 6.

Volume 2 - Isometric: This simply means three dimensional art. This type of technical art is used in the engineering and architectural fields. It is a great progression from Orthographic, but can be done independent of it as well. As with all of these workbooks, they begin very basic and progress in difficulty, building on what they have already learned while advancing to more complex sketches. You would be amazed at what they can sketch by the end of this workbook. Approximate age to begin is 7 or 8.

Volume 3 - Perspective: Mr. Peterman's definition is "three-dimensional art of the most realistic variety. Perspective line art is used primarily by people in the architectural and art fields. It is a great skill to have." Suitable for as early as age 9 or 10.

Each one of these Complete-A-Sketch workbooks in the series can stand alone or be used as a precursor to a higher level workbook, eventually leading up to Practical Drafting for your junior high or high school students.

These workbooks are what I call "real world learning." They are not only enjoyable, but look very professional when completed. Your children are learning something that they can take with them into adulthood which will benefit them in a huge variety of occupational fields. They will be learning design, order, neatness, precision, attention to detail, and producing a technical piece of art and will be doing so with excellence. My boys especially like this "change of routine" as part of their school subjects this year.

If you have a challenged learner, the Vision-Dexterity-Focus workbook takes various projects from all of the workbooks above and puts them all together in a bigger, bolder, clearer format. This book was actually developed with input from both vision therapy professionals and parents to help those who may have vision, dexterity or focus difficulties. Check out their website for more information.

-- Product Review by Deborah Wuehler, Devotional Editor, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2006