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Draw Books Review by Tammy Walker

Doug DuBosque
Peel Productions
4 White Brook Road
Gilsum, NH 03448

Most of us are familiar with the Draw, Write, Now® books, which graciously take young children through the basic steps of drawing pictures with accompanying handwriting help. Though I am so glad to have these on hand for my little ones (who thoroughly enjoyed them), I am very pleased to have been introduced to the Draw Books through Peel Productions. Like the Draw, Write, Now series, Draw Books offers elementary-level writing books, but this series geared toward 9-year-olds and above is really spectacular.

In Doug DuBosque's books, he always begins by telling the student which supplies are needed, the proper lighting, type of paper, to draw lightly at first so that you can erase problems, etc. He gives the beginner clear direction in how to begin. In his Draw Cars text, he helps the sketcher to think before he draws, getting him to envision the real dimensions of a car, the spacing of the tires, the angles needed to make the various horizontal and vertical lines of the vehicle. In short, DuBosque helps the beginner to see his sketch before he begins and carries him through each step.

Similarly, in his animal books, Draw Desert Animals, Draw Insects, and Draw Rainforest Animals, he assists the beginner in studying the animal to be drawn before the sketcher ever begins. He tells the student to think of drawing in three stages: first, looking carefully and lightly sketching; second, adjusting and redrawing lines that look out of place; and third, making the drawings jump off the page by darkening, adding shading, fur, feathers, etc. DuBosque's simplified explanations of difficult concepts make it easy even for an amateur to draw a fairly decent picture. (I can attest to that!)

In Draw Cars, your student will learn to draw an Audi Avus, a Vector W12, a Ferrari F50, a Dodge Viper, a Cobra, a Corvette, a Lamborghini, a Beetle, a 1906 Franklin, a 1934 Ford Model A, and a Hummer, just to name half of them. In Draw Desert Animals, your student will learn to draw an Arabian oryx, a camel, a camel spider, a desert cottontail, a scorpion, a tarantula, a spotted skunk, a roadrunner, and more. In Draw Insects, drawing wasps, spiders, praying mantises, various moths, beetles, and mosquitoes should become a much easier task for the motivated beginning artist. Draw Rainforest Animals features chimpanzees, various frogs, gorillas, an emerald tree boa, an iguana, a jaguar, a kinkajou, and many others. With each animal/insect, the author provides the scientific name, numerous facts about them, and in most cases their actual size. I highly recommended DuBosque's books to any teachers of budding artists.

Damon J. Reinagle's text Draw Sports Figures also comes with high recommendation. Reinagle gives a lot of assistance at the beginning of his text, steering the young artist toward proper supplies and attitudes before beginning drawing. He instructs his students to follow four rules: 1) Look and see the shapes; 2) Sketch super lightly: always; 3) Be creative and use your imagination; and 4) Practice, practice, practice.

As Reinagle begins his instruction about each sports figure, he first helps the student envision what the action should look like, how the structure of the bones move, the angle of the arms and legs, the curves of the back. He uses lightly sketched lines and joints to help the student see the motion as he is drawing. Your student will be introduced to drawing a baseball catcher, a football receiver, the fingertip roll of a basketball player, a soccer goalie, and many more, all in life-like action. They are great!

My children are all still too young to really benefit from these aids, but I will certainly keep them on hand for their practice as they mature. And I would certainly consider these appropriate gifts for anyone interested in sketching. Peel Productions has books geared for just about any interest. They will help a beginning artist envision the lines and shapes in his mind before he draws--the first step, it seems, to more excellent drawing. These books would be great to use during your read-aloud times or anytime when your teenager complains that there is nothing to do.

Product review by Tammy Walker, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2008