The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Draw 50 Series Review by Coie Igarashi

Lee Ames
Random House

This has been a fantastic find. For a curriculum that teaches the basics of drawing, this has been added to my ‘favorite resource’ list. My husband (who’s had some college drawing and art classes) appreciated the foundational structures set up in each book. Each drawing is taken down to a very basic structure, and then built upon line by line. This is excellent for developing attention to detail, observation, and introduces a new way in seeing the world around you. Student confidence soars when they are able to recreate real-looking pictures (some are quite detailed – you should see the geisha girl I drew! Me, a former non-drawer—parent confidence also soars). Lee Ames is delightful. He has had a distinguished career, and even worked at the Disney studios back in the 30s. The man has a passion for teaching new generations the basics of drawing, and it comes through with his fun subjects and huge selection of categories from which to choose. Some of his titles include: Draw 50 Airplanes, Aircrafts and Spacecrafts; Draw 50 Animals; Draw 50 Animaltoons; Draw 50 Athletes; Draw 50 Birds; Draw 50 Boats, Ships, Trucks and Trains; Draw 50 Buildings and Other Structures; Draw 50 Cars, Trucks and Motorcycles; Draw 50 Cats; Draw 50 Creepy Crawlies; Draw 50 Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals; Draw 50 Dogs; Draw 50 Endangered Animals; Draw 50 Famous Cartoons; Draw 50 Famous Faces; Draw 50 Flowers, Trees and Other Plants; Draw 50 Holiday Decorations; Draw 50 People; Draw 50 People of the Bible; Draw 50 Sharks, Whales and Other Sea Creatures; Draw 50 Vehicles - and there’s more. Check out his website for his full list. These books are reasonably priced (under $10), and are a wonderful way to add art into the classroom.

--Product Review by: Jenefer Igarashi, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Unfortunately, as the next days, weeks, and months rolled by, I found that we were not doing art on a regular basis. We were doing art only rarely. The cause for our inconsistency had nothing to do with the curriculum. The problem was me. I am just not a very “artsy” person, so I found it was easy to put it off until tomorrow. You know - that elusive tomorrow that nevercomes.

The solution to our un-artful homeschool came quite by accident when my oldest daughter, Ashley, who was 11 years old at the time, bought herself a book at one of our local mega bookstores, called Draw 50 Horses. Being an 11-year-old girl, she loved horses and wanted to learn how to draw them. After a short time, Ashley was creating some great drawings. The following Christmas she asked for a sketchbook and art pencils. She was off and running. In all her spare time she was drawing. She next purchased Draw 50 Dogs. Her younger sister, Cassie, then purchased Draw 50 Cats. In the next weeks and months, the pages of Ashley’s sketchbook were being filled with some truly awesome drawings of horses, dogs, and cats.

A few months later, I was approached by a friend at church, who runs a small private Christian school, who asked if I would be willing to teach art at her school. It turned out, she and her husband saw Ashley’s sketchbook and thought I was an awesome art teacher. After I stopped laughing, I had to decline the offer, because, of course, I had absolutely nothing to do with the beautiful drawings in that sketchbook.

Now, I am going to turn this review over to Ashley, my now 12-year-old daughter, since she is the expert on this subject.

Hi! My name is Ashley and I LOVE the Draw 50 series because they taught me to draw perfect pictures and it isn’t very hard. I have purchased many drawing books, but these are my absolute favorite. The drawings are step-by-step, so if you follow all the steps, the drawing will turn out great. My friend, Amanda, and I would sometimes spend hours just sitting at our kitchen table drawing. My neighbor friends even ask to see my pictures of dogs, horses and cats and ask to draw with me. These books are great!

-- Product Review by: Sheri Atkinson and Ashley Atkinson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Here’s another Draw 50 series review!

When I heard of the Draw 50 series, I was excited for my siblings, especially my 8-year-old sister, who can actually draw. I also realized that until my siblings were tired of them, I would hear from them constantly saying how my pictures looked like scribbles and I would have to explain what it REALLY was while they showed me their exact replicas of The Monet Lisa (no, not really). My point is, I have NO artistic talent.

When I got home late one night after babysitting, I noticed that the books had arrived and my sister, Ryann, was already working in the airplane one. The next morning I saw her drawings sitting on the table; there were aliens, airplanes and other great drawings. My siblings and I were able to choose a ew that we wanted. We must have dug through the pile ten times before we could narrow down our selection to only so many. My siblings dove into them instantly, creating the best drawings I’ve ever seen for their age level, while I did my homework, watching them every so often bringing the picture to mom, coming back for the book to prove that it wasn’t traced, and then coming back to draw more masterpieces. I was amazed.

Later on that day I decided I would try one. I took the Holiday Decorations book and sat down trying to do the elf. Wow, I thought, It kinda, actually looks like what it’s supposed to! Then I moved on to the alien one. Again, after following the easy steps, I created another picture that looked good! This was incredible to me and I haven’t been able to put down the books since and neither have my siblings.

There are so many to choose from including Airplanes, People, Famous Faces, Boats, Cats, Horses, Dogs, Endangered Animals, Animals, Famous Cartoons, Aliens, Baby Animals, Flowers, Birds, and People of the Bible. There are many more than I have listed, but these are ones that stood out the most to us.

Some books, like the People and Beasties ones might have a few questionable pictures for some families because they include a witch, Neanderthal man, and monsters, but otherwise these are just great and I think you will be pleased with the outcome of these books.

-- Product Review by: Coie Igarashi