Children’s Drawing Books: Help or Hindrance?

Have you ever picked up a book on drawing? You were just enjoying a day with your family when you see that a five year old left a book on the table. Ooh, this looks interesting, you think to yourself. So, you sit down and begin to flip through the book. As it may be on a style of drawing you like or a subject you like, you decide: “Hey, why not? I mean, it’s not like I’m paying for it, I might as well get it!” You bring it home, ready to open it and have some fun sketching…and then you realize that the finished drawing is rough, weird, and rather different. You look at the book. Is it possible you messed up? But no, you followed every step. You drew the grid, then drew the finished drawing. Wait, what?

If you’ve ever used a children’s drawing book, you know that steps are often skipped and that instruction isn’t too great.  Why? Well, honestly, I don’t know. Maybe the author didn’t feel the need to go to great lengths because this was a children’s book. Or maybe they just know where they’re going and so they forget that those reading do not. No matter the reason, children’s books aren’t that great at teaching you how to draw, but they do introduce you to a love of art and drawing style. Here are my defensive and offensive arguments for using a children’s drawing book:


Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 6.34.46 PM

Offensive: If you’re serious about drawing, this isn’t going to help. Children’s art books usually don’t have that great instruction, as mentioned before. Not only that, but they can be very sparse on one character or object that you want to learn about, then jump into five pages on another! This is, of course, the author’s choice and freedom, but for the learner it can be frustrating to have to barely skim the surface of your favorite subject.


Defensive: “Oh my gosh, it’s a book on drawing
Disney princesses!” This will be the kid’s first reaction when they see the book. It will draw their interest and make them want to start drawing. SoScreen Shot 2016-05-29 at 6.19.26 PM even if the book isn’t really great, you will at least have introduced your child to the joys of the creative world. And also, the joys of checking out a book when you think about it. Even if the book’s instructions aren’t terrific, hopefully they’ll want to know why. Why is their drawing different? Hopefully, this could spark a conversation about human anatomy (bone structure, tissue stretch, body proportions, i.e. the way a body actually looks compared to the flower-fingered drawings most of us produce at a young age) and a further interest in learning to draw correctly. By getting this book, you may start your child on a road that could lead to a future career in art!

Although I, having learned a good deal about anatomy from my dad, find having to try and follow such a book’s instructions difficult, it is cool to see people writing books that gives kids the tools to start drawing. When picking up the two books pictured at my local library, I was delighted and felt the artistic pull that comes with a pencil and paper.

Chime Time! Tell me what books you’ve used and how good you thought they were compared to just drawing.

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