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Review: You Can Draw It in Just 30 Minutes

Remember the acrylic painting kit I reviewed a few weeks ago? I mentioned we had been dabbling with different mediums in art. Today’s review focuses on pencil sketching.

Obligatory disclosure: I received this instructional book from Timberdoodle in exchange for my review.

I’ve always admired pencil sketching, particularly the artwork of Garth Williams, classic illustrator of the Little House on the Prairie books. I like to doodle a bit but I didn’t understand much about perspective and shading and other techniques that can make pencil drawings look real.

You Can Draw It in Just 30 Minutes by Mark Kistler is sub-titled “See It and Sketch It in a Half-Hour or Less.” It includes 25 drawing lessons.

The supplies required are very, very basic: a pencil and an eraser.

The author does recommend a blending stump (an inexpensive little artist’s tool made out of tightly rolled paper), but he also explains how to get along without it if you don’t have one. I also found that a mechanical stick eraser works great for erasing in small areas.

Other “tools” the author suggests are things you’ll readily have on hand such as a coin or a cup to trace around, or a credit card or folded piece of paper for measuring. He also recommends tracing around your thumb or pinky finger for certain angles. I love these little hacks.

Space is provided right in the book for you to draw each lesson but I chose to use a separate pad of drawing paper.

Lesson 1. 30-Minute Banana

Just what I’ve always wished I could draw. Not really. But I did learn some shading techniques that help make a drawing look more 3-dimensional.

Lesson 2. 30-Minute Mouth

Yeah, not impressed. My drawing doesn’t look very mouth-like.

Lesson 3. 30-Minute Chair

Now this one, I liked. What I found interesting was how much longer the front legs needed to be to create the perspective necessary.

Lesson 4. 30-Minute Penguin

Idn’t he cute?

Lesson 5. 30-Minute Tomatoes in a Basket

This one was a little more challenging. I liked how it turned out, but I could definitely use more practice on that particular technique.

More Lessons

Lesson 6 was a boot. I wasn’t impressed with that one. Lesson 7 was clouds, which were easy-peasy.

My favorite drawing so far is Lesson 8: Sunflowers. I loved the layering and shading which helped make my drawing pop.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten in the book. However, I did take my drawing supplies along on our camping trip earlier this month and attempted a free-hand drawing from nature.

After breakfast Lyle had laid the cast iron skillet upside down to dry on a nearby log. I’m not satisfied that I got the angle of the skillet just right, but overall I’m pleased with the results.

I know I will enjoy sketching other things that catch my eye. You Can Draw It in Just 30 Minutes has been very helpful in teaching me tricks and techniques to make my little drawings more realistic. I look forward to completing the rest of the lessons.


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