Lee Ames' Draw 50 Series

Over the years, I have seen how-to-draw type books from nearly every major publisher come across the desk, some bad, some O.K., some good, and some just terrific. These definitely fall into the terrific category. We’ve carried one title in this series for several years (Draw 50 Horses), and it has always been well-received, so we were excited to come across the rest of the titles in the series. Lee Ames, a talented and well-known author and illustrator breaks down a dizzying array of objects, from machines to animals to people, and shows clearly in several, easy-to-handle steps how to begin drawing the object, how to build onto it, and how to finish it off for a solid, satisfying, even professional-looking result. Each book features 50 items to draw, each detailed on its own page, with the drawing-in-progress clearly illustrated in a single color (such as blue, red, or brown). For instance, if we are going to try drawing a small moving van from Draw 50 Vehicles, the first step is a simple line (the ground) with three circles for the wheels. In the next step an open box is added atop the wheels, as are the base for the cab, and centers of the wheels, while the circles and line from the last step are faded a bit, so that each new addition is clearly recognizable. The completed drawing is shown in black and white, unlike the blue and white in the progressing drawing, and stands ready for you to add whatever colors or finishing touches you feel inspired to add to your own finished masterpiece. The black-and-white finished drawing is also great for tracing for the younger kids - or for those who like shortcuts. Let me reiterate as well that unlike some other how-to-draw books, the finished drawings featured here are high-quality and detailed, far from more cartoon-ish results gathered from other books I’ve seen. In short, the race cars and airplanes will please the mechanical artist, while the animal-lover will be satisfied with their renderings of realistic, expressive animals. If I was going to splurge on one how-to-draw book this year, it would definitely be one of these. - Jess

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