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The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw

Drawing Lesson 1
By Emil Favila, Reporter

As a fan of Akiko, I was thrilled to be reviewing Mark Crilley’s latest work Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How To Draw.  It’s a “how to” book within a story.  Drawing Lesson is about a young eccentric kid named David and his mentor Becky.  He runs into Becky after watching her draw at the park.  She agrees to teach him one lesson despite her reluctance.  Over the course of the story she continues to teach him despite how invasive he is to her life.  She sees how passionate David is about drawing and respects him for it.  Even if she tends to find him annoying at times.  A friendship develops over the course of the book.

The lessons in The Drawing Lesson are actually quite easy to follow.  It’s not as in depth How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema.  Crilley does an excellent job instructing the reader from David’s point of view.  Each chapter ends with Crilley instructing the reader to try a few of the things that Becky just taught David.  Topics covered are drawing what you see, shading, loose sketching, understanding light and shadow, negative space, proportions, simplifying, creating composition, and finally bringing it all together.

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My favorite chapter was called “Bringing It All Together”.  This chapter is dedicated to taking all the lessons learned from previous chapters and applying them.  The most important lesson in learning anything is to not forget what you previously learned.  An even more important lesson in the book is to draw for yourself.  Not because you are doing it for competition but for your love of the craft.

Another great tool Crilley uses is making the story look like a sketchbook.  He leaves some leftover lines so you can see how he drew the story in his lesson.  Crilley does not draw more than what is necessary to get his point across.  At the same, he manages to make his art appealing to the readers eye and not so abrasive as most rough sketches.

Drawing Lesson 3

Crilley does a brilliant job writing his characters the way a veteran and aspiring artist would behave in a drawing lesson.  David is young and ignorant as most kids his age.  Becky is older and irritable but not so old that she does not understand David’s behavior as a child.  It’s his passion for drawing that makes Becky want to keep teaching him. She actually grows quite fond of him.  Drawing Lesson is not just a lesson about drawing.  It’s a life lesson about the relationship between teacher and student.  In some ways David is also teaching Becky to have more patience when it comes to people.

If you’re interested in non conventional way of reading a “how to” book then I would recommend Drawing Lesson: A Grahic Novel That Teaches You How To Draw by Mark Crilley.  It’s not your typical instruction book and you’re more than likely to fall in love with the characters more than the actual instruction.  It’s clear that Mark Crilley has talent as an artist.  What I loved about this book is the relationship he told about David and Becky. He knows how to create characters that people can relate to.   Be sure to pick up your copy of Drawing Lesson: A Grahic Novel That Teaches You How To Draw off Amazon today!

Rating: ★★★★★

ComicsOnline gives Drawing Lesson: A Grahic Novel That Teaches You How To Draw 5 of 5 pencil shadings!

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About Emil Favila

Emil Favila is a multi-instrumentalist/songwriter for Arlington, VA based group Atoms Apart. He is also a massive comic book enthusiast.

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