‘Just Draw It!’ Book Review

There are a plethora of drawing prompt books out at the moment, and Just Draw It! by Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp is one title that my local library just happened to stock, so I thought I’d take a look.

Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp, Just Draw It! (Search Press, 2013)

The Basic Premise

The following statement was taken from the back cover:

“Aimed at anyone who would like to pick up a pencil and just draw, this book provides a foolproof way to pick up the skills – and the confidence – to sketch without the hang-ups that can… get in the way of our creativity.”

My ‘Blunt’ Review

Now, I’m going to admit that when I first flicked through this book, I was a little disappointed. These creative prompts were going to take me out of my comfort zone and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be nudged out of it!  Each of the six chapters has a particular focus, such as Line and Mark Making (Chapter 1), or Movement and Gesture (Chapter 4), with at least five different ‘drawing’ prompts to inspire you.  This structure is perfect if you want to focus on a particular aspect of drawing, such as tone or composition.

As someone who defaults to line drawing, I jumped straight to Chapter 2 – Tone and Form, and set about stretching my boundaries. Inspired by ‘Seeing the Shapes’, where you draw the negative spaces within a still life of stationary items, I blocked out the foliage of a rather prolific basil plant.

Tip: water foliage at least half-an-hour before you intend to draw it, as any limp leaves will move as they perk up.  I haven’t attempted any other prompts yet, but there are several I’d like to try.

This is a contemporary drawing book, and after I set aside my preconceptions (as you may have to), I saw how I could benefit from each challenge. At first glance, you may not be inspired to draw a fizzy drink can through a series of physical changes, or to draw a room in the dark.  But you could adapt many of these creative prompts to suit yourself, or accept the challenge as it is written and see how your own perspective shifts.  There are prompts for still life, portraits, urban sketching and doodling, but you’ll need more than just a pencil and paper for many of them (different pens, tracing paper, needle and thread).

Dotted throughout are further ‘Look Up’ lists of artworks by traditional and contemporary artists, so if a prompt speaks to you but the example doesn’t, look up the authors’ suggestions and see how you can make each prompt your own. Priced at just under £10, this title may be finding a home on my bookshelf soon.

The post ‘Just Draw It!’ Book Review first appeared on Filbert and Smudge.

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