With the holidays upon us, we thought it might be apropos to feature reviews of some great gift ideas for the burgeoning illustrators on your lists…
By Melissa Sweet
Published by eeBoo
Melissa Sweet wins awards… Her picture books have racked up Caldecott Honors, ALA Notable Book citations, Sibert Medals, New York Times Best Book awards, and many, many more… Even her work in the world of project design has won Oppenheim and Parent’s Choice Awards. Basically, who better to teach your kids to draw?
Sweet’s Drawing Book is part lesson and part activity book, prompting kids to consider all aspects of book making, from the pictures to the text and design. She invites kids to create their own alphabets, and to explore how faces portray emotions, and she does it without ever feeling like she’s forgetting her target audience. (In this case, the book is suggested for kids aged 5+.)
The best instructional drawing book for kids I’ve ever seen. Truly inspiring.
3D Coloring: Animals
Illustrated by Hannah Davies
Published by Thunder Bay Press
Mixing great, highly detailed drawings of animals and graph pages featuring partially sketched out animals with plenty of room for expansion, Hannah Davies’ Animals screams inspirational.
The 3D effect alluded to above the title takes a bit of work, and is probably better suited for adults using the book. Otherwise, this is a phenomenally engaging coloring book, and then some.
There are two further books in Davies’ 3D Coloring series, Flowers and Cities, with more to come. (New York will be released in March of 2016.)
Lately Lily Book of Fun
Illustrated by Micah Player
Text by Naomi Kirsten
Published by Chronicle Books
Former Paul Frank illustrator Micah Player struck out on his own a few years ago with the children’s clothing brand Lately Lily, and, following the template of his former employer, he’s expanded the brand into bedding, books and games.
Like Hannah Davies’ 3D Coloring book, Lately Lily Book of Fun works as a jumping off point for young illustrators, by starting off the drawings and leaving plenty of space for the kids (or adults) to complete the pictures.
With not too much luck, Lily could easily become ubiquitous in the same way as Frank’s monkey character, Julius. (I for one like Lily much more than I’ve ever liked Julius, who always seemed a bit half-baked to me.) This book is fantastic… A real treat.
Learn to Draw Animals in a Realistic Style
By Kevin Hawkes
Published by eeBoo
Prolific artist Kevin Hawkes has illustrated over 40 picture books for kids, including Michelle Knudsen’s New York Times Bestselling Library Lion and Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman. He’s also illustrated his own books, most recently 2014’s Remy and Lulu.
His Learn to Draw book, directed at kids 7+, is full of great tips and unexpectedly wry humor. Each section presents its subjects in basic sketches, sans details, as well as in more fleshed out drawings.
Instructional drawing books can come off as a bit overwhelming for beginners, but Hawkes has struck a deft balance here.