Friday, September 21, 2012

Drawing the Emberley Way - Fast and Fun

A couple days ago I brought home Ed Emberley's Big Green Drawing Book from the library. If you've never seen an Emberley book before, a typical page looks like so:

That is, it consists of pages and pages of step by step instructions for drawing various people and stuff. Under each step in the drawing are scaled down versions of the shapes you'll be adding (like two small circles). The book is essentially the algorithm for drawing hundreds of little pictures.

Last night I sat down with our 7 year old, a piece of yellow construction paper in front of each of us, and we worked through the first couple of pictures. Here was our result:

The boy (and myself) were nothing short of elated. When he looked further in book and saw that he was going to get to draw snakes, lions and dragons, he could barely contain his excitement. And when I told him this morning that he can use the pictures to draw his own comics, I think I dang near blew his mind.

I know from my own experience that drawing is one of those things that can be incredibly frustrating. Your mind so clearly sees what you want to draw, yet your hands just don't want to cooperate. This book took away all that frustration and just let us draw something fun.

Definitely recommended for kids and adults alike.

Now, if only someone would port over these drawings to an Android app. With a phone, a handful of index cards and a few pens you'd have a complete kid friendly portable art studio. Perhaps if I take 15 minutes and take snapshots of the pages with my camera phone, I can simulate this setup?


  1. I loved those books growing up... red, blue, green.... I remember checking them all out from the library... not that I ever learned to draw anything, but I think that was a problem with the pupil not the instructor.

  2. You should check them out again - you'll be amazed at what you can do!