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

illus. by Mark Crilley. 138p. ebook available. Crown/Watson-Guptill. Jul. 2016. pap. $18.99. ISBN 9780385346337.
RedReviewStarGr 4 Up—David is awed by an older student who can draw cars, and he wants to be able to do the same. When he asks Becky, an artist drawing in the park, for a quick lesson, the small request turns into an entire summer of progressive tutorials that readers are encouraged to emulate and practice. What could have been a series of instructions enhanced with dialogue and humor instead features a full story that's heartfelt and quite moving. The book contains illustrations rendered in shaded, sepia-tone pencil overlaid with crisp, computer-created dialogue balloons, and as Becky talks about framing and realism, negative space, and lighting, readers start to notice the intriguing choices Crilley has made in his storytelling. The focus is on drawing, not graphic narrative, but as readers see and analyze the way Becky—and, by extension, Crilley—is encouraging them, the balance between cartooning and realism begins to leap out. The dynamic between David's impetuous enthusiasm and Becky's caustic reserve pays off in a way that might be surprising, considering Crilley's frequent use of caricature. This title supports rereading and careful examination of the author's impeccable technique and the implied storytelling lessons he doesn't make explicit.
VERDICT An artful balance of character and technique, of observed human moments and carefully pitched instruction, that will appeal to students with artistic aspirations.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing