When I was a kid, my school library had a series of books I thought of as the “Drawing Books” by Ed Emberley. They were better than most drawing books because, while I felt like other books got too complicated in the steps too fast, the Ed Emberley ones did not. The ones my school’s library had were based on a series of very simple and basic shapes organized into step-by-step pictures. The books were themed by color such as Ed Emberley’s Big Purple Drawing Book, and I would try to draw giant dioramas with all of the things I learned how to draw in that book.
A couple of months ago, something reminded me of those books and I decided to poke around online and see if they were still around. I was delighted to discover that they still are, to an extent. You can buy a number of titles new via Amazon, but some are out of print. Luckily you can buy them used via Amazon or eBay for a reasonable used book price. You can see the collection here, and Ed Emberley also offers a fingerprint-based book (great for Color Me Mine type projects) and a “picture pie” book that uses circles and sections of circles great for papercrafters. We secured a number of these books, and they went under the Christmas tree this year with new markers and colored pencils.
With the two-month birthday/Christmas rush of LEGO building winding down (so, so many LEGO), we tried pulling out the books the other day. The boys selected a “Croaking Frog” from Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals as their first project.
A, our second grader, was able to follow the steps a bit more independently. There is a little bit of a learning curve when kids are using coloring items because they don’t erase and they need to make sure they drew a head big enough for facial features and such, but A started to get the hang of it with only a few do overs. W, who is in Pre-K, needed a little bit of help keeping track of the steps and making his shapes the right proportion, but with a little guiding, he got it.
The boys then went to Ed Emberley’s Big Green Drawing Book and tried to recreate a cat. There was certainly some improvement from W.
A even went back the next morning and tried a more complicated picture of an old timey car; he’s certainly is getting the hang of things. He says the books are “helpful for drawing.” W says the books are “pretty much fun.” He really enjoyed the books and tried to improve on his cat drawing when his brother was working on the car picture.
I really look forward to seeing what other pictures they do later and hope we can get to the big diorama stage that I had enjoyed so much.
Did you have these books around when you were kids? Do you think your kids would enjoy them?