Wednesday, May 4, 2011

You Can Draw: Star Wars by Bonnie Burton

As part of DK Canada's May the 4th Be With You promotion and contest, here's a review of a book in their Star Wars collection.

You Can Draw: Star Wars is a guide to drawing the characters and objects from the Star Wars movies. It offers instructions in the basics of drawing these items as well as information about the supplies that can be used. There's lots of tips to get started drawing and some to make your drawings better. The book also includes some stencils to use in making a comic.

I really like this book. It's designed for children, so some of the instructions are pretty basic and not extremely detailed, but the advice is useful and practical. It's definitely enough to get anyone started on drawing these figures. I really like that there is a bit of an introduction to some of the characters. I've seen all of the Star Wars movies, but I don't remember all of the details or characters. It's nice to be reminded of some of these.

Of the three sections in the book (Pencil Drawing, Inking and Coloring, and Creating a Comic), the Pencil Drawing section is my favourite. It's the most extensive and covers many topics including equipment for drawing and the elements of drawing (shading and light, foreshortening, perspective, etc.). It also covers drawing various body parts, droids and aliens, weapons, vehicles, star ships and all other things Star Wars related. I love drawings done in pencil so it's fun just to flip through the section to see the all of the wonderful finished works. The instructions are pretty good for young artists. For complex drawings like R2-D2 and the Millennium Falcon, the book refers the reader/artist to other drawings, photos or books (published by DK) for more information about the subject to complete the project. That's a little disappointing, but these items are so complicated that the author couldn't include all of the details in this one book.

One of my favourite parts of the book are the velum overlays. These feature rough pencil drawings (stick figures) on velum, which then overlay final pencil drawings. They allow the artist to see the basic shapes which make up the final drawing and how they relate to that drawing. It is actually pretty cool. Another great aspect of the book are the flip-out pages. The design is quite neat. Combined with the velum, they show the rough pencil drawing on velum, the final pencil drawing underneath, and finally the ink drawing on the flip-out page. It's a little hard to explain, but kids will love it.

The Inking and Colouring section includes a two-page layout on Manga style. While the section is very brief, I appreciated it because I knew very little about it. I think younger artists would get a kick out of the Creating a Comic section. Who doesn't want their own comic book?

I tried drawing a few items from the book and was thinking of including a photo here, but they aren't very good and still need some work. It was really fun, though, and I'm going to continue to work on the few that I started and hope to do a few more.

The table of content lists the subjects or lessons within each section. The index has lots of entries; among them are characters names as well as the elements in drawing. Both of these things should be useful to the reader/artist.

Highly recommended for the budding artist and/or the young Star Wars enthusiast.

For more information about this book, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank Chris at DK Canada for this review copy and for inviting me to participate in the May the 4th Be With You promotion.

You Can Draw: Star Wars by Bonnie Burton, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2007. ISBN 9780756623432(Hardcover), 97p.

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