You Can Draw in 30 Days
Mark Kistler
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Buy *You Can Draw in 30 Days: The Fun, Easy Way to Learn to Draw in One Month or Less* by Mark Kistler online

You Can Draw in 30 Days: The Fun, Easy Way to Learn to Draw in One Month or Less
Mark Kistler
Da Capo Lifelong Books
256 pages
January 2011
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Take out your number 2 pencil. You are about to be amazed.

Yes, Iím talking to you people who canít draw a recognizable stick figure. I used to be just like you Ė I wouldnít even doodle because I was so ashamed of my pathetic renderings. When I received Mark Kistlerís You Can Draw in 30 Days for review, I considered it a dare that I would certainly win. I distinctly recall saying, ďWeíll just see about that.Ē

I was not impressed by the press release that claims Kistlerís students have gone on to design the International Space Station and work on animated films such as Shrek and The Incredibles. Those people obviously had natural artistic talent. So what if they took a course from this author? I am drawing-impaired from the word Ďgo,í and there is no way Iíll ever produce more than a lumpy, misshapen circle.

Kistlerís friendly writing style lured me in, however. I reluctantly drew the Before pictures Ė a house, a plane, a bagel óthen turned the page to see what Lesson 1 involved. It was so clearly beyond my ability that I almost stopped there, but pure stubbornness drove me to give it a go.

It wasnít easy. I couldnít figure out how to hold the pencil, even though I constantly have some sort of writing implement in my hand and have been capable of using one for writing words for many years now. The paper felt funny. I broke into a sweat. Despite all that, I managed to produce some very nice spheres in only a few minutes.

Kistlerís lessons build upon each other, and explain in simple terms how to use size, placement, and overlapping to create realistic-looking objects; how to use foreshortening to create illusion; and how to use a simple horizontal line to give depth to a drawing. You can probably skip all that and just follow the simple step-by-step visual instructions, but honestly Ė the terms arenít that hard to understand.

Each of the 30 lessons has a bonus challenge, too, and I wound up doing them all with a fair amount of competence. Kistler is surely aware of just how embarrassing art lessons are for the majority of us, because he has wisely included work done by his students with each lesson, including some of their Before attempts, making me feel more comfortable about my own efforts.

By Day 5, I was looking forward to my daily lesson. By Day 7, Iíd started sketching coffee cups and bowls, tables and desks, and just about anything else that caught my eye. Whatís more, I was able to look at those things and identify what I was seeing: foreshortened view, two point perspective, and textures.

Am I serious competition for Van Gogh? Nope, not yet. Can I draw one heck of a waving banner or delicate lily? Youíre darned right I can. And Iím convinced that You Can Draw in 30 Days, too.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Deborah Adams, 2011

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