This 144-page book delivers exactly what it promises: a graphic novel that teaches readers to draw.
It is indeed a novel, in that it tells the story in pictures of David, a blond, white boy around 12 who’s seized with a strong desire to learn to draw, and a young dark-haired, light-skinned artist, Becky, whom he meets on a park bench and persuades to give him drawing lessons. After some badgering, she agrees to teach him—with limits and with honest critiques of his early attempts. It becomes clear that beyond just teaching him technique, she is teaching him life lessons. He has to be satisfied with slow progress, learning discipline, and constant self-evaluation. “Seeing what’s wrong with your drawing is 90 percent of the battle. If you can’t see what’s wrong, you can’t fix it.” Once David has learned to respect Becky’s boundaries and she becomes more engaged with her enthusiastic student, they make great progress. They take sketching trips to the museum, the park, and the beach, and David’s drawing continues to improve. Proportion, negative space, perspective, lighting, and other drawing basics are covered concisely and informatively, so a student could easily follow the clear drawings to benefit from Becky’s lessons. Crilley develops his characters fully, making this a true novel and not simply a narrated drawing lesson.
An original and accessible way to learn to draw. (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)