Masiello elegantly and joyfully taps into a thankfully enduring artistic tradition: the step-by-step technique that walks readers by hand through the creation of an image on paper.
Just as he has done previously for dinosaurs, dragons and bugs (Ralph Masiello's Dragon Drawing Book, 2007, etc.), here he guides young artists in the creation of robots—“ ’bots,” in the vernacular, as in “Squarehead Thinbot,” “Sparky Springbot” and “Zoidbot.” The artist starts by introducing readers to lines and shapes—nothing is taken for granted—from which can be drawn an elemental robot. He then provides a serious handful of “spare parts,” which can be used to add detail to readers’ creations. The spare-part section is good for sparking the imagination, but the best sparks are thrown by the finished products, which are cool in their radical colors and otherworldliness but not daunting (even if readers are not likely to attain his level of gradients and shadings). Robots are by nature somewhat scary, with their dead, sharklike eyes and sharp edges, and Masiello keeps that spooky quality. But he also knows how to invest them with humor: witness the “Bakerbot,” with a muffin cooking in its belly.
Brainstorming—a book that ought to launch a thousand robots. (Nonfiction. 6-9)