Walter Foster Jr. has a great selection of art books for kids, including teaching them how to draw. Below I’m reviewing some of their titles that will help children learn and enjoy creating their own drawings.
We have some little artists in our home, and I want to encourage that, but worry that they won’t be able to transition from their doodles to serious artwork in the future. When I was young and trying to draw, I didn’t understand that most artists draw out the basic shapes and then fill in the details. Crazy, Zany Cartoon Characters Drawing Book & Kit comes with an art set, and magnetic closing case. I especially like how the book shows how to draw simple cartoon-ish shapes, and then fill them out into a cute character. I think it’s a good skill for kids to learn while young, plus they are having a lot of fun making their own characters.
Drawing Animals from A to Z includes two parts, a book showing suggestions of how to fill out basic shapes into 26 different animals. The second part of the set, is found in the glossy folding cover, and has a drawing pad with the original basic shape included. This is helping my kids learn that, by starting off with general shapes, they can add details to create anything they want to draw — including all kinds of animals! There is extra space on the drawing pad, and my kids love to create their own animals by re-drawing the original shapes, and adding details from there.
My daughter loves the Disney princesses and is a big fan of characters from the Littlest Pet Shop and My Little Pony characters. I thought that Learn to Draw Disney Princess Palace Pets kind of pulls those together into one adorable animal. It also does a good job of teaching the basic techniques of illustration starting with basic shapes, then adding secondary shapes, then filling in details. Each Disney princess has a little pony to draw, and a cute pet — kittens, puppies, etc. It’s helpful how the basic shapes are shown in different colors, and my daughters really love the cute style.
My kids are really loving My Big, Crazy Drawing & Doodle Book, and I like it because it encourages them in fun and engaging ways to practice drawing. The large, full-color, soft-bound book is filled with one clever graphic design, illustration, doodle, coloring, and drawing ideas after another. It includes drawing warm-up exercises, which I thought was a great idea. Flipping through my children’s copy, I can see they’re already designing sneakers, soda cans, and t-shirts, doodling thumbprint people, and drawing portraits of our family as superheroes, each in its own gilt frame. The drawing prompts are appealing for children, including a series of food sketches, like the toppings on a pizza, a multi-layered birthday cake, and gingerbread man decorations.
My daughter is a young artist — who happens to loves fairies — and she tells me that the trace-and-color approach in Fairies is helping her learn a lot about line, shape, and color. The book has a colored version of each fairy with a helpful palette to check if your colors are actually matching. The tracing system offers a line drawing version of each work that my daughter places on top, with a piece of graphite paper beneath that, and then whatever type of paper or board she’s using, on the bottom. She redraws the line drawing itself, and the graphite paper places light lines on the actual surface. Then my daughter colors it with markers, pencils, or pastels. Whether it turns out well or not, she can easily try again by tracing another copy. It’s an excellent approach to learning how to draw without frustration.