Friday Fancies XX

I’ve re-discovered Ed Emberley’s drawing books

I remember flipping through these books in my elementary school library as a girl.  And almost instantly re-shelving them, spurning them as too simple and silly for my tastes. 

I guess my tastes have grown simpler and sillier.  

Searching for something that would give  2 of my 4 students more practice with observing and reproducing general shapes, I found Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book for Animals.  We opened this book last Friday, and were immediately enthralled.

Ahhhhhh, an art instruction book even the 4-year-old can follow.  So it will benefit 3 0f the 4 kids.  And with a sense of humor.

The drawings get progressively more challenging.

Dare I make a comparison between Ed Emberley’s books and Mona Brookes’ Drawing with Children?

I have Brookes’ book on my shelf, have enjoyed it and still refer to it.  It is a good book for philosophy and figuring out your direction in art instruction.  There are good exercises to work through and lots of good tips from an expert art teacher.

However, using it to pull together a year-long art instruction for multiple children and different ages can be little daunting.  One of the first steps that Brookes teaches is recognizing and drawing certain shapes. 

Emberley does the exact same thing.  Except he breaks the process down into steps that gives the student lots of practice.  There are few words, mostly pictures so it is very easy for even a young student to work their way through the book independently.

It is similar to Draw Write Now books, except even more basic and better organized for the student to see and understand similarities/differences in shape.  And better organized for practice.

One other big difference is that Brookes encourages students to look at something — a picture, a still-life, a model — and reproduce it.  This is an important skill, one that particularly teaches focus and concentration and how to “see.” 

I believe Emberley’s method gives the very young student tools to draw from memory or imagination.  A very different but useful skill.  Many inventors had to imagine things that didn’t exist in their mind’s eye before they could reproduce it on paper or in life.

So I think I will be re-shelving Emberley again, but this time he will sit on MY shelf, close at hand, side-by-side with Mona Brookes’ Drawing With Children.

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