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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

REVIEW: "How to Draw" books by Amit Offir

Review of Amit Offir's How to Draw Gnomes and Dwarves

***I was given a free PDF copy of "How to Draw-Gnomes & Dwarves" by Amit Offir in exchange of my honest opinion of this drawing book. I have received no other financial gains to do so nor will I in the future from linking to his site. I merely want to share with you my opinions of this book and grant you easy access to his site if you so choose to have a look***

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I am a huge believer in the benefits of creative expression through art. No matter what age you are or what medium you use, there is something very magical about taking a blank canvas and painting a beautiful picture; or in this case a blank paper to create a cute character.

This book (I assume all his others are written in the same manner) is illustrated in step by step easy directions. It is full of simple, cute characters that you can easily make come to life on your page even if you have little to no drawing experience, so long as you are willing to try. This book is meant to give you the fundamental basics of drawing characters to build your own self confidence. Using these easy step by step directions, in time you will develop a sense of accomplishment with your drawing abilities and then you will be more likely to make alterations and create your own characters.

I consider myself as a jack of all trades, master of none. I have never explored cartooning. My drawings tend to be more realistic and certainly almost always contain animals. People are difficult, even in cartoons. Learning proportions is probably one of the hardest things to master. Faces and hands are one of the things I find most difficult to try. The How to Draw blog has an article on proportions for figure drawings which also gives you a step by step sample of what you can expect to see in these books.

This step by step book, even on my first try of cartooning was easy to follow.

This first picture took 5 steps to create (there are 12 steps in total).


Picture two contains another three steps.
 This third picture contains three more steps.
 Now all that is left is to colour your picture in as the final twelfth step.
 Not bad for a first attempt :)

My second drawing was a gnome carrying an acorn and was a side view. Picture one was a total of six steps. I didn't have mine bent over enough as my gnome ended up looking more like he was standing straight up than like he was carrying a heavy acorn.

The next pictures contains the next twelve steps.

The final step is colouring your drawing in. I used coloured pencils this time as I didn't really like how the markers turned out. This book does not dicuss shading at all but I like to add some depth with a little bit of shading. Perhaps that takes away from the cartoon effect but it feels more natural to me.


 The tree was probably my favourite thing to draw in this book, with the mushrooms being a close second. Since I typically shy away from "people" I guess that makes a lot of sense.
7 steps in this picture

3 more steps in this picture

One step here

The last step before adding colour

Adding some colour

Finished tree
My tree looks like it's straight out of 100 acre woods! I can only imagine which gnome family might live there if not Winnie the Pooh himself.

 The mushrooms were by far the most fun to draw and after being fortunate enough to stumble upon these beauties in real life,

I knew I needed to transform my mushroom into a Muscaria Amanita.

Not only were his mushrooms the quickest and easiest to draw but they were where I first tried adding my own details. The tallest mushroom does not contain the frill around the stem, gills or the spots in the step by step direction. 
The great thing about these books is they teach you the basic step by step technique. After you gain some self confidence in your drawing abilities it is up to you to see where your imagination takes you with your new knowledge.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand" -Albert Einstein



 So are you ready to try your hand at drawing with these easy to follow step by step "How to Draw" books? Each PDF varies in number of pages. How to Draw Gnomes and Dwarves is 29 pages and contains directions for 14 different characters, a tree and mushrooms. It costs $2.99 at the time of this review which is a very economical price if you have a budding artist at your house or even if you want to try your hand at cartooning.

There is one book available for a free download on his website if you want to sign up to receive it so you can see first hand how these books are laid out before making a purchase.
CLICK HERE to see the download freebie page

If you decide you like these books you can buy them singularly for $2.99 each,  one of 4 collections of books currently available for $9.99 or the mega collection of all 36 books for $19.99. To see the various collections available click HERE.At the top of the page there is also a link to categories where you can see all the individual titles.

You can follow How to draw on their facebook page HERE if you like. Their updates appear few and far between but it keeps you up to date on new articles as they come available.

Reviewing this book was fun to do and I hope it encourages you to give drawing cartoons a try. It really can be fun!

If you try one of these books I'd love to hear what you thought of them.