Just Draw It!3 star



By Sam Piyasena & Beverly Philp
Barron’s, $18.99, 160 pages

With their book Just Draw It!, Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp challenge readers to think beyond their limitations and express themselves in original and imaginative ways. This isn’t a stuffy instruction manual: it’s a workbook, with an emphasis on work. To derive any artistic benefit, readers must actually do the exercises and practice the techniques. That said, the exercises are quirky, creative and kind of cathartic, so readers stuck in a drawing rut and annoyed with traditional techniques will enjoy working through them. Examples include using a string to create an image, speed drawing a moving figure, and feeling a subject then drawing it blind. The book itself looks and feels like a sketchpad and gives off a relaxed, artsy vibe.

“Drawing can often be a cathartic and therapeutic experience. A visual outpouring of emotion can become a window to the imagination and an inspiration in itself.”

The authors divided the content into six chapters, progressively building up the basics of good image making: line and mark making; tone and form; composition, perspective and viewpoint; movement and gesture; pattern and texture; and observation, exploration and imagination. It’s a jam-packed, surprising and unconventional course in the arts that is both varied and thorough. For anyone turned off by the “real way to draw” Just Draw It! may be the perfect antidote.

Reviewed by Andrea Klein

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