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Book Review - “Draw Real People!”

If you’re looking for an uncomplicated drawing instruction book then you need to pick up Lee Hammond’s “Draw Real People!” by Discover Drawing Series. It has got to be the most straightforward, easy to follow drawing book on the market. I looked over several drawing books in my local craft store that were specifically for drawing facial features only, and this book was the only one that stood out on the rack. There were a few other books that included facial features, but didn’t break it down into easy to understand terminology for all ages.

The art techniques taught in the book are easy for older children to understand as well as adults. At the very beginning of the book, the author starts out with a before and after picture drawn by a 12-year-old that was done after practicing with the techniques taught in the book just over a three week period. The author then goes on to show incredible drawings done by, 10, 11 and 13-year-olds. All are quite impressive and all were done after practicing with the book. It makes a reader believe that he or she can conquer the techniques taught in the book.

Practice exercises are set up at the beginning of the book inside grids for the reader to work on right inside the book. This allows the reader to practice drawing shapes and outlines of figures, called graphing a photograph. Next the readers are taken through a shading exercise that involves shading in a sphere. This is an important exercise because, as you will later find out in the book, the human face is basically made up of spheres. Hammond says that the lighting and shadows that make the face look real follows the same concept as shading the sphere.

In Chapters 5 through 8 Hammond spends time on each of the facial features. He covers the nose, mouth, eyes, eyebrows, lashes and ears. In these chapters he keeps the pointers simple. He starts each chapter out with “pointers” paragraphs specifically about that feature. For example, according to Hammond, the nose is basically made up of three small spheres. Then the chapter has a grid over the features followed by how to draw that feature and how to shade it in.

Half way through the book is a great page that shows the reader an “EYE DO” (AND DON’T). After you know how to draw one eye you have to move on to drawing two eyes together to draw an entire face. This page gives you tips on eye distance from one another as well as how far the mouth should come out in reference to the center of the eyes. I found this page to be very useful. There is another page called “PUTTING THE EARS WHERE THEY BELONG.” Again, Hammond illustrates to the reader how the face is divided up with its features in reference to one another and how to place the ears where they should go.

Once you have worked your way through the individual features in the book, Hammond teaches you how to draw every kind of hair you can think of. He doesn’t leave you high and dry with the hair, like some books do; he takes you back to practice exercises at a more advanced level. He has you practice drawing hair, and then he has you putting it all together with a somewhat easy face, a medium level face, then finally an advanced face.

You are encouraged to spend as much time as you need in each section of the book. If you need to spend more time practicing on eyes than noses, he wants you to practice, practice, and practice. He encourages practicing every day. He recommends drawing from snapshots and magazine pictures.

I highly recommend this book as both a teaching “technique” drawing book and as a reference guide.

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