Ray Gibson - I Can Draw Animals

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Lions, Tigers and Teddy Bears.

Jan 21, 2008 (Updated Jan 21, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Simple circular shapes

Cons:It's hard to draw in crayon.

The Bottom Line: A great starting point for learning how to draw animals.


My daughter was four-years-old when I got the book I can Draw Animals for her. She spends hours drawing and is really good with people and sceneries but I usually don't recognize the animals. I thought that if I started collecting drawing books at a young age her artistic ability would grow.

I quickly learned that my daughter was drawing for self expression and had no interest in putting ears in the correct place. She was very frustrated by following the step-by-step directions and wanted to draw the animals as a whole rather than by adding shapes to create an animal. The book didn't seem appropriate at the time, so I put the book away for awhile. Now that my daughter is five and has some experience in kindergarten she has a new appreciation for learning and finds the value in doing things in steps.

This book is set up like a typical drawing book. There are 16 animals. Each animal takes two pages. The directions are broken down into steps. The first set shows the head, the second step shoes the head and body, the third step shows the head, body, ears and so forth. Some of the animals have an appropriate background like trees, water or grass colored in. Primary colors are used for the animals.

One thing that I love about the book is all of the examples are done in crayon. I think most kids are comfortable using crayons. Since crayons are short, they seem to have better control over the movement. They also have a lot more experience using crayons so may feel more comfortable with them.

There are a few problems with using crayons for drawing. The biggest problem that crayons are unforgiving if a mistake is made. My little one does not tolerate mistakes on her drawings. Since there's no way to erase a crayon mark, she will start over on anther piece of paper which doesn't work out too well in the long run.

I can not draw animals at all so I thought I would try some of the instructions. Drawing in crayon is actually a lot harder than using a pencil. The crayon seems to be a wider lines. I drew a reindeer with a pencil and it looks like a reindeer. I drew the same animal with crayon and it looks like a two-year-old drew it. It's hard to get the precision and correct scale with a crayon.

It may be easier for a child to learn the steps with a colored pencil or fine tip marker. Once they get the steps down, it will be much easier to use a crayon. Another idea is to put a piece of printer paper over the drawing and let the child trace the animals until they get the hang of it.

The book was created with young kids in mind so the animals are very simple and there's never more than a few steps. There are some very simple steps numbered out but reading is not required to understand the step. Some animals are easier than others. The first animal in the book is a lion. My daughter likes to jump to the animal that she likes the best, but starting with the lion is the best choice because most children are able to draw circles.

Okay, so a youngster can draw a lion's head. Now what? It's not like a child sees lion's and reindeer a lot on their way to the grocery store each week. How are they going to put these animals into a scene? As for my daughters, they don't.

The lions and the bees are my 5-year-old daughter's favorite things in the book. It's the only animals from the book that she will incorporate into a picture. My oldest prefers the dolphin which is also easy to incorporate into a scene. I think the reason is, it's the only animals that they can relate to in their personal lives.

Another problem that I have is that my daughters bring me pictures of one item on the page. They turn the page, they start a new sheet.

I also wish the animals were somehow related. It would make more sense to have all safari animals or water-related animals so the child could make a picture incorporating more than one item.

Overall
This book is appropriate for a child age 4-6. This is a $5 book with a weird assortment of animals to draw. Many of the animals are easy because they're round in shape like the turtle, teddy bear or rabbit.

I think drawing in crayon seems like a great idea but sure didn't work out for us. We had the best luck practicing with a pencil. Once she could draw the animal, she would use a marker for the body and fill it in with crayon.

Though this book might help some children, it didn't help mine. I think my daughters do a better job drawing animals freestyle than following the examples in the book.


Recommend this product? Yes


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