Friday, January 15, 2016

Doodletopia Cartoons by Christopher Hart

Are you a doodler?  The last art class I ever took was way, way back in junior high and I certainly never excelled there.  But I still love the feel of a pencil or ink pen in my hand and have always filled empty times (such as sitting through a college lecture or a school inservice meeting) with my own version of doodling.  I used to entertain the littlest grandkiddos with some simple cartooning, mostly cats, dogs, and silly faces, so when I was given the opportunity to examine Christopher Hart's new book on drawing, designing and coloring your "own super-fun cartoon creations", I was all in.

At the full 8.5 by 11 page format and 160 pages, this how-to book offers lots of opportunities to try out Hart's instructions step by step.  He advises how to use a center line hatching (like a simple cross of intersecting lines) to position and size a simple cartoon creature.  He also shows how the same shape can be made into different characters, say either a porcupine or a bear cub. There is a whole section where Hart has started a half drawing and budding cartoonists are then given the chance to finish the drawing.  In another section, Hart has created some simple human cartoons and then you are supposed to creatively dress the figures according to Hart's suggestions -- cave woman, Cleopatra, or cowboy.  I especially like the section on lettering.  As a former teacher, I can see so many opportunities for students to use creative lettering.  Too often all kids do now (and grown ups too) is rely on some computerized font.  Let's get some creative juices flowing again.

Yes, I've seen other cartooning books with somewhat similar instructions, but Hart seems to have distilled his instructions down to simple basics without making the book or drawings appear childish.
Yet, he has kept an element of fun throughout the whole book and if you take the time to read the full commentary, it is quite instructive.

If you have someone with a little doodling flair in your life, consider getting this book for them.  I would really like to grab my pencils and doodle away on these pages myself, but I have one granddaughter that this book would be perfect for.  I'd recommend this book for ages 8 up to 99+
As the latest coloring craze has shown, you're never too old for some artistic fun.  I was given a copy of this title by Blogging for Books for review purposes.  I was not compensated in any way and all opinions are mine.

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