I came across a book while the lizard and I were decluttering that she didn't want anymore, but I sure did: Usborne Pocket Art's How to Draw Buildings
. I don't know a huge amount of Usborne (I believe they're a UK children's publisher?) but I used to be a fan of their puzzle books, and I've liked their other stuff that I've encountered. How to Draw Buildings
is an extremely compact, friendly guide to drawing architecture. It literally fits in my jacket pocket (measuring 5.5" square), and the fact that its audience is children means that I have some hope of following along. :) In fact, I have wanted to draw spaceships
for the longest time without having the faintest clue how to do so other than tracing comic book examples, so I have ordered a used copy of Usborne Pocket Art's How to Draw Spacecraft
for under $4 through Advanced Book Exchange.
Here's an example of a two-page spread on how to draw castles:
The how-to is compact but easy to follow, while the fully-rendered example gives the learning artist something to aspire to. I'm guessing that's colored pencil and I'm pretty sure I couldn't get effects that nice without working real hard at it. Notice also the inset on the "Cartoon castle" for fun's sake and the concise tutorial on using perspective. I would find it difficult to apply perspective straightaway to something as complicated as a castle like the examples shown, but it's good to know about it. In a book this brief (24 pages) I don't expect anything in depth, just encouragement and some simple tutorials for stereotypical examples of things like haunted houses and castles and skyscrapers. I cannot wait
to try the skyscraper tutorial. I adore cityscapes.
I decided to try to put this in practice and went outside to sketch the house across the way. This had the additional advantage of not being too difficult in the sense that it's a head-on view, no weird angles. I won't pretend it's great art (I'm not sure it's evident the scrawl on the left is a parked van in their driveway--all the houses around hereabouts are up on mini-hills because the roads flood during the heavy rains we get sometimes) but it's the thought that counts? I'll have to get in the habit of bringing a small sketchbook with me and doing doodles as I go.
Mostly, the moral of this for me is that books aimed at children can be aces
, as I think people like dsgood
and others have said.