Draw Some Awesome: Drawing Tips & Ideas for Budding Artists, Donovan Bixley,
Upstart Press, 2021
“Sometimes I feel like my brain will explode from so many ideas so I put them into sketchbooks.”
Ah 🧡 Donovan Bixley’s Draw Some Awesome 🧡 is a treasure of a book. If you love drawing, then this is the perfect book for you.
Donovan has loved drawing since he was a young boy – and that is where the book starts. He shares some drawings he did at the age of eight and the extremely cool books he made. You can carry things you love doing as a child all along the tracks towards adulthood. Glorious! He is like a character on every page, (such an excellent likeness!) giving top tips and making little jokes. He would copy artists he loved (Leonardi da Vinci, Edgar Degas, all the paintings at the Louvre in Paris, Dr Seuss for a start).
“There is no right or wrong way to draw.”
The book has loads of fabulous exercises. All you need is a pencil and some paper.You can use what is close at hand to inspire you and you can use your imagination. But Donovan gets you drawing. He will most definitely get you drawing. In fact he got me drawing. He might start with doodling. He might start with a kitchen pot or a pair of shoes. Using different kinds of lines and shading. Adding details. Making a catalogue of faces with truckloads of different expressions. He starts easy and then tries trickier. He might draw a fruit or vegetable shape and then transform it into something altogether different. Genius. He shows what a difference perspective makes by doing the same page twice, once with it, and once without. Genius. He will get you playing with shading and composition. There’s inspiration and there’s imagination.
Donovan has created a magnificent handbook for children who love drawing and for those who are just starting out. He writes and draws with his characteristic sense of humour. He makes things accessible. He includes ideas and wisdoms that I totally agree with and that work for those of us who love writing. Draw draw draw is like write write write. In the doing you will discover things. Copy copy copy (look look look) is like read read read (discover discover discover). Find ways that suit you. Like Donovan, as a writer I have never stopped reading and discovering how to write. What suits me. I write both inside and outside my comfort zones, and I reckon Donovan does that too.
He has a quote from Mozart: “Don’t wait for permission to be artistic. If you feel it in your heart, JUST DO IT!” Donovan definitely feels it in his heart as this is a book of FUN challenges and infectious HEART. I adore it.
A drawing challenge so I can give the book away:
You have until 5pm on Thursday to draw the shape of a fruit or vegetable and then transform it into something else. Try pencil or coloured pencils. I have had a go! I will post some on Friday and I will give one copy of the book away. This is not a competition – it is a challenge so you too can have fun drawing.
Include: name, year, age, name of school
Put DRAWING in email subject line so I don’t miss your email.
Deadline: 5pm Thursday 2nd December
Post: Friday 3rd December
“But I don’t want you to draw like me. I want to teach you to draw like you!”
Donovan Bixley is an illustrator and writer based in Taupo. Donovan has numerous bestsellers to his name, including the recent Maui series, and Much Ado About Shakespeare. Donovan created Pussycat, Pussycat (2015), Little Bo Peep (2014), The Wheels on the Bus (2010)and Old Macdonald’s Farm (2011) and The Great Kiwi ABC (2016).
Try the Donovan Bixley competition on the Upstart page. You have until December 17th.
Watch the video of Donovan giving tips.
I had a go drawing using things I saw on the kitchen table – mug, apple, banana. I was thinking of mashup poems. Now I want to do a whole lot more and get better but also want to get the post up PRONTO! Paula