Monday, February 8, 2016

book review: Doodletopia: Cartoons by Christopher Hart.

I'm always on the lookout for tools to help me practice my artwork, and anything that seems like it might help me squeeze some sketching into my very busy life is automatically intriguing. Pair that with the fact that I have specific areas I want to focus on improving--namely expressions and movement in my drawings of people--and you'll see why I was interested in checking out Doodletopia: Cartoons by Christopher Hart. While its focus is cartooning, which is sort of the stylistic cousin of the type of drawing and art I dabble in, I still figured I could customize my use of this sketch activity book to suit my needs.

So far, I've enjoyed doodling around in this book! The drawing activities are varied, the text is cheeky, and the style tends toward a retro feel that is one element I often try to incorporate in my own drawing style. The book offers a wide range of drawing exercises, including finishing half-drawn people, objects, and animals; working on expressions (the most useful part to me!); practicing various styles of hand-lettering; and more open-ended pages that challenge you to exercise your own style and skills.

All that said, there are a few limitations to this guy if you're hoping to use him for some serious sketching practice. While the author suggests putting your own spin and style on the exercises if you want to stretch yourself beyond just copying his cartoons, the activities can still be just a bit limiting and boxed in if you are wanting to exercise your own artistic style. On the converse, a drawing novice might find the book a little bit lacking in detailed instructions to help guide them to emulate the author's style in the drawing exercises. I think this book might be best suited for older kids or teens who enjoy a good drawing book, or adults who are seasoned doodlers and lovers of relaxing art activities like the ever-popular adult coloring book trend. Perhaps more serious artists might look for something a bit meatier and more challenging to aid in drawing practice. Still, I think I'll keep going through and taking what I can from it--there's some good stuff to be gleaned, especially the section on facial expressions.

Drawing the penguin as shown, then putting my own spin on it.
Practicing facial expressions.

Does this seem like your cup of tea? If so, check out these links for more:
--more on Doodletopia: Cartoons
--more on Christopher Hart

**Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, all opinions are my own!

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