The Drawing Lesson

A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw

About the Book

Read This Comic and Start Drawing Today! Nominated for a 2017 Eisner Award

For the first time ever, drawing instructor and graphic novelist Mark Crilley brings his easy-to-follow artistic instruction to aspiring artists in the form of a comic book, providing you with a one-of-a-kind how-to experience. In The Drawing Lesson, you’ll meet David—a young boy who wants nothing more than to learn how to draw. Luckily for David, he’s just met Becky—his helpful drawing mentor. Page by page, Becky teaches David (and you!) about the essential fundamentals that artists need in order to master drawing, all in a unique visual format. In panel after panel, Crilley provides lessons on shading, negative space, creating compositions, and more, with accompanying exercises that you can try for yourself. Are you ready to start your drawing lesson today?
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Praise for The Drawing Lesson

2017 Eisner Award Nominee

2017-2018 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award List

2019 Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee

"[H]eartfelt and quite moving...An artful balance of character and technique, of observed human moments and carefully pitched instruction, that will appeal to students with artistic aspirations. Gr 4 + Up"
—School Library Journal

"Engaging...A pleasant diversion for a long summer afternoon, The Drawing Lesson is likely to result in lots of ambitious sketching among readers ages 7 to 14."
Wall Street Journal

"The narrative is often funny and unexpectedly poignant, while the tutorials are impressively clear and easy for readers to implement...A great pick for juveniles and young teens looking to learn the craft of drawing."
Library Journal

"Proportion, negative space, perspective, lighting, and other drawing basics are covered concisely and informatively, so a student could easily follow the clear drawings to benefit from Becky’s lessons. Crilley develops his characters fully, making this a true novel and not simply a narrated drawing lesson. An original and accessible way to learn to draw. (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)"
Kirkus Reviews

"Offers thorough and practical lessons in drawing. The instruction is solid, covering proportion, shading, loose sketching, self-criticism, drawing shadows, and negative space."
Publishers Weekly

"You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and you might even discover a hidden talent. What’s not to love?"
Girls' Life Magazine

"A great book for young artists and their parents, sure to encourage artistry while building confidence and fundamental drawing skills."
Book Riot

"Everyone has looked at a piece of art, whether it is a comic book or classical painting, and thought I wish I could do that…Mark Crilley’s latest drawing manual, ‘The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw,’ turns that wish into an absolution."

"The book doesn’t just show you the right way to do things but also common, fixable mistakes. Then it shows you what to do in order to make things right."

"This book tackles all the topics they covered in my High School AP Art Class...An excellent book to give to a young person (tween to teen) if they’re interested in learning about the technical aspects of art."
—What'cha Reading

"Illustration inspiration."
The Children's Book Review

"The Drawing Lesson is a truly innovative way to learn art. I can’t wait to get this book for every kid on my gift buying list. Whatever your age, The Drawing Lesson is an essential primer on how to draw what you see."
Gene Ha, artist for Alan Moore’s Top 10, Fables, and Action Comics, creator of Mae, and four-time Eisner Award winner
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The Drawing Lesson

Chapter One: The Meeting   2

Chapter Two: Drawing What You See   11

Chapter Three: Shading   27

Chapter Four: Beginning With A Loose Sketch   40

Chapter Five: Understanding Light and Shadow   54

Chapter Six: Using Negative Space   68

Chapter Seven: Checking Proportions   78

Chapter Eight: Simplifying Things   87

Chapter Nine: Creating A Composition   98

Chapter Ten: Bringing It All Together   110

Chapter Eleven: Moving On   126

Epilogue   134

My goal with this book is to give you the next best thing: some sense of what it’s like to meet a drawing expert and to have a series of lessons at his or her side. There’s no shortage of instructional art books in the world; I’ve made a few of them myself. But I wanted to see if crucial lessons about drawing could be woven into an actual narrative. So, I set out to create a story that would give you vicariously the experience of having a mentor—one that can make you feel as if you are the one having your mistakes corrected, as if you are being told what to do and how to do it.

So, please turn the page, meet young David, and follow him on his drawing journey. I hope his story gives you some sense of what it’s like to have a drawing mentor. Mentors are not always gentle, and they certainly aren’t there just to be your personal cheerleader. But a mentor can truly change the way you see the world, and in so doing change your life altogether.

About the Author

Mark Crilley
Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created the Eisner Award–nominated comic Akiko on the Planet Smoo, which spawned a series of graphic novels and prose novel adaptations. In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s It List of the 100 most creative people in entertainment. More by Mark Crilley
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