I recently received my "contributor's" copy of Carla Sonheim's new book, Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun.
I was delighted several months ago, after posting my bantam drawing with collage (Backgrounds and What Goes on Top) to receive an email from Carla. She wanted to include my page spread as an example in her upcoming book.
I fortuitously received the book on June 21, moments before leaving for the MCBA Visual Journal Collective—so attendees at the meeting got a first glimpse of the book. It received a warm reception and more than half of those present are purchasing their own copy.
That makes sense because it is a cheery and warm book, stressing, as its title suggests, ways in which drawing can be made fun. This isn't a studio book on drawing perfect renditions of objects and people. This book is about exploring ways to get your hand moving across the paper, with a bit of whimsy. I think this is a great book for people who want more play in their drawing sessions, who want to have some guidelines on how to explore, and for people who want to discover and embrace their personal style. People who like to use drawing prompts will also find this book useful.
With 52 "labs" on different topics from "Drawing Cats in Bed" to "100 Faces" to "Abstracted Minutia" you'll have enough to keep you busy for a year if you do one exercise a week. Or you just may find a favorite exercise that you'll repeat frequently.
Instructions are short, simple, and straightforward—again, nothing to bog you down. The list of supplies is short and manageable. (It won't break the bank and if you already keep a visual journal you will probably have most of the suggested tools and supplies.). Examples accompany each exercise. (My bantam art is the example for Lab 35: Drawing and Collage.)
The book also includes brief interviews with featured artists asking about favorite materials, routines, and early drawing memories (among many other things). These interviews will also encourage you to take a more playful attitude to drawing. (Note: I'm not a featured artist—just a contributor.)
if you do get this book, know that Carla has started a Flickr group for artworks inspired by the book. (Her post at that link explains it.)
(Note: I have no financial interest in this book.)