We love Klutz books. I haven't come across a single flop yet, in all of the books we have bought from them. Still - I wasn't at all sure if this book would end up a complete waste of money. My son may love comic books - but he does not like to draw. When he was younger, he would never even colour in, but having found some pencil grips, crayons and other aids that help him with colouring and writing - I hoped to tempt him with drawing as well.
There is no real product description when you go to buy this book. I suppose Klutz don't want to make any grand claims as to how effective this will be. Still, the fact that this is a Klutz book assured me this would be easy to read, well illustrated and have very clear simple instructions that a child could follow - or even I could follow without getting a sore head.
This book begins with tracing. It may seem pointless, but tracing does actually help a child - or adult - learn to draw the lines. There is even a sheet of tracing paper included in the book to get you started.Then there is a quick lesson on adding depth to figures, or getting rid of the flat look, and very faint outlines to fill in, working on adding depth and curves. Now you are ready to start your own drawing. Which one will it be? Spiderman ? The Hulk? Wolverine? No - I'm afraid your first superhero will the remarkable Stick - man.
The next several pages deal with stick man and various poses or movements as well as having some more tracings and outlines to fill in. After this we work on faces, feet and hands, before moving on to more movement, and techniques like foreshortening. Some of the more famous characters in this book include; The Hulk, Spiderman, Captain America, Wolverine, Venom, and Iron Man.
I'd like to say that after picking this book up, my son was immediately able to draw all of his favourite Superheroes and has a bright career ahead of him with Marvel Comics. Of course I would be lying. His drawings are still simple and crude, but he is using the circle and stick men as a frame to draw a cartoon character from. He isn't really satisfied with his efforts, he super heroes do not look as if they have jumped straight out of a comic book. But he is drawing, he has enjoyed the book, and his drawings are so much better than before buying it. In all honesty, I think that is all I could ask for from a book like this. Not every child has strong artistic inclinations, so I am happy enough just to get him to give it a wee try - and if it isn't his thing - we can move on to something else.
I had a quick try at drawing a few of the characters myself - and I don't think I'll be applying for a job with Marvel anytime soon either, but I did find the instructions very easy to follow, and I could draw recognisable characters, if not perfect ones. I think if I were willing to devote the time and effort to practice I could get much better - but the simple fact is, not all of us have great artistic talent. My husband on the other hand could draw any comic book quality character from this, and we may well be using this book for him to decorate my sons room.
How much you get from this book depends on how much you put into it. You can not just pick this up and be able to draw perfectly. But it will improve any child or adults drawing, and if you are inclined to practice enough, I think you could really take quite a lot from this book. In terms of the quality of the book, the clarity of instructions or ease of use, I am not able to find any fault in this. But there really are no substitutes for practice and natural talent. The book will help you draw better, and the more work you put into it, the more it will help, but it isn't going to turn every reader into a professional artist. This book is no longer in print, so my copy was used. They do have a newer DC version available though. I paid under £3 for this used, including postage, but at the moment copies are going for over £8. Even at this price, I do feel this is value for money for anyone with an interest in drawing comic figures, and a great deal of this would be useful for any budding artist. Our book came with the 4 original pens, but they were somewhat dry. This isn't really an issue, as they are just ordinary felt tip pens and easily replaced.
My son is age 7, and I do feel he is at the lower age limit for this book. I would consider this from age 6+ only if a child has a strong interest in art, and 7+ for most children. I don't see any upper age limit on this. I do think an adult who is taking an art class, or just trying to improve their drawing on their own would benefit from this.