Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Big Drawing Book Review 2013

I have to confess.

I a serious addiction to books about drawing and sketching. For me books about drawing were a way into finding out different ways of drawing, how people drew in the past, how to render accurately - and why rendering in ways which are looser can be more interesting.  Books opened my eyes to what was possible and encouraged me to find new ways of drawing. I developed an interest in mark-making.

Some of my collection of Books about Drawing
Back in 2007, I spent a month reviewing drawing books and encouraging others to do likewise - see The Big Drawing Book Review

Since then we've had a huge resurgence of interest in both drawing and sketching.  I see drawings more often in exhibition. Urban Sketchers got off the ground, other drawing projects followed such as Sketching in Nature appeared and we now even have a new art prize for drawing.

As this is Big Draw I'm therefore proposing to repeat The Big Drawing Book Review in 2013

The Big Drawing Book Review: What does this involve?

The idea is simple. I'll explain what I'm doing below.  If you'd like to join in and also rate the drawing books you like or recommend that would be wonderful - it's good to share!

What I will be doing

This October I'm going to be reviewing books about drawing - instruction books, books about drawings by specific artists, reviews of drawing practices, and books about sketchbooks - on my blog Making A Mark Reviews.

My reviews will focus on:
  • Basic Facts about the book - title, author, publisher - and who the book is aimed at. 
  • My opinion about the content - with reasons. 
  • Who the book is suitable for eg 
    • beginner - somebody wanting to learn how to draw 
    • improver - somebody wanting to learn more and improve their drawing 
    • advanced - somebody who is already knowledgeable and skilled who wants to face new challenges, to learn about artists and different drawing practices 
  • Readability - A comment on how well the author writes and how accessible the book is. Are points made clearly - and can I remember them afterwards! Also what level of reading the book is pitched at. 
  • Presentation/Quality of Binding - Whether it looks good and feels good. For me this is often influenced by the quality of the images and the way text is laid out 
  • Value for Money - Is it good value for money? 
  • Overall quality - Would I recommend it - and if so, the reasons why.
Every Sunday I will then highlight the books I've reviewed on "who's made a mark this week?"

Last time I also developed a website which highlighted books about drawing and sketching I recommended.  See The Best Books about Drawing and Sketching.  This also linked to reviews by me and the other bloggers who participated in the Review.

That site has become extraordinarily long - and very popular - since 2007 and is now slow to load. Unfortunately the site format where it's hosted has changed recently. As a result, I'm now looking to revise it into a number of sites which are more targeted to particular interests e.g. advanced drawing - or books most suitable for beginners; or people who want to draw specific subjects or learn specific techniques e.g. perspective drawing.  See How to draw perspective for an example of the new sites I'm developing.  The existing site will then become a hub for the specific interests.

If you want to join in with The Big Drawing Book Review 2013:
  • YOU need to send me a link to your review 
  • I will then include a link to your blog post in the listing each week on this blog.
I'm going to be using the rating we all used last time to sum up the book.  This is it.  Please also use it if you feel comfortable with it.
Rate your book!Finally, after making it clear who you think the book is aimed at, try and decide whether it rates:
  • 5 pencils - go out and buy this book right now if you have the money. In your opinion, an essential book for anybody seriously interested in drawing and/or learning more about drawing. 
  • 4 pencils - a seriously good book about drawing; definitely one you want to own at some point - maybe one for the Christmas present list if you're broke 
  • 3 pencils - good effort but nothing which really distinguishes it from other books. It's just this author's take on the basics. The sort of book which is good while you are reading it but doesn't stick in your memory. 
  • 2 pencils - undistinguished in your view. For example: content may be a rerun of previously published books and/or remixed with a new front cover; presentation may not be particularly noteworthy. 
  • 1 pencil - buying this book would damage your wallet but is unlikely to enhance either your knowledge, skills or enjoyment. It may also hurt your eyes! (Unfortunately there are a few of these out there - although I'm assuming we've probably weeded through a few of these without buying!) 

If you've got any queries please leave a comment below

If you'd like to join in also leave a comment and I'll put your blog into my feedreader.  You can do as many or as few reviews as you like.

Books about Sketchbooks on my bookshelves

Note:  This project has been initiated by me in the spirit of learning that underpins The Big Draw but is not registered with or associated with The Big Draw which is more event-related.


  1. Hello!
    Sounds like a great idea - I too love drawing/sketching books. I would like to get involved. Not sure how many reviews I will be able to do, but will try! My blog address is
    Anne-Marie xx

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hello Katherine, great idea. If you want me to get involved somehow, please let me know. Albrecht

  4. I'd love to have you involved with the review Albrecht. If you do the review on your blog or send me a review it will be posted to Making A Mark Reviews.

    Also, if you'd like to get involved with my new book about drawing please head on over to


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