Sunday, February 24, 2019

Bert Dodson - a man who spent his life inspiring people to draw

"Anyone who can hold a pencil can learn to draw with some degree of proficiency"
Bert Dodson
Bert Dodson is a man who has a made a lot of difference to the lives of very many people who like to draw.

My birthday wishes timeline on Facebook tells me that he turned 81 yesterday - and I'd like to wish him belatedly a very happy birthday.  

Reading his iconic art instruction book "Keys to Drawing" was one of those "lightbulb" moments for me and I've been recommending it to people ever since.

Decades later, in an era when you go to the "Drawing"category of Amazon and all you can see are books about mindfulness, mandalas and colouring books (I despair - it makes me want to cry !!!Keys for Drawing is still like a oasis in a desert of so-called art books by publishers who are more concerned with profit than providing decent learning opportunities.
  • Keys to Drawing has now had over 250 reviews on Amazon 
  • it continues to maintain a very high average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars 
  • 72% have given it 5 stars
  • AND it continue to be have a lot of excellent tips on "how to draw"!
Bert wrote to tell me that he really appreciated my book review of "Keys to Drawing" 
" Keys to Drawing" by Bert Dodson is one of the first drawing books that I bought after I got back to doing art after a break of over 15 years. It opened my eyes, stimulated my enthusiasm for drawing again and provided me with some really excellent guidelines about what to think about when drawing.  Keys to Drawing | Making A Mark | 18th May 2006
I gather it generated a bit of a surge in sales afterwards! 

When I was in New England in September 2006 I wrote and asked if I could visit him which is how come I came to be in his studio in Bradford, Vermont in 2006  to take this photo of him with his page proofs of his next book Drawing with Imagination - about the keys to creativity in drawing

Bert Dodson in his studio with page proofs of Drawing with Imagination (September 2006)
He now walks with an aid - and so do I - and that's because it's about twelve and half years since we last met and we now both wobble a bit from time to time!

He spent a lifetime illustrating children's books. One of the last books he illustrated was one he wrote himself.  Very sadly his website is no longer on line - but his inspiring words about drawing will live on for a very long time....

Long may people read his very sound advice on how to draw!

Bio Note:

Bert Dodson is a painter, teacher, author and illustrator. He has illustrated over 80 books for children.
  • He has authored two books on drawing; Keys to Drawing (North Light, 1985), and Keys to Drawing with Imagination (North Light, 2006).
  • In the 1980’s he created the political comic strip, Nuke, which was published in two volumes, as Nuke; A Book of Cartoons (McFarland and Company, Jeffersonville, NC, 1988 ), and Nuke II; Another Book of Cartoons (1990).
  • He co-authored, with the biologist, Mahlon Hoagland, The Way Life Works ( Times Books, 1995), and Intimate Strangers; The Story of Unseen Life on Earth (ASM Press, 1999).
  • He was animation designer for the four part PBS television series, Intimate Strangers (1998).
  • He regularly exhibits his watercolors and drawings. 
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