kittyocean: I give this book a 7 out of 10! (7)
[personal profile] kittyocean
Title: How To Draw The Little Mermaid
Original title: How To Draw The Little Mermaid
Author: Disney, but it's mentioned the illustrators are Philo Barnhart and Diana Wakeman
Language: English
Series: Disney's How To Draw
Format: Paperback, unusual large size
Pages: 44 pages
Publisher: Walter Foster Publisher
Year published: original 1992, my edition 1992
ISBN number: 156010161X
Topic of the book: How to draw
Reason for reading: I got it from my parents when we visited Florida (USA) and I love The Little Mermaid-movie. I think it was my second How to draw book (but could be third as well).
Recommended: Yes

Back cover text:

Artists young and old will enjoy trying their hands at drawing Ariel, Sebastian and the rest of their friends. In How to Draw The Little Mermaid, easy-to-follow steps and tips from Disney artists will have you drawing characters in a variety of poses and moods. You'll also learn interesting facts about the movie. Learning to draw has never been so rewarding!



Comments on the back cover text:

It's quite common for me NOT to read the back text and this book was no different. I must admit that it's not really representative for the contents. There aren't many facts and I missed a lot of friends. The font is quite large, but so is the book. It's between A4 and A3. If the book would be at A4 size, everything would still be easy to see, to read... but I guess this book stands out because of its odd size.
On another note, the front cover. You see a complicated pose on the cover of Ariel and Eric. It makes you think that will be in the book. No, it's not. So actually, the cover shows things you won't learn.

First paragraph/page:

I won't type the first paragraph, because I have no idea where the first paragraph ends. It could be at the bottom of the first page. It could also be at the end of the second page. Anyway, it just tells the story about how the movie was postponed and picked up again. It's decorated with animation stills, illustrations and production sketches. There aren't many production sketches, though. Could've used more.

Comments on the first paragraph:

The first paragraph is not representative, because it tells the story of the movie, instead of introducing the How to draw. However, I thought it was very interesting to read. In fact, I've read it several times already. It mentions which Disney Heroine Ariel looks most like (can you take a guess?) and what Ursala was meant to look like in the first sketches.
I would like to read more, but I guess this the the wrong book for it. The text is only 4 pages and because of the big font and the images, I think it's less than 1 A4.

Review:

Content:

The first real 'How to draw' page mentions everything is built up out of basic shapes and that there's a line of action. I hardly ever use that line of action, but I know a lot of people who do. It also mentions that a good looking silhouette leads to a good finished drawing. I guess I should try that one day. I've tried working from a silhouette once and that didn't really work for me.
The first lesson is about Ariel's head. New steps are shown in blue and there are quite some similarities in how I draw. However, despite Disney making it look so easy to draw Ariel, it's quite tricky. Then again, my father used this book once and the result was quite well.
From the face you go to the expressions. You don't get steps, just finished images. Since face structure changes with expressions, I would have preferred more step-by-steps. The next lesson, Ariel's full body, is step by step again, but it's practically the same expression as the face. The action poses that follow next shows more of the 'built-up' and I always considered that helpful. This book could have used more of that.
I won't mention every page, but you'll also see some Sebastian (with gloomy expression), Flounder, Ursula (her face is complicated O.o), Scuttle (my sister once drew him with this book, it looked good!), Eric (I tried to use that for my male figures, but I have little luck ^_^') and one page with: King Triton, Chef Louie (why??!), Flotsam (or Jetsam), Glut (eh... he was in the movie for like, 5 minutes? Plus, he had a name?!) and Max.
I mentioned that my father and sister were successful with this book. I myself used it three times or so and only dared to show one. The second one wasn't bad or so, but I wasn't satisfied myself. Oh and you probably want to know what I drew :)


KiMa - 04 - Awkward by *kittyocean on deviantART

Writing style:

The writing style is good. It's aimed at children and there's no complicated text. I enjoyed reading them and the text is actually helpful. It even gives tips you can use with your 'own drawings'! There's no 'you must', but a lot of 'try this'. Two thumbs up!

Art:

The art is good. It really looks like the art from the movie, but I guess that's what you'd expect ^_^. It would be a little bit strange if there would be art that didn't look like the movie!

Conclusion:

I really like this book and not just because it's The Little Mermaid. You can see some influences in my art, so that means I could fuse the tips from this book with my own style. There's not much text and the images are clear. It's just... more complicated than they want it to look. Beginners will have quite some troubles with the faces. However, the techniques you learn here are things you can use for your own art quite well!

Rereadability:

Now that I've read this book I really want to draw again... and I want to draw Ariel! So yes, I'd reread it, or actually, use it.


Note: while finishing this review a piece of paper slipped from the book. It contained a few History notes from High School.... why? O.o

Note 2: My parents made my sister and me choose between 3 How to draw books: The Little Mermaid, The Lion King and Rescue Rangers. I picked The Little Mermaid, my sister took The Lion King. I will probably stea- ehm, borrow it from her for a review. But I would've loved to own Rescue Rangers as well!

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