I’d Love To Draw by Andrew Loomis (book review).

October 17, 2014 | By | Reply More

If you only thought that how to draw books had author/artists sit down and just get on with it, then think again. Often a prototype is put together to see how it would work and to have something to show to a publisher as a sampler before doing the definitive version. ‘I’d Love To Draw’ was artist Andrew Loomis’ version of this and as it’s never been released makes it singularly unique. Although I consider ‘Fun With A Pencil’ as the primer for starting artists, Loomis must have felt like he needed something there to get people to take the plunge but only looked through the window at that time. As it’s far from complete, artist/painter Alex Ross adds inserts to explain things that Andy left out at the time. Reading his introduction, Ross was brought up on the Loomis books as indeed many comicbook artists have for their grace they bring to their figure work.


The most obvious thing from reading this book is how many aspects of ‘Successful Drawing’ for perspective, ‘Fun With A Pencil’ for caricature, and ‘Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth’…well, I’ll let you figure that one out but it has nothing to do with numbers are included here. I suspect they were used to bulk out the prototype as to what he was going to cover and would probably have been redrawn in the final copy. Something that was different was his display of heads, as Loomis shows the differences between normal, exaggerated and caricature heads and how these work by just expanding the shapes. Clearly, he must have felt showing the differences was important or to encourage different sorts of artists. After all, we all can scribble out something that remotely looks like a head and this might have used as a connection to the reader, saying if you can do that type, you’re not very far from the other types.


Loomis doesn’t shy away from one of the most difficult aspects of art to get right and focuses on perspective but also ensures that incorporated into basic shapes, it is easier than you thought it might be. I suspect, even today, people don’t see the necessity of a lot of lines heading towards a vanishing point as a means to laying the foundation to any illustration but when dimensionalised with shapes, it should become more obvious.


Likewise with caricature so you can have some fun, too. One of the underlying lessons is to draw people with, relying on life study when you have to and I suspect that would have been one area that he would have explored had he completed this book. As he points out in his ‘Closing Chat’, if you have a drawing pad and a pencil, then you can never be bored. This same piece also acts as an encouragement to explore drawing that should give even those of you only speculating to give it a go. It is pretty obvious that Loomis was out to encourage than deter people from drawing. Had he been able to have completed this book before his death in 1959, he would have come full circle in his book series.

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For the record, there is still one more Andrew Loomis book, ‘The Eye Of The Painter’ from 1954, that has yet to be reprinted but my query to Titan was that it was too recent. I do hope they’d reconsider as I’d love to complete my set of these exceptional art teaching books. Assuming you have picked up the other books by Andrew Loomis that Titan have been able to re-issue and I’ve reviewed in the past two years, let alone developed any drawing skills, you should understand why he’s revered so much by artists. If you aren’t buying for yourself, then certain use them to encourage your sprogs if they have any nascent artistic talent.

GF Willmetts

October 2014

(pub: Titan Books. 122 page large hardback. Price: £29.99 (UK), $39.95 (US), $45.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-78116-920-9)

check out website: www.titanbooks.com

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Category: Books, Illustration


About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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