Rating: 4 stars
Along the lines of Betty Edwards, Burt Dodson and even Kimon Nicolaides, Carla Sonheim’s newest book strives to bring out the artist in everyone.
Using various techniques taught in more “serious” art books, Sonheim lightens things up by providing silly stories, fun creatures and other creative fare in an effort to take the left-brain thinking out of the process; a factor that hinders many new artists trying to hone their skills.
One of the best tricks in learning to draw is to see things as shapes and lines, not literal, named objects. Turning the item (or photo of an item) upside down helps to confuse the left side of the brain, allows the right side to take over and create. Sonheim includes fun and challenging lessons such as blind contours, cheats, and single line drawings of people, animals and objects that are easy, fun and whimsical; which are perfect for warming up and getting the creative juices flowing.
In addition to getting people to draw, Sonheim also strives to reinvigorate dormant or stunted creativity that may have been accidentally smothered early in childhood. The seemingly innocuous statement made to a child, such as, “Grass isn’t blue, Sally”, causes children to conform to what is considered “correct”, rather than expressing their own creative flare. Further, if you’ve ever watched a Boise State football game, they have successfully proven that grass can indeed be blue.
Because the drawing assignments are bite-sized and silly, the pressure to “create” or to “draw well” is alleviated. The overall tone of the book is to have fun, relax and just let your creativity happen. The challenges of drawing with your less dominate hand are not only fun, but because there’s absolutely no expectation for them to be “good”, inhibitions and self-perpetuated mind blocks are lowered, allowing for a relaxed, judgment-free experience that yields surprising results.
Carla Sonheim’s latest artistic offering is guaranteed to provide hours of fun and entertainment. Packed with creativity-inspiring exercises and ideas, The Art of Silliness will bring out the artist in everyone.
Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Perigee Trade (November 6, 2012)