"How to Draw" books are a pretty popular thing. The theory goes that your average open-mouthed adoring comic book fanatic pre-teen almost certainly harbours a desire to make a big splash in life by drawing super-heroes. I know I sure do, and my pre-teen years are at least two decades behind me. So, why not give him (or her) a book that promises to teach in a few short pages what takes most people many years of hard graft to learn.
This particular "How to Draw Spider-Man" produced in 1996 was one of a series of four including equivalents for Iron Man, Ghost Rider, and X-Men.
This book is slightly taller than a Treasury Edition, being 10.2" x 13.7" staple-bound with a glossy cardboard cover, and is a product of Walter Foster Publishing – a publishing house specialising in teaching books for artists and want-to-be artists.
|Publisher:||Walter Foster Publishing, Inc.|
|Designer:||Joshua Morris Publishing, Inc.|
|Adapted By:||How To Draw Spider-Man (Troll)|
The art ties in with the popular Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994) cartoon TV show that was in full-flight at the time.
The book opens with a one page description of pencils, and one page description of "How to Draw". Then we're into drawing Spidey, Spidey Swinging, Climbing, Posing, Cities, and then we're into specific character guides for Black Cat, Venom, Doc Ock, etc., etc.
The book is 32 pages of information, plus 8 pages of grid paper.
These "How to Draw" books always have the same problem – they are only useful if you pretty much know how to draw already. Learning how to draw isn't a matter of reading a book. It's a matter of thousands of hours of commitment to developing muscle memory and judgement.
But to be fair, this book doesn't call itself "Learn How to Draw by Drawing Spider-Man".
No, it's "How to Draw Spider-Man" with the implied sub-title "...assuming you already know how to draw."
Really, I think this book should be called "How to Copy Spider-Man". If you're really interested in drawing from scratch, you would be better off to look at Klutz: Draw The Marvel Comics Super-Heroes, which gives a somewhat more thorough treatment of the subject.
Or better still, sign up for an art class then practice two hours a day for a decade or so!
This book is a nice big piece of eye candy.
It does offer a perfectly valid walk-through Spider-Man's outlines as per the opinion of long-time Marvel pencil artist Alex Saviuk and inker Bob McLeod. Top that off with drawing guidelines for a few classic Spidey villains, and this seems an attractive product in an impressive large format.
Actually, the impressive "giant" size is maybe a bit too big. It would have looked great on a shelf at the book store (back when books were actually sold in physical stores). But it's a bit of a monster when it comes to finding a suitable shelf at home.
The other notable downside is the "8 pages of grid paper". That seems like a bit of a rip-off to me. Those 8 pages would have been much better with real content. Printing blank pages in a book is a painfully expensive way to create drawing paper!
All-in-all, I give this a middle-of-the-road three web rating.