This week sees the release of the next in Titan Books series of Andrew Loomis reprints, Fun with a Pencil. Actually dating as the first of the Loomis instructional art books (going all the way back to 1939) it inevitably shares some of its content with his later releases, but where Figure Drawing for all it’s Worth, Drawing the Head and Hands, Successful Drawing and Creative Illustration took a very serious approach that was squarely focused on the professional (practicing or aspiring), Fun with Pencil is a much more light-hearted ride.
Introduced by Andrew Loomis’ alter ego Professor Blook, he guides you in his jolly manner through the basics of drawing such as the use of simple shapes, construction of the head, facial expressions, drawing the body, action poses, clothes and the more complex areas, perspective, light and shadow and staging.
It’s clear while reading through Fun with a Pencil that its intended to be more of an overview of the range of skills required for effective illustration (while not scarring you off) and should be considered as a starter course before delving into his much more complex later books. The language of 1939 can read a little clunky at times and a few of the descriptions Loomis uses took me by surprise, warranting what I thought was a rather odd disclaimer at the beginning of the book. It’s important to understand that it was written in a different time with different sensibilities and vocabulary, and while a couple of items of note might be wholly unacceptable to us today, i’m glad Titan left the book un-changed and un-edited, allowing us to view it with some intelligence.
All things considered it’s another worthy addition to the Loomis collection that while it might not satisfy devoted readers of his previously superb books (or later depending on how you choose to look at it) this does stand up as a solid introduction to drawing technique, leaving only I believe The Eye of the Painter to see reprint. Here’s hoping Titan have this in the works.