Monday, February 11, 2013

Ed Emberley

The first thing I can remember being obsessed with, or caught up in, was drawing. There was a nice public library, the first one I remember going to, and despite it's statist sterile institutional vibe, it did have a kid's section that my mother directed me towards. I must have been four or five. There was a rack on the wall with these very thin drawing books.

Up until then I was just making things up in my head, or drawing how I thought things looked like. And, there's nothing wrong with that. But these drawing books, hanging on the wall seemed to grab me and I couldn't put them down. These were, of course, drawing books by Ed Emberely. I had that name in my mind for awhile and his drawing instructions were always being looked at. More importantly, he had a book devoted to trains and trucks which I needed to have, and I got it. (I had a train obsession).

The illustrations seemed to be designed/created for kids that age. They were quite minimal, reducing everything to shape and line (no shading). Everything was put in a step by step way, which at times, I struggled to follow, cause I wanted to get to the end, right away, asap. The beautiful thing about this was you could see the process, and you could see it build. These books kept me busy for house.

I went through many of his books, I remember getting a purple one for my birthday, or Christmas. Jumping from section to section, learning how to draw pirates and ships and vampires. It was empowering in a way, to have these books and feel as though you could draw anything you needed, on the spot, just following the instructions. I liked that.

I eventually moved on from the simplicity of that type of style, and going to other sources (it ran its course), but it served as a good starting point and a lesson in following detailed instructions. I could take these little books and spend hours at the kitchen table drawing trains and faces and trucks.
There was no need to ask anyone for help, it was all in the book.

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