Book Review

Dare to Sketch

Dare to Sketch

A Guide to Drawing on the Go

Felix Scheinberger

Watson-Guptill, Sep 2017

160 pages, Kindle edition

Art how-to

Purchased for Kindle app


The cover is appropriate for a sketchbook and looks very much like someone’s own sketchbook with doodles on the cover. The font is a handwritten font that is also appropriate for the sketchbook concept and adds a great deal to the whole picture. Overall, it really looks like something one would find in an art student’s backpack filled with the sketches of all sorts of things, from a demonized version of his least favorite professor to a picture of his half-eaten lunch or a pair of grungey sneakers.

What’s inside the covers is a combination of brief education on what you need for tools to actually sketch to warnings on how to deal with being caught drawing someone who doesn’t want to be drawn to cheering squad. Mr. Scheinberger has so much enthusiasm for sketching that it bubbles over in his encouragement for absolutely anyone who wants to sketch, whether you are an artist or someone who just wants to put pencil or pen to paper and make marks. He emphasizes the fact that a sketchbook is personal and that what you put into it is “for your eyes only.” So if you have never been taught and have no “talent”, you can still sketch. It’s no one else’s business what it looks like. It only has to mean something to you.

I’m one of those people who buy a new sketchbook and try to put a perfect picture on the first page. I agonize over it. Not the way to do it according to the author. Intentionally make the first page a bad one or start on page 17 or so just to get started and get over the whole “getting started” problem. I love the idea of page 17!

There is a brief section about the tools for sketching, but the author doesn’t go into depth about which sketchbooks to use or which pens or paints to use. It’s just a general overview to account for the tools of the trade. A section I was really impressed with was the part about getting permission to draw people. It’s like the photographic release that photographers get. Many people won’t think anything of it, but some people might really object and you will lose your drawing. You either need to be more discreet about what you are doing or be very open about it and make sure that you are ready to cover your work with something or are willing to give up your work peaceably. Or, you could try getting permission ahead of time and risk losing your subject.

Mr. Scheinberger has a loose, cartoon-like sketching style in the book which is fun and easy to look at. It brings a lot of energy to his pictures and adds interest to even simple scenes. He talks about light and shadow and shows you how to see one and draw the other with various types of hatching, and his personal style illustrates what he says very well. I highly recommend this little gem of a book to artists and artist wannabes alike. Not so much for educational purposes, but more for entertainment and encouragement. There are so many sketchers who don’t because they don’t have any confidence in their sketching. If this book can help even one timid sketcher pick up their sketchbook and start again in their own way, then I think this book will have done its job. I know it’s encouraging me to try again. I’m starting on page 17! Highly recommended.

Addendum: I saw the hardcover book at B&N the other day and was blown away with how much more awesome it is! The artwork is SOOOOOO amazing! If you can afford to buy it in hardcover, do so and you’ll have a much better experience. I almost bought it again in hardcover, but I’m watching my “book bucks” right now.

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