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on 13 July 2015
This is an excellent book. It's aimed at the absolute beginner, and even though I drew a lot as a child (not to any great standard), I put aside everything I thought I knew and started afresh.

The author is a cartoonist by trade, but even cartoons have basic rules that need to be observed. Mark takes you from drawing and shading a simple circle to far more complex shapes, but always at an easy pace while giving you a solid grounding in the basics. I'm currently at lesson 25 (out of 30), which has taken me less than three weeks as I've sometimes done several lessons in the same session. I look at the picture I drew on my first day and the one I drew last night and I can scarcely believe they're by the same artist, or that the artist is me!

I've heard several teachers say that drawing is a learnable skill. My own examples are below - around three weeks apart. If you've ever wanted to draw, this is a very good place to start.
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on 3 October 2011
This book is the best guide to learning to draw I've ever seen. It really is geared towards a complete beginner - far too many so-called beginner's drawing books start off with something like 'this is a pencil' but then almost immediately start showing beautifully drawn, lifelike groups of figures, animals, landscapes, etc. with a vague suggestion that you should be able to draw them from life. Mark Kistler's book isn't like that. He leads the beginner by the hand through small steps - and they're not just 'copy me' instructions, either - they are 'this is how it's done' instructions, readily applicable to other subjects. As someone who has repeatedly tried to learn to draw, and failed miserably every time, this book is a delight. By the end of the first lesson (30 minutes or so) I'd drawn a peach from my fridge, shaded it, and it actually looked like a peach! In 3 dimensions too! Amazing! I highly recommended this book for all budding but hopeless artists like me - it will set you on the right path. My copy is on the Kindle, although I'm reading it on the Kindle app of an iPad. Illustrations are very clear in the Kindle version (i'd thought they might not be) and they are even easy to follow on the tiny screen of my iPhone (which also has Amazon's Kindle app). Great book.
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on 13 November 2015
 I bought this book when I decided to (re)learn how to draw. It's a beginners book featuring 30 step-by-step lessons each one ending with one or more bonus challenges. The step-by-step lessons are a great motivator because allow you to achieve results you didn't think possible when starting. Bonus challenges help you to go beyond simply following instructions and really stretch you capabilities.

The main criticism I have is that there should be at most 20 lessons instead of 30. Thirty lessons take too long to complete and at moments one feels little progress is being made. There is also some repetition between lessons.

So, does this book really help to "master drawing, from figures to landscapes, in one month or less" as the subtitle suggests? No, but it's a first step; it surely helped me to gain confidence and motivation to continue learning. There are however lots of important topics not covered, which is kind of expected considering the type of book it is.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend it to complete beginners that, after gaining the necessary confidence and learning the basics, can then advance to more complete books like Drawing for the Absolute & Utter Beginner,Keys to Drawing or Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

(You can see all my drawings from the lessons of this book on my blog; just visit my Amazon profile for the link)
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on 6 April 2012
Definitely for the complete and utter beginner!
I love this book!
You will have a lot of fun working your way through the lessons they are all very approachable and the results are very much achievable!!
You start with simple shapes and simplistic shading and you finish drawing your own hand after thirty days! I proud of of my work too! I often have a flick through my sketch book to see how I have progressed!
There's tons of material in here when you include all the extra little bonus lessons and there's lots of other students comparisons to make you feel good about your attempts!
Get this book as your first stepping stone! A few pencils a blending stomp and slim sketch book are your only equipment necessaries!
It's a very good book and it's written by a very nice man!
I like to keep my reviews concise, hope I've helped!
Kindest Regards!
x x
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on 8 November 2012
After only 3 lessons I had drawings I was proud of. I'm artistic and will happily design and paint but when it comes to pencil and paper I have no confidence. Oh if only at school they'd have used the methods in this book. Anyone can draw, and practise just improves your skill. The idea that unless you're a natural you can't draw is rubbish. This book really does teach you that and is also fun to do and just so enjoyable. I love to look through my sketch book and look at my drawings. I still have that 'wow that was me' excitement and look forward to each lesson. I bought the Kindle edition to use on my iPad and found it perfect. The drawings themselves can be enlarged so really helpful and no book to carry around. I also find that as it isn't paperback, I don't flick through it so really don't know what is coming up. In a teaching book I think that's a good thing as sometimes we just don't have the confidence and get put off too quickly.
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on 9 July 2015
Over the last few years I have brought a few learn how to draw books, I usually get about 10pages in before getting bored as all they've taught me is different types of pencils to use and what a rubber does. Dull.

I gave this a go based on the good reviews and am so impressed with the way mark teaches you what and how to draw. I don't think I'm good yet but my skill has improved considerably over the last few weeks and I've actually started to believe what mark tells you at the beginning which is everyone can learn to be a good drawer.

Seriously if you want to learn to draw this book is great.
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on 6 April 2015
As somebody that has spent my life so far (40 plus years) claiming I cannot draw, I was a bit sceptical that I would learn to draw. But I did, and with fun and so quickly too. Mark gets you drawing fun and useful shapes without necessarily knowing the detail behind the why, though it is often easy to see why as an adult. The tricks and techniques are great. I've been drawing a cube the same way for years and to relearn that was simpler and with better results. Easy enough to teach to my 5 year old in a few minutes.
As for shading, I've always avoided it til now - but wouldn't leave it out ever now. It took me far more than 30 days, but that's just because I only did a few lessons a week. But 20 mins is all you need and usually a bit more to do the bonuses and once you get going.
So pleased I bought this and invested the time to improve. I feel I can draw confidently and also pass some knowledge on now rather than just bad stick men. I'm sure my journey is just starting...
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on 27 April 2014
This book is excellent . I struggled at an art class and gave up disappointed. I do a chapter of the book everyday and really enjoy it because the results are pleasing. My drawing skills were nil when I began. I feel I now have a relaxing and cheap enjoyable hobby. I wish there were more books by this author to follow on .The teaching is superb. Thank you Mark Kistler.
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on 26 March 2015
I bought this book for my wife as a birthday present along with some art materials. She's talked about learning to draw for a long time but not really had the impetus to start. This book got her going. I'm astonished at how good her drawing has become over the past three months. She is also proud of what she's achieving. It's helped her to add art to baking as one of her special skills. So if you've always wanted to be able to draw but not known how to get started, this is the book to buy! Thankyou Mark Kistler
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on 28 March 2013
I have just start sketching, mainly to relax in the evenings. I use this book on my kindle and I followed the exercises. It is excellent. The exercises are good and the book encouraged using what you did in the exercises to try your own thing which I found fun. I would definitely recommend this book. When I look at what I have achieved since using it, the results are great......move over da vinci (just kidding). There has been progress which is encouraging and this has kept me practising. Great book.
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