John Hastings has published The Drawing Breakthrough Book: A Shortcut to Artistic Excellence for those interested in learning how to draw. Frustrated with his own art lessons, he designed this book for adults, high school students, teachers, and parents who want to teach drawing skills to their children. The book is a good introduction to techniques budding artists can use to raise their skill to a higher level.
I’m writing this review not just as a homeschool dad but also as a professional artist. I went to design school and have worked as a designer (of one kind or another) ever since.
The book is aptly titled because he is leading the student through “breakthrough” milestones that any artist needs to understand. The book presents a clear, somewhat unorthodox formula for teaching drawing in three parts. He starts with teaching the student how to see, progresses to lines as building blocks then on to more advanced topics.
I know exactly what heâs talking about when he calls art classes frustrating. Most of us remember that grade school art class was more like art therapy than actually learning how to draw. Many art classes (especially on the primary and secondary level) teach more about expression and art appreciation and not about skills. No one was teaching me to draw until college. I remember having similar breakthroughs. When these concepts finally clicked, I became a better artist.
Hastings, a self-taught artist, came up with his own logical progression of artistic skills. Some of Hastings methods are new to me but they nonetheless reinforce familiar visual concepts. There are lots of step-by-step drawings and photos to help you see these concepts clearly.
This book is best for someone who has an interest in drawing and wants to draw better, not for the average person looking for an art class. Some of the techniques and tricks presented may not come easily at first. In my experience it does take practice and repetition to learn how to draw. If your older student is interested in art, this is a good book to stretch them beyond their current abilities.