How to Draw and Paint Dragons by Tom Kidd, is much more than one of those children’s ‘how to draw’ books. I was expecting a sort of; draw an oval, a smaller oval and three triangles kind of affair but this isn’t a children’s book. Anyone who has even a vague interest in fantasy and dragons would, I’m sure, enjoy the book simply for the amazing examples of artists work and the almost encyclopaedic information about dragons. The author encourages the reader to build up a repertoire of studies of natural landscapes and observed animal and bird drawings and photos which might inform a fantastical dragon picture. There is huge detail about building up texture, the fall of light and compositional tricks to give perspective or dynamism. Honestly the chapters read like my ‘A’ level art syllabus but all with reference to dragons. There are line drawings at the back of the book which can be scanned or traced for the reader to practice their skills and would mean that even if a reader was young and perhaps unable to complete some of the more demanding artistic exercises they could still enjoy colouring in and placing their own dragons in a landscape of their own imagining.
I will be handing this book onto a fellow teacher of Simon’s who has run lunchtime war gaming clubs with the students and perhaps one of them would benefit from picking up quite complex artistic skills whilst trying to create a really scary dragon!