Resource: Ed Emberley’s drawing books

Cover of "Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of A...

What is it? A series of “how to draw” books by American artist and illustrator Edward Randolph Emberley targeted at young children… with instructions young children actually can follow. The books were originally published in the 1970s, and are being reissued now.

Why does Flora love them: Because they make her feel she can draw anything. These are instructions a young child really can follow, without supervision, without correction. She draws and draws and draws and draws from them for hours. She takes them everywhere. These books saved her love of art and drawing after a particularly traumatic art camp experience, and she won’t leave home without them.

Why does Jane love them: A) I could follow these instructions. If I were so inclined. Um. Except I really don’t like to draw. Not everyone’s an artist, you know. B) Cinder will pick them up every once in a while and draw ships, aliens and entire landscapes. And if something inspires Cinder to pick up a pencil and get creative on paper, well, it’s gold.

Where to get them: First, check out your public library. There’s a whole slew of them, and you probably don’t need all of them–and depending on your artist’s preference, there will be a favourite or two. I like to buy from the Book Depository unless I have a gift card for ChaptersIndigo or Amazon, but they are available through all these retailers.

Flora’s favourites are Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals and Ed Emberley’s Make a World. Cinder loves the Ed Emberley Drawing Book of Weirdos and the Ed Emberley Drawing Book of Halloween. Our friend Rosie likes Ed Emberley’s Big Green Book, and another friend’s favourite is Ed Emberley’s Big Purple Book. There are also thumbrintfingerprint and funprint books as well as Picture Pie and Picture Pie 2, which focus on cutting out shapes and creating collage-type art.

Need more? Read reviews from happy artists at GoodReads, or Emberley’s biography on Wikipedia.

Ed Emberley and Mrs. Emberley
Ed Emberley and Mrs. Emberley (Photo credit: supahcute.com)
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