Great Illustrated Books

Drawing Comics is Easy! (Except When It's Hard)

By Alexa Kitchen

Denis Kitchen Publishing Co., LLC, 2006
Pages : 176
Suggested Ages: 7-10
ISBN: 9780971008069

"Art is a thing that everybody does different. Nobody's drawing is better than someone else." That's what the author/illustrator states in her remarkable and instructive first book, though you may soon conclude that her drawings are way better than your own. Mind you, the author was only 8 when this book was published by her own dad's publishing company, but don't let that fact lead you to assume that this is just a vanity press novelty. When children open this chunky pink little book with the adorable kid-drawn comic on the cover, they say, "Whoa! Look at that! She's a great draw-er!" I found out about the book when my cousin Minka, a third grader, showed me her copy, saying, "I think you need to see this great book I just got." I'm grateful to her. It blew me away.

Alexa gives great advice to aspiring artists:
    1. never be scared to make a mistake. that's why they invented erasers!
    2. don't hold your pencil in a death grip. let it be loose!
    3. take your time when you want to make perfect art!

She begins Chapter 1, "Very Simple," with fine black line drawings of cartoon cats, showing step-by-step how to pull them together using basic lines and shapes. Then she showcases lots of them, standing upright on their hind legs, wearing different outfits and facial expressions, and in a variety of poses. The cat's name is Denis and there's a whole encyclopedia on how to draw him. Mostly done in pen and ink, but punctuated with little bursts of crayon and color, Alexa's instructional manual, packed with her advice and amazingly insightful and funny cartoon strips, will send readers digging for paper and drawing materials to work on their art.

In the Publishers Note and Author's Disclaimer, it states, "The contents of this book were created in a short burst when Alexa was 7 years old. . . However, the author wishes it to be known, for the record, that Drawing Comics Is Easy! is "not very good" and "full of mistakes" and wishes to emphasize that her "next book will be much better." Readers will beg to differ. Her next book, called Grown-Ups Are Dumb! (No Offense) is due out with Hyperion in August, 2009. Can't wait to read it and start drawing.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Davis, Eleanor. Stinky. Little Lit Library, 2008.

Emberley, Ed. Ed Emberley's Drawing Book: Make a World. Little, Brown, 2006, c1972.

Emberley, Ed. Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals. Little, Brown, 2006, c1970.

Emberley, Ed. Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Faces. Little, Brown, 2006, c1975.

Holm, Jennifer L., and Matthew Holm. Babymouse: Our Hero. Random House, 2005. (And others in the Babymouse series.)

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Hefley's Journal. Amulet, 2007. (And others in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.)

Siegel, Siena Cherson. To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel. Atheneum, 2006.

Smith, Jeff. Out From Boneville. (Bone series, volume 1) Scholastic, 2005.

Zhensun, Zheng, and Low, Alice. A Young Painter: The Life and Paintings of Wang Yani-China's Extraordinary Young Artist. Scholastic, 1991.

Critics have said

"Kitchen draws and writes like a seven-year-old, for sure-but a really good seven-year-old, and her exuberance is inspiring... When she's 17, she may be mortified that this book exists; when she's 27, she'll realize how cool it is."
Publishers Weekly