Timberdoodle sent me a review copy of Cognitive Drawing over the summer, which my 20-year-old daughter Rachel has been methodically working her way through.
I’ve been so impressed by how this 90-day course is laid out that I’m thinking of buying a second copy for myself. Rachel and I both love to draw, but neither of us is very experienced at drawing human musculature.
Basic anatomy is this book’s forte, and I’ve seen Rachel’s drawing skills improve as she’s completed the daily exercises in Cognitive Drawing.
Unfortunately, she’s a little timid about sharing her completed pages online. “No way, Mom. That would be SOOO embarassing!” So instead of publishing the pictures of the shirtless men she’s drawn (per the book’s instructions), I will show you her leaves…
… and her eyeballs. As you can see, there are several squares on each page for repetitive drawing. That’s where the “cognitive” part comes in. Students are supposed to study the sample portrait, then cover it and draw it first from memory.
Then they are to compare their drawing to the original portrait and try again, this time while referring to the source. Next they cover all the previous drawings and attempt it from memory again, then complete a final try while looking once more.
The results are impressive. This self-paced book contains 90 lessons. You can take as long as you like to get through it, but the lessons require a lot of concentration, and for that reason, the author recommends you don’t try to do more than two lessons a day.
Some of the source portraits are hand drawn…
and others are actual photographs of brawny man with very little body fat. Do you see how defined those muscles are? Sketching from life this way makes me feel a bit like Leonardo DaVinci.
Growing up with eight brothers, my girls are fairly accustomed to seeing muscle-bound boys without their shirts on. But I suspect some of my homeschooling friends might prefer that their daughters not study the male anatomy quite so closely. So when deciding if this curriculum is right for your budding artists, keep in mind they’ll be drawing shoulders, chest, arms, legs, and hands from photographs like the photo above.
While you’re on the Timberdoodle website, I’d encourage you to take a look around. We love everything we’ve ever ordered from this small family-owned company!
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PLEASE NOTE: As a member of the Timberdoodle blog team, I routinely receive free or deeply discounted products in exchange for writing honest reviews. Opinions expressed in these posts are 100% my own. I’ve been a happy and enthusiastic Timberdoodle customer for decades — long before I ever started blogging for their company.