Friday, July 03, 2009

Equi-Art: I Love to Draw Horses by Jennifer Lipsey

Jennifer Lipsey's My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Draw Horses! (My Very Favorite Art Books) is like having your favorite elementary school art teacher sit down beside you and give you private lessons, and for horse-crazy kids among us, (and I was once one of those) this easy little drawing book brings a lot in a small package.

Lipsey, an art teacher herself, promises that "this book will help you become the artist you always wanted to be." Beginning with the face-on horse's head, she uses the familiar circles and ovals to ease students into the basic forms of the equine body. But she doesn't stop with just the shape; she also teaches the details of the horse's face, the blaze, stripe, snip, and star which make each horse unique.

Moving on to the full body, she begins with the easiest to draw--a simple profile, first with legs together, and then with all four legs showing. Lipsey then moves on to movement--showing the positioning of all four legs in the classic gaits, walking, trotting, cantering, and galloping. Double-page spreads also show how to draw the grazing, rearing, and lying-down horse, and similar spreads show how to tailor the basic horse shape to the morphology of the Arabian, draft horse, racehorse, and Shetland pony. Baby horses are not slighted, with a special spread showing how to draw the body shape of the foal in profile and front-facing style and their distinctive "crew-cut" manes and short tails.

A great strength of Lipsey's book is her intrinsic presentation of a great deal of information and vocabulary incidental to the horse. She illustrates and discusses horse coloration, including the chestnut, gray, dun, bay, palomino, pinto, and the various forms of the Appaloosa--the frost, leopard, blanket, and snowflake. The parts of the horse's body--from muzzle to withers to fetlock--and the elements of basic tack share a double-page spread.

Knowing that many would-be horse artists are also would-be equestrians, Lipsey also offers a spread showing the young artist how to draw in the riders--samples being an elf maiden, cowgirl, princess, English equestrienne, and American Indian girl, all with the appropriate trappings. The author also gives a nod to the horse in folklore, with a lesson in drawing Pegasus, the mythical winged horse, and the fantasy favorite, the unicorn. In her illustrations and text, Lipsey also takes pains to suggest various settings for her horses--beachfront, nighttime forests, racetracks, mountain ranges, snowy fields, and farmlands.

Materials suggested are simple and inexpensive--pencil and paper, blackline marker, eraser, and colored pencils or crayons. Instructions are brief but complete, and the additional horse lingo adds interest to the easy-to-read text. All in all, it's the book I wish I could have had when I was a nine-year-old, reading Black Beauty and trying to teach myself how to draw that longed-for horse of my own.*

Other books by Jennifer Lipsey in this series are My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Draw!, My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Draw Cartoons!, My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Paint!, My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Draw Dogs!, My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Collage!, and My Very Favorite Art Book: I Love to Finger Paint! Toss together several of these books with some markers, sharpened pencils, and paper and you've got your own summer art camp ready for those long summer days.

*Editor's Note: But it's never too late! With Lipsey's directions and about 20 minutes of work, I drew this recognizable horse. Considering that it's probably been more than five decades since I last drew one, I'd say this how-to book really works!

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  • Hi there,

    Jennifer Lipsey here! I happened to run across your review while trying to find some on-line info. about my book series. I just wanted to thank you for such a well-written and heartfelt review, I nearly teared up. These kind of reviews are what spreads the word about my books - and I truly appreciate it.


    p.s. Great horse drawing!!

    By Blogger jennifer lipsey, at 8:33 AM  

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