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“Anyone Can Draw!”

July 10, 2013

I collect all sorts of books. Mostly picture books I admit, because I believe you can never have too many books. (Unless you’re moving, then in that case having too many books is a pain in the butt. Almost as bad as packing records.) Anyhow…I buy new books all the time but I get the most enjoyment from purchasing used books.

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I have a pretty extensive collection of art books, and the jewels of the collection are the old ones. The older the better. And old “how to draw” books are the best. Last weekend I hit my favorite spot to buy used (junk) books at a flea market in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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First up are a few of the Pitman $1.00 art books. As you can see by the back cover, they put out over a hundred or so of them. Shows you easy ways to draw all sorts of animals.

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These were put out in the 60s And 70s I believe, and it’s chock full of simple yet nicely rendered animals of all sorts. From horses to panthers this series covered everything.

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Next, The Art of Drawing Animals put out by the Grumbacher Library 1965.

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Starting with easy step-by-step simple geometric shapes to nicely rendered brush illustrations, this instructional book is simply amazing. And the cover price? $1.25. That’s a bargain.

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Turns out I had a few books by this next artist already in my stash. The infamous Walter T. Foster was a great artist and had great style.

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From his Wikipedia entry: Walter T. Foster (1891–1981) was an American entrepreneur, artist, art instructor, writer, editor and publisher. The Walter T. Foster Publishing Company’s line of low-cost art manuals were widely distributed to art stores, often displayed in a metal rack specially made for Foster’s oversized art books.

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Walter was equally adept at drawing cartoon images as he was at doing realistic portraiture. His animals are muscular and sinewy like a Frazetta painting and his cartoon pin up girls could give Tex Avery a run for his money. A good artist is well rounded and that’s exactly what Mr. Foster was. And even better, he signed his work “WTF”. Which is simply awesome.

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This next book I didn’t get at the flea market, but I did pick it up at a local (junk) antique mall for $7.00. This one is really a gem, it’s a first edition of Burne Hogarth’s Dynamic Figure Drawing. This man really needs no introduction, but if you aren’t familiar with who he is, check out his official website: Burne Hogarth Dynamic Media Worldwide. You won’t be disappointed.

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I mean, with insane illustrations like these, done in 1970, how could you not be impressed?

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And one of the main reasons I prefer used books to newer ones is shown below. I love reading the inscriptions on the front pages (if they have them) so I know who owned this book before I did. These inscriptions tell great stories. Turns out Mr. Eckart was a super nice guy and an inspiration to many. I’m proud to own a book by someone who was a good dude.

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Lastly, this last book was a priceless find. For about $2.00 I snagged “Anyone Can Draw!” by Arthur Zaidenberg, publishing date 1939. This is also a first edition book, and it’s incredible.

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The book is full of Art Deco style illustrations, some sheer pieces of beauty while others are slightly disturbing. But all of them are stunning none the less. Ill just let the pictures do the talking on this one. Every page is a work of art.

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And I thought I’d throw this one in just for the hell of it. From the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #1, 1963, the answer to all my drawing problems can be solved with one simple device for the low low price of $1.98.

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Even if you can’t draw a straight line, no lessons, no talent needed. Where was this miracle cure when I was growing up?

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Hell, who am I kidding. I could use it now.

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