May 06, 2014

I Wish I Could Draw

Words and (Bad) Pictures by Cary Fagan
Groundwood Books
32 pp.
Ages 6-10
Release May 13, 2014

I did not label the illustrations in Cary Fagan's I Wish I Could Draw as "(Bad) Pictures"; that was all Cary Fagan's doing.  Like so many of us, it takes some effort and practice before Cary Fagan, the illustrator, can accept that he has some artistic skill.  Of course, he does have to stop wishing and start doing before he realizes that, with a little practice, some effort and an interest in his subject, he can draw. 

From the onset, Cary Fagan, the illustrator, states unequivocally and even takes the time to show the reader how crummy an artist he is, from a self-portrait to a series of still-life pictures.  It's only when he begins to draw things he actually likes, e.g., a double-scoop chocolate ice cream cone, does Cary start to see some promise in his artistry.  And then, when he makes his illustrations purposeful i.e., part of a story, he admits that he likes drawing and encourages readers to go and pursue their own "stinky" drawings!

In these days of nurturing resilience and grit in children, I Wish I Could Draw lends itself so well to encouraging young readers not to give up when they are challenged.  In a notebook-style format, I Wish I Could Draw could be any child's doodle book of sketches, cartoons and reproductions of superheroes or characters with which they are familiar.  Maybe they won't be drawing teapots (though I think Cary's is rather quaint) but you can be assured that they'll be practising those troublesome fingers and landscape elements of trees and houses that always seem to show up in some school drawing.  With Cary Fagan's signature dry humour (we've read it in Danny, Who Fell in a Hole and Oy Feh So?), I Wish I Could Draw will make readers point and chuckle and then stop wishing and start drawing for themselves.  After all, their drawings couldn't be any worse than Cary Fagan's (bad) pictures.

1 comment:

  1. This is so great!!! I love the idea! I have a website almost up and running devoted to encouraging fledgling artists, as well as advanced artists. I am an illustrator and have done workshops in schools. In the beginning ages, i find that kids are excited about art, but then they seems to fall off, especially the boys, that's why I have decided to draw 'cool' scary creatures too on my website (they are also starring in my yet to be published book) But I do LOVE this book, I'm going to buy it when it comes out and suggest it to kids when I go into the schools again.