I think you have to admit that the Quick & Clever series title is a bit of a hostage to fortune – I mean, sooner or later surely they’re going to come up with something that’s neither, and then what’ll we do for eggs, hmm?
I also think we have to admit that some of the results here are sometimes a little bit flat, a little bit two-dimensional. However, that’s more than made up for by the fact that Michael offers not only a rather good grounding in basic techniques (and other books wholly devoted to that subject have frequently missed the point entirely), but also some, well, it has to be said, clever ideas for working quickly, most of which work very well. You’d have to be pretty picky to cavil, but then that’s my job: I do it so you don’t have to. Poor me.
The thing about drawing is that it’s a very basic skill and one which it’s very hard to learn from scratch. Sure, if you have a modicum of ability you can practice and you can also learn a huge variety of techniques, but if you haven’t got the sort of eye that can translate a three dimensional subject into just height and width and only use tone and shading to suggest depth, you’re in trouble. What you get here are some neat, well-executed and well-presented ideas that will give you quite reasonable results very quickly, boosting your confidence and persuading you that maybe you can do it. After all, there’s nothing more calculated to discourage the beginner that to spend hours fiddling about with a drawing, watching it get away from them before their very eyes and then finishing up like, well, like something even the dog wouldn’t recognise as dinner.
This is one of those books where you can feel that author, editor and designer have worked together as a team, so congratulations to all of them on a job well done.