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Modern Cartooning is as suggested by most reviewers a beginner's book. The confusion seems to be which beginner. I would suggest there are five types of beginners when it comes to drawing: 1) the three/four year who is exploring the use of crayons on paper and walls, 2) the ten year old who likes to draw people, pets, houses, cars and trees, etc., 3) the junior high or high school student who is thinking about a career in art because family and friends are constantly complementing them on their art, 4) the college art student developing an interested in comics and animation, 5) the 30, 40 or 50 year olds who never went beyond high school art but wants to explore their creativity by drawing and painting. If you like to draw and fit into one of the last three categories of beginners then this book is for you.
The problem for the ten year old is less the drawings and more the reading level of Chris's written instructions. I suspect that younger beginners such as the ten year old would end up just looking at the pictures and hopefully doing the step-by-step drawings. They would be better off with one of Chris's good step-by-step drawing books, such his books "The Cartoonist's Big Book of Drawing Animals". However, if they have their heart set on Modern Cartooning and have a parent willing to work together it just might work. If the parent reads and discusses Chris's written instructions and both draw the cartoons, it could be a very positive experience. This all assumes the parent is confident enough in their own drawing skills.
Drawing is really about observation. It requires the ability to judge shapes and their placement. Is the body large enough? Is the head positioned correctly? Are the eyes too large, too far apart, or too high or low on the face? Chris's step-by-step drawings are a great help in developing these observational skills. The step-by-step drawings are large, clear and simple enough that each step is easy to follow. It is hard to say how easy or difficult you will find it to draw the cartoons. I'd say they are very easy, but then I've been drawing for more than 60 years and am confident enough is my own drawing skills that I teach kids art. I think these are great drawings for a beginner, the shapes are clear and the steps logical and complete. As long as you follow the steps in order and not just attempt to copy the finished cartoon you should be successful. Remember you will need to practice and draw each cartoon over and over again. You won't become a cartoonist by just reading the book. But repeatedly drawing of each cartoon and reading Chris's comments should result in a noticeable improvements in your cartooning skills.
Cartooning is all about the observation of people and their foibles. Chris is a great cartoonist because he combines both keen observation with a quirky sense of humor. The stereotypical characters he creates are instantly recognizable and outrageously funny. Chris is an excellent teacher for beginners because of his willingness to not only explain what to draw but also point out why. One of the great strengths of Chris's teaching style is he goes beyond just showing what to do. He also shows the design process by including a number of rough drafts that led up to the character's design. This is reinforced in Chris's videos were he is constantly erasing and redrawing while explaining all his reasoning for the changes.
Chris covers the basic of character design, starting with the face. A large part of the book deals with the modification of the face and body to get more individuality from the characters. These changes are mostly quite simple, such as making the body taller than the legs. Chris is the expert at taking such simple changes and creating new, unique, but easily recognizable cartoons types. Chris at one point takes this to an extreme and demonstrates how to create an entire cartoon from a single shape. There is a good mix of ages - from babies to seniors, as well as attention paid to both sexes and difference in body types. The emphasis is constantly on creating something new, unique and fun. There is a steady stream of ways to modify the character. This should be encouragement to go back and take now familiar toons and create something new. After each new concept is introduce Chris has a series of step-by-step drawings that illustrate the new ideas. There is a lot here and the beginner cartoonist will benefit from repeated reading and study of Chris's suggestions as they draw and then adapt each character to create something uniquely their own.
As mention Chris has a YouTube channel. These step-by-step videos greatly enhance the value of Chris's books such as Modern Cartooning. Similar cartoons are constructed from basic shapes and then refined while you watch. The entire time Chris is explaining and demonstrating the drawing process. Even kids who might find Modern Cartooning a too difficult read would be able to enjoy these videos and draw the cartoon characters. Chris's channel is suitable for student cartoonist of all ages.
Recommend, both the book, Modern Cartooning and Chris's YouTube channel.
I am a retired school teacher and potter. My work can be seen at davethepotter.ca. I teach kids art classes and summer art camps that usually include drawing, painting, paper mâché and clay. I make good use of Chris's many how-to-draw art books in my teaching and in my own work.