Good book encouraging a 10-year-old artist?
November 23, 2020 4:05 AM   Subscribe

For Christmas I’d like to find a book for a talented fifth grader who is worried about whether drawing is worth it after someone was mean to them. Is there a book that might be inspiring to get them? Something that’s maybe like the equivalent of one of those great Lynda Barry books, only more aimed at age 10?
posted by johngoren to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps Wreck This Journal? Or Create This Book?
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:19 AM on November 23, 2020

I’m not familiar with Lynda Barry’s work, but the first thing that came to mind is Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka. It is a graphic novel memoir about growing up in a tough situation and finding a way through with art. Both my kids, 9 and 12, have read it (it was summer reading for my 12-year-old), but it does have content that might be too much for some 10-year-olds, so I recommend a little personal diligence before gifting the book.
posted by ElizaMain at 4:52 AM on November 23, 2020

Some wise person gifted me The Man in the Ceiling by Jules Feiffer when I was 10 and I can't recommend it enough. Absolutely perfect for any kid (or adult) who worries about drawing.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 5:43 AM on November 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

I also came to recommend The Man in the Ceiling.
posted by phunniemee at 5:53 AM on November 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

If they are fans of Dog Man or Captain Underpants, there's Guide to Creating Comics in 3-D.
posted by BibiRose at 6:46 AM on November 23, 2020

Lynda Barry forever. Ed Emberly?
posted by tiny frying pan at 7:06 AM on November 23, 2020

A friend of mine has strongly recommended the book "Start with a scribble: drawing for the artistically undiscovered", which is intended and designed to draw in, and comes with a pen and two watercolor pencils. It's a playful book full of encouraging exercises and advice and space for creativity, which seems like a Lynda Barry type of approach:

My friend draws and paints with her nieces and nephews, and has given the oldest one (around the same age as the subject of this question) a copy for her own.
posted by theatro at 8:20 AM on November 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

There's Share Your Smile

and Drawing is Magic

and generally talking with them about their feelings and doubts and continuing to express interest in their drawing
posted by Geameade at 8:31 AM on November 23, 2020

I was fond of the Anti-Coloring Book series as a kid, though possibly somewhat younger than ten?
posted by babelfish at 9:50 AM on November 23, 2020

You could try the Drawing Lesson by Mark Crilley. It is a how to book that has a story within that's funny and poignant.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:47 AM on November 23, 2020

There are some great suggestions above, but I would like to suggest a slightly different angle:

The Artist's Manual, by Angela Gair, Chronicle Books Publisher, $25, is a great picture and instruction of a variety of techniques and applications. A deeper dive into the joy of making stuff might be inspiring for him, with some great drawing media and paper.

A lot of very famous artists begin from an awkward drawing style. A few famous cartoonists as examples: Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes). All of their initial drawings of the characters are a bit awkward, but blossomed into masters. If you can find early and late cartoons of their work, it could be very inspiring for him. How the Draw to Marvel Way by Stan Lee (Spiderman) if he's into the superhero genre. Also, Matt Groening (The Simpsons, Life in Hell) who never cared what anyone said about his style, and he's done ok.

Also, the magical Windsor McCay has some really lush color and line drawings that should be inspiring for a young artist.

Thanks for being cool. I hope some of these suggestions are helpful.
posted by effluvia at 11:12 AM on November 23, 2020

Has your fifth grader read Smile? It's a kid's graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier.

If you don't mind the spoiler: there's a part of this memoir that's about how Raina's original friends are mean to her, and cause an accident where she loses her teeth. She eventually finds better friends. Her new friend's appreciate her drawing and make her feel like she can be herself.
posted by tinymegalo at 12:13 PM on November 23, 2020

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