Art for Boys! A Review of Simply Draw with Bob Parsons
Posted by Melanie in Book and Product Reviews

Several of my boys are constantly drawing, so when Timberdoodle, one of our favorite suppliers, asked us if we’d like to review a new art curriculum, I thought, “Great!”and evidently, my boys thought so, too. When Simply Draw with Bob Parsons arrived at our house, there was great excitement, but I wouldn’t let them open it, not until we got a binder to put it in. So, tip number one is to get yourself a 1.5″ view binder for the book before your order arrives! And, while you’re at it, buy a notebook for each of your children, too, so they can keep up with their own work. …

That’s one of the things I love about Simply Draw – it comes with a CD that includes a pdf for each page your child will need to draw on – all together, so you can just print a set for each child. That makes this curriculum much more affordable than similarly priced art books that are consumable. I printed those pages on regular typing paper, but I think it would be even better to use card stock like the rest of the book, as Mr. Parsons recommends. So, you might want to pick up a pack of that with the notebooks. There are 74 pages you can print out.

As soon as we got it all set up, three of our middle boys glommed on to it and started reading it together. Simply Draw is an extremely boy-friendly art curriculum. It’s full of jokes and humor and the drawing examples are things like jets, robots, Rube Goldberg-like machines and vicious-looking fish. The boys loved it! I don’t think our girls will find it very appealing when they get to that age, though. There’s nothing much in the way of houses, queens, flowers and butterflies – the things my girls like to draw.

The Simply Draw CD also has 25 video lessons that demonstrate how to do the techniques in the book. They are very basic, but they make it easier to understand how to how actually do what is described. The CD is viewable on a computer, not a DVD player, and there’s an icon to show you where in the book you should stop to watch a video.

Then it was time to get started drawing, “Hey, this really works! Mom, come look!” The guys were excited to find out that they were able to produce drawings that looked an awful lot like the author’s. My 13yo said, “It’s cool, really cool. He teaches how to do a whole lot of things I’ve been wanting to learn for years.”

Then someone got jealous that the boys were getting so much attention, so she climbed up on the table to see if she could get in the pictures. I was glad to oblige, but she wouldn’t be still for more than a nanosecond.

The results of the first lesson were pretty neat. I had to go look in the book to see which one was the student’s work. One of my boys shaded the arm at the top.

I think you’d probably need to be eight or older to succeed with this art program. Bob Parsons teaches some pretty complex techniques, though in a very non-intimidating, fun way. Anyone up to an adult could benefitĀ  – there were things I could sure use some help on – but I think the age most likely to jump at it is going to be 8-14 or so. The only possibly objectionable things I noticed were a drawing of Humphrey Bogart with a cigarette and a little name calling among cartoon characters. That was only a couple of pages, and the rest of it more than made up for it with its terrific boy oriented humor.

All the boys who tried it want to continue with Simply Drawing on their own whether or not I include it as part of school – now that’s an appealing curriculum!

Simply Drawing with Bob Parsons, 2010, 192 pages with video CD, available from Timberdoodle for $37.50. Highly recommended for boys.

We received a free copy of this curriculum in return for our honest review. If we don’t like something we’ll say so.