Once a classic drawing instruction manual that was used to teach countless children and young adults how to draw, Drawing Made Easy by E. G. Lutz is now back in print after many years absence. Hallmarks of his approach are simplifying complex shapes as well as working from big to small. These concepts, as outlined in Drawing Made Easy, are simple enough for children to understand and yet the same principles are evident in many Old Master drawings. Also contained within this reprinted volume are selections from Lutz’s earlier book, Practical Drawing.
Noted artist and author, James Gurney, was kind enough to write the following forward for this reprint.
Drawing Made Easy taught me how to draw. I relied on books because I never had a drawing teacher (except my older brother) until I was in my early twenties. I searched for the books on drawing that I could find. This was the one that helped me the most. And as I look at it again, I still think it’s one of the best.
The method was simple. Draw a simple outside shape first and keep that shape in mind as you subdivide the big shape into smaller details. The bounding shape is made of straight lines that enclose the form in a kind of envelope.
Although Drawing Made Easy was intended for children, the method is virtually identical to the way drawing was taught to adults a hundred and fifty years ago in the professional academies. Master drawing instructors like Harold Speed and Charles Bargue also commenced a figure drawing with an envelope of straight lines or simple shapes.
The reason this method works is that accurate observation is more a process of interpolation than extrapolation. To put it another way, drawing is a hierarchy of successive approximations from large shapes to small shapes. It’s much easier to make an accurate judgment when you’re subdividing a large line or a large simple shape. In the first steps of making a drawing, broad estimations of length and slope and shape give way to progressively smaller estimations. Those smaller measurements are always made with the original large shape in mind.
There’s no single way to draw, and no single way to teach drawing. But a lot of art teachers in the 1950s and 60s threw out the common-sense method of books like Drawing Made Easy in favor of other methods that were supposed to enhance expression. The big-shape analysis may not make drawing easy, but it will make it easier and more fun. And it will yield good results, both for imaginative and observational drawing.
You can get your copy of Drawing Made Easy, with Selections from Practical Drawing, the 148 page paperback by E. G. Lutz, here.