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Learning to Draw

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19.08.2007

Advantages:
Step by step guide, lots of ideas

Disadvantages:
Some of the artwork is too intricate for under 5s .

Recommendable Yes:

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38 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
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۩۩۩ Introduction ۩۩۩

Having been delighted with a couple of other Usborne Activities books relating to things to ‘make and do’ I was expecting to be just as pleased with some of the ‘How to Draw’ Usborne Activity books that I bought for my niece who is a huge fan of everything to do with princesses, fairies and mermaids.

۩۩۩ The book ۩۩۩

At the beginning of the book as you would expect there is a Contents page which is very easy to use.
As with the majority of books in this series, there are 17 things to make, which I have listed below:
~ Simple fairies
~ Moonlight fairies
~ Flying fairies
~ Fairy flower garden
~ Fairy cakes
~ Love-heart fairies
~ Rainy day fairies
~ Dancing fairies
~ Fairy Queen
~ Fairy paperchain
~ Mermaids on rocks
~ Diving mermaids
~ Mermaid’s tea party
~ Mermaids with silver tails
~ Wave jumping
~ Mermaid door sign
~ Faces and hairstyles

In the centre of the book there is a double page spread of topic related stickers (150 stickers) that can are easily peeled off and either used on the ‘makes’ for the things in this book or just generally stuck on anywhere and quite honestly anything! These range from princesses, mermaids, stars, crabs, fish, flowers, hearts, shells etc

Most of the craft activities take up a double page spread. There are drawings of the finished item which in my experience looks a whole lot neater than the ones a 3-5 year old can make but it gives a great idea to the child and more importantly the not-so arty adult, as to what it should look like!

Each activity is very, very simply explained in step-by-step, numbered sections with an accompanying drawing of most of the stages, which I found to be really useful for both of us.

۩۩۩ Resources that you will need ۩۩۩

Anyone with children in the house will already have many of the resources needed to make the fairies and mermaids and if you don’t the items listed don’t cost too much money:
~ paint and paintbrushes
~ felt tip pens
~ pencils
~ chalk
~ different coloured paper
~ tissue paper
~ pictures of flowers (we used floral wrapping paper)
~ gold pen
~ silver foil and a cheese grater. Sounds a tad odd but the grater gives a great dimpled effect on the silver foil for the mermaid’s tail!
~ kitchen roll


♥♥♥ Our thoughts on the book and activities ♥♥♥

Adult help is dependent upon the age of the child. Up to approximately 7 and I still help with the more ‘fiddly’ aspects of making some of the things, e.g. rubbing the silver foil over the cheese grater, cutting out the flowers from wrapping paper. Although the vast majority of the drawing can and should be done by the child.

I have been a fan of Usborne activity books for many years as they often offer new and exciting art and craft activities for the not so arty adults like me. However I felt that the drawings were often too intricate and detailed for the under 6 age group. The step by step guide of what to draw and how to draw it is helpful but the drawings although initially look quite child-like and simple aren’t that easy for young children to copy from (unless they are particularly artistically gifted!) and are quite obviously done by adults.

Although pleased with her efforts my niece sometimes became a little frustrated when she said that hers didn’t look as good or pretty as the ones in the book. Obviously praise was given etc but I’m not overly keen on very young children being disappointed in their own artwork when the activity should in fact be fun!

Saying that, she has had lots of pleasure in making many of the simpler fairies and mermaids and more so with the stickers which she has used to create underwater scenes etc.
The book gives helpful little tips on how to extend your artwork, for example for the diving mermaids they suggest that you paint some natural shells and glue them on to the page, add little crowns to fairies by cutting out foil.
It also gave both of us some helpful tips on drawing, I include myself as I am a self-confessed hopeless artist!
~ draw curved lines beside your fairy to make her look as if she is moving.
~ how to draw a profile of a flying fairy, where to put each arm and add only one eye. This is handy as so many young children add to eyes even when it’s a profile of a face.
~ how to make the fairy look as if she is looking up or down by changing the positioning of the eyes, mouth and nose.

These may sound very simple tips to adults who can draw but for children it’s really helpful and good techniques to acquire.


۩۩۩ Price ۩۩۩

The paperback version that I bought, ISBN: 0 7460 6361 X was £4.99. However on Amazon they are available from just £1.10 just in to account P&P charges.

۩۩۩ Usborne Activities Books ۩۩۩

Usborne have a huge range of activity books available. They have a wide range of ‘make and do’ activity books but not as many ‘How to Draw’ books, the titles of which I have listed below:

How to draw……
~ Princesses and Mermaids
~ Animals
~ Trucks and Tractors
~ Dinosaurs
~ Christmas

۩۩۩ Final Thoughts ۩۩۩

Most Usborne Activities books are a great buy for any adult who is looking for inspiration in fun arts and crafts activities.
This is a lovely book for any child who is mad about fairies and mermaids. Despite the little gripe I mentioned earlier in the review, it would make a lovely gift for a 5-8 year old if you don’t want to break the bank!

I have added some photos. The photos will hopefully give you a good idea of the way each activity is displayed and the types of things that are on offer to make.

P.S. Ignore the specific criteria as they don't apply to this book as it isn't a fiction book!
Pictures of How to Draw Fairies and Mermaids - Fiona Watt
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Comments about this review »

missy0303 01.09.2007 00:02

I love Usborne books too....my daughter would love this one, we have a few similar already x

KatieFizz 24.08.2007 19:48

Oh it looks so cute! x

little_red_hen 20.08.2007 23:45

Nice review. Karen x

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Product details

Type Fiction
Genre Children's
Title How to Draw Fairies and Mermaids
Author Fiona Watt
ISBN 0794509193
EAN 9780794509194

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This review of How to Draw Fairies and Mermaids - Fiona Watt has been rated:

"exceptional" by (1%):

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"very helpful" by (97%):

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