This month I’ll be reviewing a book I got in the summer; ‘Illustration Workshop’ by Mary Kate McDeritt.
Full title: Illustration Workshop: Find your style, practice drawing skills, and build a stellar portfolio.
About: Written/compiled by American illustrator Mary Kate McDevitt, this appealing book guides you into the world of illustration. From the very first page you’re encouraged to get creative (literally – your first activity is to write your name and draw yourself) offering practical information on the industry, materials illustrators use, small warm-up activities and whole guided projects.
- The layout – it’s fair to say this book is very aesthetically pleasing; with bright colours, illustrations throughout and interesting typography. The book itself is a piece of illustration work! It also breaks things down into sections making it easy to follow.
- The writing style – The language and tone of the book appeals to ‘everyday’ people which makes it accessible to even beginners in the field of illustration. Everything is explained well without any hint of pretentiousness.
- The activities range from small to large projects meaning if you have just 5 minutes to fill there’s something for you, if you have 5 hours to fill, there’s also something for you.
- Projects are guided and go through a process. You follow each section of the project so you’re never left wondering where to go next. If your imagination seems to be having a day off, there are activities within each project to get your creative juices flowing, such as questions (‘who is your target audience?’) and a section for a spider diagram.
- In addition to the mini activities within each project there’s also some visual inspiration, which is great for those of us who think more visually.
- The book can be picked up very reasonably online
- It’s a fun way of developing your illustration skills
The maybe not so good
- If you’re from UK you’ll be aware that the book is American. There’ll be minor spelling/terminology differences
- The information provided about working as an illustrator is limited. It’s a good introduction but this book isn’t for in-depth explanation
So is it worth it?
In my opinion I love this book! It was affordable, pleasing to look at (I’m a very visual person) and gave my need to practice my illustration skills/develop my style a direction. It can be hard to pull a project idea out of the air, which is why this book is so useful. I like the honesty with which McDermitt writes and the personal edge she gives it. The projects are engaging and the small warm-ups very unique! I’d recommend this book to anyone looking to develop their illustration skills, especially if they feel they need more direction.