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The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw

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An instructional art book in narrative graphic novel form that uses the tale of one aspiring young artist and his reluctant mentor to impart easy-to-follow lessons on the fundamentals of drawing. With over 10 million views and growing, Mark Crilley's YouTube drawing instruction videos have an enormous worldwide legion of fans and have been featured on sites such as Yahoo Ne An instructional art book in narrative graphic novel form that uses the tale of one aspiring young artist and his reluctant mentor to impart easy-to-follow lessons on the fundamentals of drawing. With over 10 million views and growing, Mark Crilley's YouTube drawing instruction videos have an enormous worldwide legion of fans and have been featured on sites such as Yahoo News and Reddit. In addition, Crilley is an accomplished graphic novelist. Now for the first time, he pairs both strengths resulting in a one-of-a-kind art instruction experience. Through the story of aspiring, overeager young artist-in-the-making David and his helpful, but often flustered mentor, Becky, readers gain a grounding in the basics of drawing and rendering, along with a helping of laughs and poignant entertainment. Each lesson builds off the previous, with sidebars at the end of each chapter that direct readers to tackle some of the very same drawing exercises that David has just completed. The sequential art format provides the perfect vehicle for these step-by-step lessons, and the Pixar-esque approach to the surrounding characters and story ensures an enjoyable experience that readers will want to revisit again and again.


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An instructional art book in narrative graphic novel form that uses the tale of one aspiring young artist and his reluctant mentor to impart easy-to-follow lessons on the fundamentals of drawing. With over 10 million views and growing, Mark Crilley's YouTube drawing instruction videos have an enormous worldwide legion of fans and have been featured on sites such as Yahoo Ne An instructional art book in narrative graphic novel form that uses the tale of one aspiring young artist and his reluctant mentor to impart easy-to-follow lessons on the fundamentals of drawing. With over 10 million views and growing, Mark Crilley's YouTube drawing instruction videos have an enormous worldwide legion of fans and have been featured on sites such as Yahoo News and Reddit. In addition, Crilley is an accomplished graphic novelist. Now for the first time, he pairs both strengths resulting in a one-of-a-kind art instruction experience. Through the story of aspiring, overeager young artist-in-the-making David and his helpful, but often flustered mentor, Becky, readers gain a grounding in the basics of drawing and rendering, along with a helping of laughs and poignant entertainment. Each lesson builds off the previous, with sidebars at the end of each chapter that direct readers to tackle some of the very same drawing exercises that David has just completed. The sequential art format provides the perfect vehicle for these step-by-step lessons, and the Pixar-esque approach to the surrounding characters and story ensures an enjoyable experience that readers will want to revisit again and again.

30 review for The Drawing Lesson: A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I am a self taught folk artist. As a kid, I loved to draw, but my art teacher in school didn't like my style and told me I had no talent. If she'd taken the time to work with me , instead of stifling my creative yearnings, the paths I chose in life might have been different. Instead, at nearly 60, I got my first art lessons along with David, from Becky, courtesy of Mark Crilley. It's been a lot of fun. Just in time, too-- my coloring book comes out in October from Tor Books. Imagine if I'd had B I am a self taught folk artist. As a kid, I loved to draw, but my art teacher in school didn't like my style and told me I had no talent. If she'd taken the time to work with me , instead of stifling my creative yearnings, the paths I chose in life might have been different. Instead, at nearly 60, I got my first art lessons along with David, from Becky, courtesy of Mark Crilley. It's been a lot of fun. Just in time, too-- my coloring book comes out in October from Tor Books. Imagine if I'd had Becky's help in the creation of that. Thank you blogging for books and publisher for sending me my copy of this graphic book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lada

    The interpersonal dynamics were weird, but the drawing instruction was great.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    This graphic novel has an interesting premise. Can you take the basics of how to draw, and incorporate them into a story? This book shows that you can. It's a cute story of a young boy who has a passion for drawing, and along the way the reader learns along with him the fundamentals of drawing. This would make a good introduction for young artists.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    An invaluable tool for beginning artists. The story was a little off and the dynamics between these two people wasn't always fun, nor did it always make sense. But this book is worth the reader's time if they want somewhere to start to learn how to draw realistically and learn the basics of composition.

  5. 5 out of 5

    DaNae

    Now I feel like I could draw anything. A book that does what it does, elegantly. A how to draw book coupled with and engaging story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael Galdamez

    Only every once in a while do you come across a book as innovative as this. I have loved drawing for as long as I can remember, making little comic books and copying pictures of characters I loved as a kid (example, my bazillion drawings of Sonic the Hedgehog). I heard about Mark Crilley around 2013 and instantly loved his teaching style. His books and videos have helped me in several ways, so when I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. Mark Crilley really shows off his talent for teach Only every once in a while do you come across a book as innovative as this. I have loved drawing for as long as I can remember, making little comic books and copying pictures of characters I loved as a kid (example, my bazillion drawings of Sonic the Hedgehog). I heard about Mark Crilley around 2013 and instantly loved his teaching style. His books and videos have helped me in several ways, so when I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. Mark Crilley really shows off his talent for teaching, drawing, and writing in The Drawing Lesson. The story, art, and tips are all expertly executed. I think I was most surprised by the story. The two characters, David, a young aspiring artist, and Becky, a middle-aged experienced artist are both very enjoyable to watch interact with each other and see how much David progresses in his ability to draw. David's devotion inspired me. I wanted that to be me. Ultimately, the story is both very fun and real (although, sometimes it would be a little concerning if it was real, like David finding where Becky lives and his semi-stalking her for more lessons. Love it.). Becky's tips throughout the book are extremely helpful, taking basic concepts about shapes, lines, shadows, and even empty spaces, and making it all easy to understand, and most importantly, possible to accomplish. Crilley says in the introduction to the book that its main purpose is to basically turn you into your own mentor. You will be the one to point out your flaws. You will be the one who knows what it's supposed to look like. And you will be the one to force yourself to do it right. I would highly recommend this to any artist no matter where they are in their journey. There's plenty here to enjoy. So here's to picking up that pencil, and pad of paper (and eraser) more often!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    I've spent the past several years teaching 7th/8th/9th graders the basics of drawing. I've worked to distill instruction to the simple and easy-to-understand-and-implement basics. This book takes it all and presents it in a simple, modern, and interesting way. I would eagerly recommend it to any of my students or any kids interested in serious drawing. This book was recommended to me by my school's awesome librarian. Thanks Mrs. Nef!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I really enjoyed this book about a boy, David, being mentored in drawing. As he is taught new concepts the reader is encouraged to try them too. I love the feedback that David is given, as he learns different techniques and works through his mistakes. I think children will get a lot out of this book and I can't wait to share it. I have also now discovered Mark Crilley's Youtube channel and this guy is awesome!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kat Ice

    This was such a great graphic novel and way to learn to draw. Of course you wont have someone to say how well or not your doing but it was still amazingly drawn and written!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dena (Batch of Books)

    What a brilliant way to teach drawing! This isn't like your typical art books for kids where you learn how to draw a horse, a dog, or a lion. It's a graphic novel with a story about David, a boy that wants to learn how to draw. He meets Becky, who reluctantly gives him several drawing lessons and teaches him about proportions, shading, and negative space, among other things. After each lesson, there is a challenge for the reader to complete. I love the approach this book takes. I love the way it What a brilliant way to teach drawing! This isn't like your typical art books for kids where you learn how to draw a horse, a dog, or a lion. It's a graphic novel with a story about David, a boy that wants to learn how to draw. He meets Becky, who reluctantly gives him several drawing lessons and teaches him about proportions, shading, and negative space, among other things. After each lesson, there is a challenge for the reader to complete. I love the approach this book takes. I love the way it doesn't follow the same format as other art instruction books. It's informative and well planned out. The art instruction is well written and because it's completely illustrated, easy to understand. While this isn't a comprehensive book about drawing (things like perspective and concave lines aren't addressed), it's a fantastic starting point. Kids and adults that are jumping into the fray will find this helpful and entertaining guidance. It's very similar to a real art lesson where the teacher instructs, corrects, and critiques your work. Highly recommended for budding artists ages 8 and up (Miss K loves it!) Content: Clean Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My blog: Batch of Books

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    Another descriptive title. A young boy, David, who really wants to learn how to draw, by chance encounters Becky, a young woman who agrees to teach him. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of drawing basics, and ends with suggested exercises for readers to try. I'll confess that I didn't actually try any of these myself, but they seem sound enough. I'm content with my passable doodling skills, and feel no burning desire to better them--seems like it would cut into my reading time, for one Another descriptive title. A young boy, David, who really wants to learn how to draw, by chance encounters Becky, a young woman who agrees to teach him. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of drawing basics, and ends with suggested exercises for readers to try. I'll confess that I didn't actually try any of these myself, but they seem sound enough. I'm content with my passable doodling skills, and feel no burning desire to better them--seems like it would cut into my reading time, for one thing--but I would think anyone who followed Crilley's suggested lessons would see a marked increase in the quality of their drawing skills. I like the idea of telling the drawing lessons in comics form. I've been a fan of Crilley's work since the beginning of his Akiko series many years ago. There's a warmth and simplicity to his style that I find appealing, and he's good with slightly exasperated characters. I liked the relationship between David and Becky, how she finds him annoyingly over enthusiastic at first, but warms to him over the course of the lessons. This was a fun book and an interesting concept as well. Recommended!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I was very impressed with this new approach to drawing lessons. Fresh and different there is a lot to learn. There are several "Chapters" touching on subjects such as: Shading, Using Negative Space, Checking Proportions, Simplifying Things, and more. Seeing the examples and poor David's frustration at constantly having to redraw lines, helps me feel a little more normal in my artwork. I love the interaction between teacher and student. David's eagerness to learn and study...And his teacher's gui I was very impressed with this new approach to drawing lessons. Fresh and different there is a lot to learn. There are several "Chapters" touching on subjects such as: Shading, Using Negative Space, Checking Proportions, Simplifying Things, and more. Seeing the examples and poor David's frustration at constantly having to redraw lines, helps me feel a little more normal in my artwork. I love the interaction between teacher and student. David's eagerness to learn and study...And his teacher's guiding hand, bringing him back to earth. I recommend this book for those who have a basic concept of drawing, but would like to learn more. Have fun with it, and remember, art is NOT like math! I received a free copy of The Drawing Lesson through Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Renae McBrian

    I received this book from Penguin Random House (via Blogging for Books) in exchange for an honest review. This book is actually pretty cool. I'm artistically challenged and this book starts with the very basics and work its way through some rudimentary drawing skills in a way that my brain can process. I can't say that it actually worked, because I'm pretty sure the ever-learning-to-draw ship has sailed, but I'm keeping it around for my kids for later.

  14. 5 out of 5

    B.A. Williamson

    WHOAH! a good plot, and really solid lessons in art technique and more importantly, mindset. I want 30 of these for my classroom.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Despite the fact that I am well into adulthood, I never felt like I got much past kindergarten level regarding art. I felt totally at home jumping into all things theatrical, but put a drawing pencil in my hand– and I felt woefully underprepared. So when I saw the title of Mark Crilley’s book THE DRAWING LESSON, and the fact that it was a graphic novel, I was intrigued. Perhaps I could learn something about drawing in an easy, fun way. The book did not disappoint. It provides a bunch of lessons a Despite the fact that I am well into adulthood, I never felt like I got much past kindergarten level regarding art. I felt totally at home jumping into all things theatrical, but put a drawing pencil in my hand– and I felt woefully underprepared. So when I saw the title of Mark Crilley’s book THE DRAWING LESSON, and the fact that it was a graphic novel, I was intrigued. Perhaps I could learn something about drawing in an easy, fun way. The book did not disappoint. It provides a bunch of lessons about skills to think about and develop when drawing, with one focused lesson per chapter. These lessons include shading, negative space, creating a composition, checking proportions, and others. This is all taught within the graphic novel plot of a little boy eagerly seeking lessons from an artist name Becky whom he meets by chance. The plot mostly serves as a medium for the lessons to be taught to the boy (and the reader), but it is still a touching little story. This book would be a great gift for a kid, but honestly– it’s great for anyone who wants to draw but feels intimidated by how much they don’t know. Mark Crilley’s passion for the subject and compassion for the reader are highly evident in this whimsically drawn and educational graphic novel.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    Crilley, Mark The Drawing Lesson : A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw, 167 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL Watson-Guptill, 2016. $19. Langage: G (0 swears, 0 ‘f’) Mature Content: G Violence: G Davis loves to draw but admits he isn't very good. One day, while in the park, he watches a woman drawing and convinces her to give him a drawing lesson. The lessons continue (despite her attempts to avoid him) and David gets better and better. He learns about shading, sketching, light and shadow, using neg Crilley, Mark The Drawing Lesson : A Graphic Novel That Teaches You How to Draw, 167 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL Watson-Guptill, 2016. $19. Langage: G (0 swears, 0 ‘f’) Mature Content: G Violence: G Davis loves to draw but admits he isn't very good. One day, while in the park, he watches a woman drawing and convinces her to give him a drawing lesson. The lessons continue (despite her attempts to avoid him) and David gets better and better. He learns about shading, sketching, light and shadow, using negative space, proportions, compositions and many other techniques artists use. This book really is a drawing lesson. Although it is set up as a story about a boy finding a mentor, it's really a step by step instruction book teaching you how to draw. At the conclusion of each lesson, the reader is invited to try what they have just learned. So simple, this book is inspiring. In the artist's forward, Crilley talk about needing mentors, and that some people don't have access to them - this book does the trick. David is young - he talks about a 5th grade friend who can draw a Ferrari. Elementary or middle school students will love this. EL, MS - ESSENTIAL Lisa Librarian https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2018...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    Panel by panel, this graphic novel leads its budding artist and the reader through the ins and outs of rendering pictures with pencil. The lessons are easy to follow for children and the lessons are much as I remember from my own youth. At first, I wasn’t quite on board with the story. The kid is a nosy, intrusive, inconsiderate stalker. Yikes! I kept waiting for Rebecca to point out to David how potentially dangerous his behavior is: approaching a stranger in a park, following her home and comin Panel by panel, this graphic novel leads its budding artist and the reader through the ins and outs of rendering pictures with pencil. The lessons are easy to follow for children and the lessons are much as I remember from my own youth. At first, I wasn’t quite on board with the story. The kid is a nosy, intrusive, inconsiderate stalker. Yikes! I kept waiting for Rebecca to point out to David how potentially dangerous his behavior is: approaching a stranger in a park, following her home and coming to her in the early morning before any of the neighbors are awake. (Seriously, David is just asking to have his picture put up on posters along with the caption “Have you seen this child?”) However, he won me over to him. David is eager and willing to learn how to draw. His fierce dedication, definite talent and improvement throughout the story and the growing affection between him and his often exasperated but always encouraging tutor are as heartwarming as the lessons given. The illustrations with their sepia tones provide terrific complements to a story about pencil drawing. If you want to learn to draw or know a kid who does, this is the perfect gift to give. Modern teens who like manga and graphic novels will cotton to it, too.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Davis loves to draw but admits he isn't very good. One day, while in the park, he watches a woman drawing and convinces her to give him a drawing lesson. The lessons continue (despite her attempts to avoid him) and David gets better and better. He learns about shading, sketching, light and shadow, using negative space, proportions, compositions and many other techniques artists use. This book really is a drawing lesson. Although it is set up as a story about a boy finding a mentor, it's really a Davis loves to draw but admits he isn't very good. One day, while in the park, he watches a woman drawing and convinces her to give him a drawing lesson. The lessons continue (despite her attempts to avoid him) and David gets better and better. He learns about shading, sketching, light and shadow, using negative space, proportions, compositions and many other techniques artists use. This book really is a drawing lesson. Although it is set up as a story about a boy finding a mentor, it's really a step by step instruction book teaching you how to draw. At the conclusion of each lesson, the reader is invited to try what they have just learned. So simple, this book is inspiring. In the artist's forward, Crilley talk about needing mentors, and that some people don't have access to them - this book does the trick. David is young - he talks about a 5th grade friend who can draw a Ferrari. Elementary or middle school students will love this. Cross posted to http://kissthebook.blogspot.com CHECK IT OUT!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Myra

    Graphic novel by well-known graphic novelist Mark Crilley. I have to admit a high degree of skepticism when I picked up this graphic novel claiming to teach drawing, especially after a very quick flip-through at the library. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased once I read it. Is this a comprehensive how-to guide on drawing from A to Z? No. Many topics are not even addressed (for example, foreshortening, perspective, different media, etc.). But this book does a really good job at teaching some Graphic novel by well-known graphic novelist Mark Crilley. I have to admit a high degree of skepticism when I picked up this graphic novel claiming to teach drawing, especially after a very quick flip-through at the library. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased once I read it. Is this a comprehensive how-to guide on drawing from A to Z? No. Many topics are not even addressed (for example, foreshortening, perspective, different media, etc.). But this book does a really good job at teaching some of the basics - being observant, using negative space, using reference points, shading, etc. And the style of the book makes it very non-threatening and approachable. I will note that both of the characters in the book rather annoyed me, David in particular. They are both a bit moody and over-dramatic.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Venkatesh-Prasad

    I got this for my kids and they are really liking it; of course, I too finished it in one sitting :) The comic format makes the exposition enticing to kids. The embedded instruction is very accessible as it uses simple language and concepts (w/ very little or no math and technical jargon). While chapters cover topics such as proportion, shading, and composition, they do so at a basic level. The end of each chapter has short exercises. That said, it is not a book to master drawing skills, which r I got this for my kids and they are really liking it; of course, I too finished it in one sitting :) The comic format makes the exposition enticing to kids. The embedded instruction is very accessible as it uses simple language and concepts (w/ very little or no math and technical jargon). While chapters cover topics such as proportion, shading, and composition, they do so at a basic level. The end of each chapter has short exercises. That said, it is not a book to master drawing skills, which requires loads of practice. This is an excellent introduction to drawing; specifically, pre-teen kids.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Niki

    "The Drawing Lesson" is a creative graphic novel that provides drawing instruction. It is both non-fiction and fiction! Young aspiring artist, David, meets Becky in the park one day and pesters her into giving him drawing lessons. The details of the drawing lessons re included, so the reader is also receiving the mentor's instructions. I think the dynamics between David and Becky are a bit odd, but overall this is a great graphic novel. I recommend this book for classroom and school libraries ser "The Drawing Lesson" is a creative graphic novel that provides drawing instruction. It is both non-fiction and fiction! Young aspiring artist, David, meets Becky in the park one day and pesters her into giving him drawing lessons. The details of the drawing lessons re included, so the reader is also receiving the mentor's instructions. I think the dynamics between David and Becky are a bit odd, but overall this is a great graphic novel. I recommend this book for classroom and school libraries serving students grades 3 through 8. (Perhaps adults too!) I also think it would be a great book for children who are interested in drawing to personally own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deltora

    man I wish I'd found this book when I was a kid. as someone who struggled with reading, I always gravitated towards graphic novels and comic books, less words and so many visual aides. and a lot of kids, including myself, who read stuff like that, often dream of drawing their own. so finding this, an easy to read graphic novel that actually teaches you how to draw? this is fantastic. if there is a child in your life(or adult) that is interested in learning to draw but all those think "drawing foe man I wish I'd found this book when I was a kid. as someone who struggled with reading, I always gravitated towards graphic novels and comic books, less words and so many visual aides. and a lot of kids, including myself, who read stuff like that, often dream of drawing their own. so finding this, an easy to read graphic novel that actually teaches you how to draw? this is fantastic. if there is a child in your life(or adult) that is interested in learning to draw but all those think "drawing foe dummies" books are a bit intimidating, tell them about this book, maybe this is what they've been looking for.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    The lessons on how to draw were excellent. I was turned off by the grumpiness of the teacher & David seemed to be in a nearly perpetually bad mood, too. I was confused by whether this is suppose to be a book to teach people how to draw or a coming of age story about a boy so passionate in his desire to become an artist that he imprints on the first artist he sees and demands to be their student. I got much out of the book about how to see, but the characters got in the way of the lessons. The au The lessons on how to draw were excellent. I was turned off by the grumpiness of the teacher & David seemed to be in a nearly perpetually bad mood, too. I was confused by whether this is suppose to be a book to teach people how to draw or a coming of age story about a boy so passionate in his desire to become an artist that he imprints on the first artist he sees and demands to be their student. I got much out of the book about how to see, but the characters got in the way of the lessons. The author does have a YA series about a young girl that looks engaging.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alix

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is like no other graphic novel I’ve ever read. Not only is this a guide, but it’s also in story form which makes it so creative and interesting! I love how the illustrators show each and every change/improvements on the boy’s drawings as concepts after concepts is slowly introduced. I especially love the ending where the little boy grows up and ends up teaching another little boy the same first lesson he received when he was younger. It reminds me of the fact that anyone can learn to d This book is like no other graphic novel I’ve ever read. Not only is this a guide, but it’s also in story form which makes it so creative and interesting! I love how the illustrators show each and every change/improvements on the boy’s drawings as concepts after concepts is slowly introduced. I especially love the ending where the little boy grows up and ends up teaching another little boy the same first lesson he received when he was younger. It reminds me of the fact that anyone can learn to do amazing works, as long as you have the strong will to fulfill it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    What a cute way to convey basic drawing principles for burgeoning artists! There's an actual story that comes full circle to go along with the basic principles that each chapter covers. Crilley does an excellent job of distilling the basics of drawing and explaining them in clear, easy to understand terms. I particularly liked how each chapter ends with a task for the reader to complete and practice what the chapter taught.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sherri

    Great introduction to drawing for kids. I got this for my son who loves comics and who loves to draw. It covers all the basics of drawing in a way kids will understand. The novel itself is a wonderful example of beautiful shapes, lines, and composition. The overall plot isn’t very dynamic, but that isn’t the point of the book so the story line was a bit boring but easy to follow.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kristie

    I'm not a huge fan of graphic novels, but I enjoyed this one. It is a very fast read. It took less than an hour to read the story, but if you paused to practice the art techniques being taught, you would spend more time on it. I thought the story was fun and and the art instruction was simple and interesting. I'm not really an artist, but I might actually try some techniques discussed to see what I can do.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Beagley

    You can’t teach every skill in a slender book with a story... but you can teach a few. And practice and will are the most important lessons. The drawing lessons were good, and often quite subtle—and the real power was in portraying individuals practicing hard to achieve what they care about. “I used to mostly play video games, now I just draw all the time”— it’s corny, but in context you believe it and you care.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a fun way to learn some basic drawing techniques. This is especially true if you like graphic books. Although advance users of art will find this book a bit too simplistic, I really enjoyed the book and pick it up from time to time to do some of the instructions. This would be great for kids or those that like comic style that want to learn how to draw - very creative to hone your drawing skills.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brian Clopper

    Picture perfect drawing book for the young cartoonist. Crilley’s art is engaging and lesson progress naturally. If I had this when I was ten or eleven, I would’ve had it by my side all summer and drawing up a storm. A great gift idea for a son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandson, or granddaughter who has the drawing bug.

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