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Book Reviews

The Jumbo Book of Art

by Irene Luxbacher

Kids Can Press succeeds again with The Jumbo Book of Art. Written and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher (a member of Toronto’s Avenue Road Arts School), this artistic adventure assures readers that if they have an imagination, they can be an artist. This compendium of about 100 projects will instill confidence in would-be painters and sculptors.

Four main sections (Drawing Out Your Ideas, Creating with Colour, Transforming Ideas into Sculpture, and Mixing Up Your Media) are subdivided into individual projects or exercises that promote creativity as well as an understanding of artistic techniques. Each project has its own introduction, a list of the required artist’s tools, and numbered procedures (illustrated in colour) that show the desired effect or concept. Measurements are given in imperial and metric, and safety precautions are included when necessary. Luxbacher frequently exhorts readers to follow their own whims to completely individualize each project. The book is designed so that readers can carry their newly honed skills from one creative endeavour to the next.

For those who think art is “uncool,” there are plenty of projects unusual enough to catch the eye of even the most jaded art student – such as making a portrait of the inside of your body, a whole-body dance puppet, or a mobile of your DNA. But the basics are covered, too – perspective, the colour wheel, making a face map, and priming a surface for painting. What is appealing is the grand scale of some of Luxbacher’s suggestions – creating murals, magic carpets, stained glass windows. The message here is that art truly is a personal adventure. It’s a great selection for public and school libraries, and for anyone who works with children. A glossary and index are included.