21 Draw started as a crowdfunding campaign in May of 2014 and went on to become a very successful indiegogo project. It’s a book that’s supposed to “solve all your art problems.” By making that claim before the book was published, the authors of the book set themselves up for failure. There’s no way they could deliver on that promise.
I received my copy a few days ago, and although 21 Draw is not a bad art book, it won’t solve all your art problems. However, it does do a couple of things really well.
What’s in the book?
The concept behind 21 Draw is very simple. One hundred artists were given a prompt like ‘anti-hero’, ‘priestess’, or ‘swamp monster’ and asked to fill a few pages with drawings. Each artist takes up two pages with three portraits, five figure poses, and two or three hands. A handful of artists include brief ‘tutorials’ with their drawings but there’s not enough space for anything substantial.
There’s a very diverse array of styles on display which, depending on your taste, can be good or bad. I think most people will end up picking their favorites to study and ignore the rest.
What’s it for?
As stated in the introduction of the book, the goal of 21 Draw is provide lots of high quality reference material to copy from. It’s sort of like the Charles Bargue drawing course, if Charles Bargue was a 21st century character designer instead of a 19th century academic painter.
Like I mentioned, there are some tutorials, but they amount to short blurbs of what the artist was thinking at each stage in the process. Not too insightful, but they do occasionally point out something that may otherwise have been missed.
If you’re looking for a book full of awesome drawings by a really talented group of designers, illustrators, comic artists, and animators, 21 Draw is a great buy. You can use it to copy and study the drawings and hone your skills.
It works well as an ‘art of’ type of book as well. If your a fan of the artists featured in the book you should check it out. There’s enough content in the book that you will probably discover something new.
Where to get it
For those who didn’t fund the indiegogo campaign and would like a copy, you can purchase the book at http://www.21-draw.com