When you spend as much time reading about contemporary illustration as I do, you’ll notice that the name Andrew Loomis appears again and again when artists are asked to reveal their sources of inspiration. In particular, the comic book artists Dave Stevens, Steve Rude and Alex Ross all reference Loomis’ books as a major influence on their approach to drawing, with the books Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth and Creative Illustration listed as essential reading. Long out of print, these were once hard to come by, commanding prices in the hundreds of dollars wherever you were lucky enough to find them. Thankfully, over the last year or so, Titan Books have served the illustration community with a complete set of quality re-prints ending with I’d Love to Draw!
Andrew Loomis (1892-1959) was a prolific illustrator working in what’s often referred to as the American Golden-Age, creating advertising and magazine illustration alongside the likes of celebrity artists Norman Rockwell, Robert Fawcett and Albert Dorne, who also established the Famous Artists Course – a popular mail order art study course featuring the leading artists of the day.
I’d Love to Draw! is Loomis’ unfinished project from 1951, intended as light-hearted introduction to the fundamentals of observation, construction with shapes, perspective, figure drawing and composition. Previously unseen outside of the Loomis estate, the Marvel and DC artist Alex Ross has brilliantly completed the book adding his own notes and commentary to a facsimile of the original working draft. A brief look through Ross’ own book Mythology reveals just how fundamental Loomis’ teachings are to his own work, with character designs and model sheets resembling pages straight from Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth.
This “lost” book is indeed a light read compared to Loomis’ more thorough work, but that’s almost certainly by design. This is squarely aimed at the beginner, or those just looking cultivate a burgeoning desire to grab some pencils, sketch and have some fun – while picking up some solid theory along the way. Much of the content is familiar to that contained in Fun With a Pencil, and the roughness of the drawings and areas left with hand-written notes promising of what might come betray it’s unfinished state. Ross undoubtably understands Loomis’ style better than most, and his contributions are sympathetic and fill most of the gaps, but this, I suspect is a book for the completist. For a more comprehensive art instruction you’ll not find any better than Creative Illustration, and once your own work has benefited from it, you’ll be a Andrew Loomis completist too.
I’d Love to Draw! By Andrew Loomis and Alex Ross
Hardback 128 pages
30.5 x 23.4 x 2 cm
Many thanks to Titan Books for providing the following photos of Andrew Loomis’ very own draft copy of I’d Love to Draw!