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Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun
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Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  6,574 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Carla Sonheim is an artist and creativity workshop instructor known for her fun and innovative projects and techniques designed to help adult students recover a more spontaneous, playful approach to creating.

Her innovative ideas are now collected and elaborated on in this unique volume. Carla offers a year's worth of assignments, projects, ideas, and techniques that will
Paperback, 144 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Quarry Books
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Shelli From Amazon, your local bookstore, or the library? You know, the usual way one gets books.

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  6,574 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book! For a book only 144 pgs, it packs a lot of punch. Milage may vary, but she presents art in such a fun way, I am impressed. It would be a lovely gift to an artist along with keri smith's "wreck this journal. " Not all art has to be serious-- and as a senior art student myself, I can attest that a number of her prompts have been used in my art classes and even some other art books. So some of that information is not new, but it is presented in a brilliant way, for any age group. (I w ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
52 rock solid fun and creative assignments, projects and exercises that will take the visual artist's creativity to new levels. For all skill levels. A fun reference manual with a year's worth of work.
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I strongly recommend this book; I remember wondering if art was going to be the major for me, when my entire freshmen year - was spent drawing cardboard boxes to learn about perspective, scale and the basics of drawing. I was so frustrated because it was a general education elective, but I was way beyond what we were learning and that class almost made me drop my major then and there. I constantly broke rules and stretched the boundaries of my assignments - while my teacher praised the creativit ...more
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recently got this on Kindle to read on vacation, and devoured it. Glad I spent the 40 minutes I did browsing the Kindle store, this was exactly the book I was looking for; full of practical exercises for that help to free up the creativity and to hone the skills. Fun without being overly silly, technical without being dry.
Flower Edmiston
Jan 17, 2012 rated it liked it
A gift from my mom, with lots of neat ideas... I have a feeling this is going to be on my desk and in my bag for awhile to come!

My favorite quote so far:
"Research has shown that doodling in meetings actually helps you pay better attention, as it keeps your brain occupied just enough to keep you from daydreaming and missing the content of the meeting altogether. Thank goodness, you now have a scientific reason to doodle!" p. 92
Sarah Yasin
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
lots of info on techniques - stands out from other books with art prompts
Nicole Mosley
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book with useful drawing exercises to challenge yourself to get away from your habits.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I might have to go buy this book because I just keep checking it out of the library in order to do more of the exercises. It's not a book I'll ever "finish"!
Gina Lento
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love Carla’s books/classes and this one is awesome. It’s chock full of ideas and it’s a handy book when trying to remember something I learned in class or thumbing through for ideas if I am stuck for ideas. It’s quirky, original and some of my most original art comes from something I learned from Carla.

One piece if advice....if you start a project from the book, keep taking it to the next level. You will be amazed where it takes you creatively.
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is what got me back into creating art again, after over a ten year hiatus. I'm a perfectonist who agonizes over everything I do. These exercises reminded me that art is not about perfection, and as the wise Bob Ross would say, there's no mistakes, only happy accidents. The carefree, creative style of these exercises got me to relax and trust that not only is my best good enough, but that letting my own style come out is a great thing. Recommended for anyone who needs a push!
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun and inspiring :)
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun, fun, fun

So many choices that you’re sure to find something you’d want to draw or a project to begin. No pressure, not a lot of rules but yet some structure to guide you.
Korie Brown
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lots of amazing ideas!
Lydia G
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
I had expected more. Much more.
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: artsy-how-to
I had originally checked this book out of the library because I'm participating in "Art Journal Every Day" this year, and used some of the exercises for inspiration in my journal. I liked it enough to put it on my Amazon wish list and my dear friend Madeleine sent it for my birthday! If you are an absolute beginner in drawing or do not feel confident in your drawing skills, I would recommend looking at all the exercises first and starting out with the blind-contour drawings or projects inspired ...more
Apr 14, 2016 rated it liked it
A collection of art assignments/projects inspired by a number of sources: nature, children, other artists, etc. Most of them didn't inspire me too much, but a few sparked my interest. I could see this being fun for someone who wants to draw but isn't sure how to approach it or what medium they might be happiest using, as these projects encompass a wide range of techniques and ideas and materials. Not something I'll come back to again, but certainly worth a quick flip-through if you're looking fo ...more
This book is incredibly well designed - a nice summary of 52 drawing based exercises that are appropriate for artists of all levels. Furthermore, the straightforward approach is well illustrated and appointed. At least 1/2 of these exercises I will incorporate into various lessons for both children and adult classes - the content is that applicable! Love this book and have added the other 2 in the series, collage and print & stamp lab, to my to-read list. ...more
Barbara K.
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I just received it yesterday and have already been through it once, done the first exercise, and can't wait to continue.

I'm not an artist, I'm a wannabe artist, and I am always getting ideas that I don't have the drawing ability to carry through, so this will be great exercise, and inspiring enough to get me practicing more regularly. Besides that, it's visually appealing and fun. I highly recommend this book.
Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: craft-reference
Provided I can pay attention long enough to complete the exercises given, this book is extremely entertaining! There are step by step instructions for each of the 50 drawing techniques and each one is fun, straight-forward and provides and chance to use your imagination. This book provides a way to feed a dying muse or to try something new in a safe and comfortable atmosphere.
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book offers lots of inspiration. I love the exercises she provides, suggested materials to use, as well as extension ideas to stretch yourself farther. I also like the many quotations from famous artists as well as biography and, sometimes, interviews with featured artists. I feel like the exercises in this book will stretch me beyond my comfort zone...which is good for growth.
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I pored over the pages, reading some more than once. I have even done several of the exercises - some with my 6-year-old daughter. I loved this book! I would love to get one for Christmas. I still have it on loan from the library, but I would like to have this one in my permanent collection. Great book.
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: handcrafts
An interesting but not entirely useful look at drawing. I should have looked more closely at the cover before I checked it out--see that 'mixed media artists' at the bottom? I'm not interested in mixed media so quite a few of the exercises were of no use to me. There were a few others though (mostly about loosening up--ha!) that were a lot of fun.
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites. Loved the exercises. You may find them in seious how to draw books, but not like this. My favorite part about this book was the idea that the sketches you start out with do njot have to be good. The fun lies in making something out of these bad sketches. This book will bring back the fun in drawing. It worked for me.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have only seen the Art Lab for kids books from this publisher. I thought the exercises would include instructions for beginners, with the steps for how to prep and execute the examples. These exercises serve to inspire those who already practiced in mixed media. However, as a beginner, I couldn't understand how to do most of these projects, only admire the results shown.
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I haven't gotten started DOING anything from this book yet, but myohmy...I can't wait!!! What gorgeous, exciting, and do-able projects/practice of the few artbooks worth its weight in gold!
S. Renee
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
awesome book for anyone who wants to draw a bit-from the serious artist to the crafty to the doodler.... My son's school has cut their art program and I plan to use some of the exercises in this book with him-hoping he will love it too. I will be looking up other books in this series.
LA Smith
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm diving in to this book with the aim of improving my confidence with my own drawing skills. There are many great projects and suggestions. I think this one will become a go-to inspiration source for years to come.
Kate Davis
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Lots of fun ways to loosen up about drawing and art-making! She really strives to make it about having fun while leaving our mark - and does a good job. Something I'll definitely need to dive into more when the rest of life is a little calmer.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
There were several new and creative ideas I gleaned from this book. I am not a frequent draw-er so I appreciated the myriad of ideas and most of them were to help people like me---the non-expert! Got this book from my local library. Not sure I would pay the money to buy it.
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've checked this book out of the library twice. The exercises are great! I've never really made it through the second week, but I think I'd like to buy this book at some point, and then I can practice drawing.
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