'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 26 July 2023

Review: How To Draw The Gruffalo And Friends

There are two types of people in this world: those who draw in books, and those who don’t. For those who don’t, it is often sacrilege to take pen, pencil or any form of marker to the pages of a book and intentionally deface them. For those who do, this book is the absolute bee’s knees and then some!

How To Draw The Gruffalo And Friends features all your favourite characters, and celebrates 30 years of stories from much loved duo, author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Alex Scheffler. The clarity of information and sense of ease around drawing pictures inside this step-by-step instructional book, are both really wonderful.

The book breaks characters down into simple lines on the page. Anybody can draw these characters. You don’t even have to be particularly artistic! The ‘lines’ and the directions that come with them are very accessible, bite-sized chunks of activity which are totally do-able for artists (and non-artists) of all levels and abilities.

There is not a lot of room for the ‘I can’t draw’ brigade because the book shows, very clearly and logically, that you definitely can. Indeed, with the help of this book, drawing the Gruffalo and all manner of other strange and wonderful creatures comes down to being able to follow instructions. Have you heard the saying if you can read, you can cook?  It’s just like that – but substituting the word cook with draw!

For instance, you draw a small line angling down this way. And then you add a rounded part like this. And then follow the path up here. And so on, until pretty soon – you’ve drawn a Gruffalo whether you meant it or not!

Friendly, welcoming, reassuring and interesting, the book also has bonus tips on every page around everything from character development to cover design, which are a fascinating peek-a-boo into the mind and skillset of the artist.

Touted as being for children, I have a sneaking suspicion that like adult colouring books and choose-your-own-adventure drawings, How To Draw The Gruffalo And Friends will comfortably take its place on coffee tables and in waiting rooms, as well as on school desks and beside bunk-beds.

As a child, I would have loved and devoured this book – and as an adult I think it’s fabulous. Although I confess that I haven’t drawn in my personal copy.


Title: How To Draw The Gruffalo And Friends
Author: Alex Scheffler
Publisher: Macmillan, $19.99
Publication Date: 9 May 2023
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781035001491
For ages: 3 +