A Tale of Two Books: Dodson, Lowe, and a New Direction

Originally published on February 12th, 2016, at SharondaWoodfin.net.
Edited February 16, 2016.
Edited February 25th, 2016.
Edited and republished at Sharonda.net on March 8th, 2017.
Added to SMWoodfin.WordPress.com on October 31st, 2017.

I’ve had so much fun sharing – and writing about sharing – Smart Art boxes with my wife, that I’ve decided to expand not only my art education and quality time spent with my spouse, but also the focus1 of this blog.

Linda and I were at Blick (formerly Utrecht) in Fullerton yesterday for Blick Madness. We had won a store card worth $5. We had a coupon. I am blessed with an abundance of art supplies at this point in my life. And an employee pointed me toward the “library”, way back in the back, facing the clearance endcap, just down the aisle from the encaustics.

I found two books that appealed to me, and that I hoped would appeal to Linda, too: Foundations in Comic Book Art2 by John Paul Lowe and Keys to Drawing with Imagination3 by Bert Dodson.

John Paul Lowe’s Foundations in Comic Book Art and Bert Dodson’s Keys to Drawing with Imagination
John Paul Lowe’s Foundations in Comic Book Art and Bert Dodson’s Keys to Drawing with Imagination

These two books appealed to me because I’ve spent far more time drawing from imagination than I have from real-world references, and I prefer to spend my drawing time that way (even if drawing from a visual reference is better for developing skill)4; because I want my wife to experience what it’s like to pull something from your head and through your hand to make it tangible; and because we have a shared love of comic books.

John Paul Lowe’s Foundations in Comic Book Art: Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists
John Paul Lowe’s Foundations in Comic Book Art: Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists

I don’t intend to write traditional reviews of these books (although reviewing will certainly be a part of the process). What I intend to do is share these books with Linda, to implement what we learn from them, then share that implementation with you as she and I progress through the books.

Bert Dodson’s Keys to Drawing with Imagination
Bert Dodson’s Keys to Drawing with Imagination

Obviously, I can’t teach you these books as Linda and I work our way through them. I won’t share large passages, because these authors deserve – like anyone else does – to be paid for their work.

But I can show you – with my wife’s cooperation – the effect these books have on one inexperienced artist and one experienced artist who is also woefully undereducated.

I can definitely put these books to good use.

My hope is to put them to such good use that it becomes obvious to you how you could use them, as well.


1. I’m using the term very loosely.

2. Lowe, John Paul. Foundations in Comic Book Art: Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists. Berkeley: Watson-Gupthill Publications, 2014. Print.

3. Dodson, Bert. Keys to Drawing with Imagination. Cincinnati: North Light Books, 2007. Print.

4. It is.


Next up: Dodson’s Keys to Drawing with Imagination: Doodling and Noodling