How to Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students (Paperback)


How to Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students (Paperback)

Basics, Shading, Texture, Pattern and Optical Illusions

My artistic skills in drawing and painting hover around ‘average’ to ‘decent’ depending on my patience in doing it.  That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate art or take the time to create when the mood strikes me.  I find myself drawing a lot with my kids and realize the importance of illustrations and learning.  My children tend to be very visual people and I distinctly remember when Brooke started phasing out to start reading chapter books, her only look of disappointment to moving up to higher reading was the lack of pictures!  She also connected more when learning about 3D shapes when we drew pictures of cubes and rectangular prisms together.  Brooke loves to draw and wants to draw realistic pictures and my personal ability to do that stops when I can’t look at the object.  As I’ve looked for ways to continue to pique Brooke’s interest in drawing, I ran across a really neat series called How to Draw Cool Stuff that offers step-by-step guidelines to becoming a better artist.

The How To Draw Cool Stuff series (Library Tales Publishing) by art teacher and professional artist Catherine V. Holmes guides readers through the basic principles of illustration by concentrating on easy-to-learn shapes that build into complex drawings. The original How To Draw Cool Stuff and the subsequent books, How To Draw Cool Stuff: Shading, Textures and Optical Illusions and How To Draw Cool Stuff: Holidays, Seasons and Events, each offer unique lessons for readers.  Our personal favorite is the second book in the series, “How to Draw Cool Stuff: Basics, Shading, Texture, Pattern and Optical Illusions” because it’s a great way to teach someone how to add things like depth, contrast, character and movement in your drawings.  You know, so your pictures start to look realistic and even 3D which is exactly what Brooke was looking to learn!

Each lesson starts with an easy-to-draw shape that will become the basic structure of the drawing and the steps build to showing the reader/artist elements to create a very detailed picture. You learn about the importance of shading, of course, but you also learn HOW to do it to make it look complex.  Why not add some textures and patterns to your artwork to add depth to your design?  It’s amazing what you can do with just a pencil and eraser and once you get the hang of a concept you can design it to make it original.  It’s a great way to exercise those budding artistic abilities and hone your craft through reading, doing, and following the instructions.  I may not ever be an awesome artist since my patience can wear thin on repetition, but being able to practice these skills with my daughter has inspired her to keep drawing – which is the entire point.  Bravo!

cool2 cool3

In addition to teaching basic drawing skills, this wonderful series provides:

  • Lessons on creating shading and texture for more realistic artistic renderings
  • Step-by-step tutorials on drawing fun and beloved characters like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns and more!
  • A guidebook that can be used by art teachers in the classroom to help supplement lesson plans and provide students with independent activities
  • Valuable lessons in how to make drawing easier and more fun, such as: draw lightly, don’t aim to create an exact replica, and why patience pays off
  • A wonderful gift for all aspiring artists


About the Author/Illustrator:  Catherine V. Holmes is an art/ELA teacher and visual artist from historical Plymouth, Massachusetts. She studied at Boston University and at Bridgewater State College where she earned her BFA and MA in ED. She is currently working towards her second Master’s from the University of Scranton. Catherine Holmes specializes in portraits, architecture and illustrations. Her art is inspired by her feelings, ideas, and experiences, whether they are found in nature, the media or in man-made structures. Catherine is also heavily influenced by the interests and suggestions of her students. “To see success through their eyes inspires me to be a better teacher and creator of art.”

How to Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students (Paperback)

List Price: $ 21.99 (On sale through

Leave a Reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.