, Salem, MA

April 18, 2014

Ipswich author to share drawing techniques

By Will Broaddus
Staff writer

---- — Most of Ed Emberley’s 80 children’s books, 20 of which are still in print, have one goal in mind.

“Showing the kids you can draw; everybody can draw something,” he said. “They get encouragement from working with the simplest thing.”

Emberley will give two chalk talks at Ipswich Public Library next Wednesday, sharing drawing techniques from his books.

There will be a session from 10 to 11 a.m. for 4- to 6-year-olds and another for children ages 7 to 10 from 2 to 3 p.m.

The library is also hosting a reception for Emberley on Saturday, April 26, from 1 to 3 p.m., where the whole family is invited to meet the author, illustrator and Ipswich resident.

At both talks, which are fashioned to suit the attention spans of their respective age ranges, the drawing lessons will be similar.

“We draw four or five things, from a drawing of an ant — which is a dot — all the way up to drawing a male lion,” Emberley said.

He will demonstrate the process on a large sheet of paper and give the children handouts that will allow them to follow each step when they get home.

“So they don’t have to remember it — although they usually do,” he said.

Emberley said his method is unique and differs from other types of drawing instructions that rely on copying.

“It’s very close to the way you learn to write,” he said. “It uses the same basic skills, your memory for 26 letters and how you put them together.”

Emberley has no training in early education but has been told by teachers that his method suits children struggling with dyslexia.

“Kids at that age are pretty smart, although they don’t know it,” he said. “If they can write, they can draw.”

Emberley said adults also enjoy using his books, which have sold millions of copies, to learn to draw.

“Once you ease yourself into it, you’d be surprised what you can do,” he said.