Kuurion here. So, some of you may know I'm in school now. I'll be starting a new class in less than a week, and just got one of my new class books in the mail. It's a specialized "Character Design" cartooning book. I spent about an hour this morning reading through it and flipping through all 30 pages of it, and I don't know if I'm just too opinionated or what, but I really find myself disliking the approach.
A little clarification might be needed. I already know know a good many points on how to draw. I'm not worried about my own abilities or even the style the books takes; I'm sure I can pick a few pointers out of it, especially if I pursue a certain style change I've been thinking about trying. My beef is with the approach of the school in sending this textbook to people who may have never drawn before. The class is a class specifically on character design, and the book gives generally good ideas, but it's already specialized, which is a no-no as I learned it.
One of the tips I picked up when I was just beginning to develop my own talent was to avoid this type of book for a good long while. Anything that teaches you from square 1 how to draw with already-exaggerated body types, facial expressions, etc (anime books in particular are bad offenders) is skipping a crucial step in understanding the REAL forms that you are imitating. So I dropped money for a hobby on books about proper anatomy for the artist, proper perspectives, facial expressions focusing on the muscles underneath the flesh and how they work to form faces we recognize. Short works like this book may have their place for young people just drawing for some fun, or for specialized training in certain styles, but (in my opinion) not as a starting point for artists developing their talents for future careers.
The way I've seen it is that you need to know what something real looks like, and then deform your shapes off of THAT. This gives you a strong base that you can always come back to, and then perhaps work in a completely different direction from. But who knows, perhaps I'm just too stubborn about it. Now that I've grown accustomed to my own style of pseudo-realistic proportions, I have trouble drawing something more deformed. It never looks "right" to me, and fighting with perfectionism as I already do, I can't be happy with it. On the flipside AGAIN, that could just be me fighting with perfectionism, and not the greater host of bodies in the art world.
Long story short, I hope I'm more wrong about this assumption than I am right. Cause if I'm right, there's a whole class of potential artists being trained the wrong way before being sent off into the rightfully terrifying world of searching for work as an artist. If I'm wrong, then I'm just inflexible and it's my problem. The latter only affects me, and I can, to an extent, remedy. The former, not so much.