If you visit Amazon and run a search for books on "How to Draw," or "Drawing Instruction," you'll find an enormous list of books, covering all sorts of very specific drawing topics:
- How to draw dragons
- How to draw cartoon people
- How to draw animals
- How to draw anime
- How to draw Pokemon
- How to draw Marvel superheroes
And so forth. After a couple pages of this, things got ludicrously specific. I half expected to see books titled something like, "How to Draw Pepperoni Pizza with Extra Cheese and Olives," or "How to Draw a Dalmatian Puppy Chewing on an Old Boot."
Many of these books, I suspect, are very useful if you want step by step instructions on a very specific sort of picture. Dodson's book, on the other hand is very generic. He's not going to give you step by step instructions on how to draw a dalmatian puppy chewing on an old boot. But he will give you good general advice, and exercises that he encourages you to try, and in the process, he'll help you become better at your craft.
What did I like most about this book? The very relaxed nature of the pictures. Most drawing books are filled with very refined, flawless pictures. Dodson shows you the messiness and flaws of drawing.
This was personally refreshing for me, to see that it's okay to scribble, to make mistakes, to ignore the mistakes and keep scribbling. The relaxed sketching, without concern for how refined my final result is something I needed to do; the more you sketch and doodle, the more you develop your own style.
That's it. Now that I think about it, that's why I like this book. All those other books are about how to mimic someone else's style of drawing. But not this book.
Dodson wants you to develop your own style. Don't worry; along the way he covers all those important ideas like perspective, lighting, composition, foreshortening, etc. But it's not to make you draw like him. It's to help you draw like you, only better.