Book Review: An Excuse To Draw

CoverTommy Kane is a well-known urban sketcher who is not only an excellent pen driver but also a funny guy who happens to be a friend of Danny Gregory, the guy whose books got me into sketching.  I don’t put much stock in the degrees of separation thing but I have to confess that I feel somehow connected to both of these guys even though I’ve never met either of them.

So when An Excuse to Draw by Tommy Kane was released I went to buy it.  To be honest, I saw it as just another in what has become a flood of ‘sketchbooks’ being released by urban sketchers around the world.  I’d love to own them all but I just can’t afford it; there are too many of them.  And when I found the price tag on Tommy’s book was $32 (from the Book Depository), the high price put me off, even if it was Tommy Kane.

Lucky for me, though, I reconsidered.  I succumbed in a moment of weakness and I’m glad I did.  Yes, it’s “just another sketchbook” but once you have it in hand you realize that it’s not your average sketchbook book.


pages2Kane’s publisher took the high road on this 216 page book.  This is a beautifully bound hardcover.  Definitely a book you want in your living room.  The paper stock is heavier than typical and every page is full-color.  Many of the sketches are full-page so it’s possible to see all the detail that is the cornerstone of Tommy Kane sketches.

The sketches themselves, well they speak for themselves.  The book covers eight years of Tommy’s sketching life and represent his traveling ways and the sketches are organized by country.   This is one sketchbook that I know will improve my own sketching.  If sketching is your thing, you’ll love An Excuse to Draw.  The back cover says “to be continued” and I won’t hesitate if Tommy produces another of these gems.


4 thoughts on “Book Review: An Excuse To Draw

  1. Wow, looks spectacular! I’ve admired the sketches (though I can hardly call them “sketches”) on his blog for a long time. (I think you mean Tommy Kane…?)

    • Oops….as I indicated in the first paragraph, TOMMY and my hero Danny Gregory are closely tied to one another. I guess I got carried away with that notion 🙂 Thanks for the correction. Tommy…Tommy…Tommy…

      Cheers — Larry

  2. I got Tommy Kane’s An Excuse to Draw too. I’ve been in a six week Sketchbook Skool on line class that Danny Gregory and Koosje Koone created, and where Tommy Kane is one of six teachers in the first semester! Tommy Kane’s book is DRAWING CANDY of the utmost attention to DETAIL that you will see anywhere. He says in his book (and in class) that he spends up to nine hours on one drawing! I believe it. He has also proven to be the most personable teacher giving continual feedback to students long after the semester has ended in our Summer Skool closed group Facebook pages where we continue to upload our art and share with each other waiting for second semester to start July 4. I tell you all this to say that everything you get in the book from Tommy Kane bleeds over into the class, where you get to see videos of him drawing on site/in ACTION and having personal attention from this amazing ARTIST! If you haven’t taken these classes you can take the first semester July 4 and have Tommy for a teacher.
    I can no longer separate the two, BOOK and CLASS. He published a very Classy book and the man definitely has CLASS!

    • Thanks for your mini-review of Tommy’s portion of Sketchbook Skool. It certainly sounds like fun. What I enjoy most about Danny’s art is his balance between detail and accuracy. Too much accuracy steals the soul from art in my opinion.

      Cheers — Larry

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