Though animals, particularly pets, are a very appealing subject for beginning artists, many novices are intimidated by the vast variety of eyes, furs, feathers, faces, and limbs. For them, Hodge (How To Draw Portraits) offers a simplified course. She begins with an overview of drawing materials, including colored and pastel pencils, graphite sticks, white chalk, charcoal and charcoal pencils, pens, and inks. After a brief chapter on the basic techniques of line, tone, cross-hatching, and stippling, she launches ten demonstrations, starting with one on the basic cat. While from there the last demo of a kitten may seem a step backward, each chapter advances to more complex techniques. This is a competent if uninspired volume. Lee Hammond's Drawing in Color: Animals uses a more innovative graphing system, which works well for uncertain beginners. Both books focus on domestic mammals like dogs, horses, and squirrels. For novices interested in painting small wildlife, see Jeanne Filler Scott's Wildlife Painting Basics: Small Animals. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.