Coloured pencils have never really been taken seriously as a medium for the artist. The main, indeed probably the only reason for this is those sets we get given as children as soon as we’re old enough to hold them.
In spite of this, there’s no shortage of good quality materials from a variety of manufacturers and this is all down to the graphic arts market, where there’s no stigma attached to a medium that gets the job done, no hierarchy which starts from oils at the top and works steadily downwards.
It’s fair to say, and in no way a criticism, that this book does not pretend to be high art. Given that there’s a job of conversion to be done, it’s good that Jonathan Newsy starts right at the beginning and has produced that is both an introduction to drawing as well as instruction in what for many will be a new medium. In fact, the book works equally we in either guise: if you want to learn drawing techniques for a good variety of subjects, what you’ll find here is easily achievable results and well-illustrated, clear demonstrations. If, on the other hand, you already have some facility with drawing and you fancy trying a bit of colour, you won’t feel patronised and put off by too much elementary-school teaching. It’s fair to say, also, that if you’re already an accomplished draughtsperson, then you can probably manage all this by yourself and you won’t be needing a book at all.
The book is entirely structured around a series of 16 step-by-step demonstrations covering subjects grouped into Still Life, Landscape, People and Animals and covers a good selection of most of the things anyone is likely to want to draw. There is also a nicely concise introduction to materials and technique which will be invaluable to the complete beginner and not make anyone else feel they’re paying for several dozen pages of what they know already. All in all, this is an excellent and well-presented introduction.