There’s a lot to recommend this new book from a seasoned North Light author, but also one or two reservations you should be aware of.
The first thing you’ll notice is the breadth of its coverage: people, animals, buildings, plants, still lifes as well as techniques including shapes, colours and textures. It’s comprehensive and, in fact, you could easily use it as a very thorough introduction to drawing before you even start to think about working with colour.
The layout of the book reveals an author who is confident with their medium and material. Rather than divide the progression into sections, Lee intersperses the technical lessons – shapes, perspective. textures, that sort of thing, with the demonstrations, each of which deals with one particular subject falling into the general category list above. The result is something that’s easy to follow, doesn’t bog you down with an endless list of things to learn and varies the pace as you pick up a bit of information and then put it into practice in an actual drawing. Other art instruction books please note this!
Although this is a relatively slim volume, you in fact get 144 pages and a real wealth of valuable instruction. In terms of bangs per buck, I’ve rarely seen a book that betters this, and it does it both in terms of quantity and quality. At under £15, it’s an absolute steal.
I said there was a reservation. Well, the colours are, frankly, a bit garish and some of the drawing style is perhaps a little bit coarse. I’m not sure if this is a consequence of the reproduction or whether it’s Lee’s style, though I suspect the latter. Does this outweigh all the positive things I’ve said before, though? Well, no, I don’t think it does and there is a small advantage in that the illustrations aren’t wishy-washy, as coloured pencil books can so easily be. When it comes to seeing what’s going on, you’re never in any doubt.
On balance, I think the verdict has to be: buy this book if you’re at all interested in drawing and, if you’re a beginner who’s got beyond the basic mark-making stage, consider it as a very well structured course that could help you progress a long way.
North Light 2008