The one thing you can’t accuse this of being is poor value for money. At £12.99 for a 256 page hardback and a bundled DVD, it’s got to be worth a look and hardly likely to leave you feeling disappointed.
Coverage is wide and, rather than being a masterclass in the sense of taking the already technically competent on to greater heights, it’s really more of a comprehensive course in the techniques and creative skills of the medium. Moving commendably quickly on from the usual introductory exercises in basic shapes, the author has you working with recognisable objects by page 14. This can’t be anything other than a good thing, as one of the most guaranteed ways to turn the beginner off is to have them drawing cones and rectangles up to the twelfth chapter. Cups and glasses will do perfectly well in this respect.
It’s also hard to quibble with the coverage, which is sufficiently comprehensive to include landscapes, trees, buildings, still lifes and figures. The book proceeds by way of a series of projects, which are really just demonstrations (and none the worse for that), but it’s not something you have to work through slavishly from one end to the other. The introduction states that, “each project is complete in itself”, another positive that means that it’s possible to dip in and out and pick subjects as you want to follow them.
If I do have a worry, it’s that some of the author’s work is not absolutely brilliant. I’m being kind here as he does seem to have trouble with wineglasses but, overall, it’s the instruction that counts and, if you get good enough to be this critical, you’ll have much to thank Barrington Barber for.