Looking through this, the first thought has to be, “Wow, is that all drawing?”, because there’s a lot of colour and a very painterly approach throughout. Part of this is down to the inclusion of a fair amount of pastel, but further reading reveals that Craig Nelson also demonstrates the use of sketching and how the initial work is developed into a painting.
All of this produces an immediately attractive book that has you wanting to get started straight away. Because I always have a quibble, I’m going to say now that it’s a pity the format isn’t larger and that the blurb’s claim that it’s “easy to carry and use” is disingenuous. I’m sorry, but I don’t accept that people carry a library in their bag of materials; they do their reading at home and there’s no substitute for a decent-sized page, especially in a quite heavy 300 page book that doesn’t fall open easily.
Persistence is rewarded, albeit at the cost of a broken spine (not you, the book), with a huge variety of topics, mediums and techniques. Dropping in serendipitously tends to produce a sense of random chaos and this is one where it’s definitely worth starting at the contents page as the layout is really quite well organised, beginning with materials and mediums, and progressing through line and tone to perspective and proportion to landscapes, buildings and animals. As well as an excellent chapter on figures and faces, which is one of the best I’ve seen.
All-in-all, this is well thought-out and excellently produced, if only it weren’t for the small page size.