The Drawing Handbook || Frank J Lohan

This is a reprint of a book that first appeared in 1993, but the nature of what the author does means that it’s actually timeless.

There are two halves to it. The first is a nicely-done introduction to shapes and techniques, the sort of thing that every book of this kind includes. What sets it apart, other than the quality of the drawing, is that it’s all practical rather than abstract. You won’t search in vain for the traditional cones, cylinders and blocks, but you’ll find them alongside examples of how and when they’re used – the chapter title “The Geometry of Flowers” should give you an idea of what I mean. The section on composition goes into a lot more detail than most and, if you’ve ever struggled to get to grips with this really rather import aspect of art, then the book might be worth it for this alone.

The second half is a series of exercises, in pen & ink for the most part. Frank illustrates a scene (they’re divided pretty well equally between the US and the UK), then shows it overlaid with a grid and finally explains how the various elements were done. It’s a simple and very much no-frills approach that works surprisingly well. You’re spoilt for choice with books on drawing, but I’m glad they’ve brought this one back.

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