Well, this is a bold claim! All those people who claim that drawing can’t be taught and that art is something it takes a lifetime to study are going to be scoffing at the very idea. If I had an arty beard, I’d be stroking it right now. (Yes, I do, but it’s not arty).
However, this is a new book by Hazel Soan and you’re either going to pick it up because the title intrigues you or because, well, it’s a new book by Hazel Soan. In her introduction, she claims you can read it from cover to cover in 30 minutes. I’m sure you can – there’s not much text and, if you ignore the illustrations, you could get to the end just as the oven timer rings. But you won’t. You’ll start looking at the images and you’ll start thinking about your own techniques and I pretty much guarantee that, when you do finally come out the other end, you’ll have rethought your entire approach to painting.
This isn’t, it should be noted, a book about painting quickly. Yes, the pictures you’ll see are unfussy and don’t include a lot of over-working or unnecessary detail and, no, they won’t have taken long, but that’s because Hazel is bringing a lifetime of experience to her work. That’s why you’re reading the book, because her work isn’t so much about what you include as what you leave out; she can do figures walking down a street in fewer brushstrokes than seems decent!
If you’re new to painting and haven’t a clue where to start, you’ve found the Go square. This is refreshingly simple and you won’t even need to invest your £200 in equipment. The first section in the chapter on The stuff you need is refreshingly headed Less is more. Everything is simple and progressive – and there are even QR codes you can scan to see short videos online. I said once before that more publishers should do this, and here they are.
If you’re an experienced painter but also a fan of Hazel, is this a book you should buy or ignore? Trust me: buy it. It has far more to tell you than you’d believe possible and it’ll have you re-evaluating your own approaches and working methods from the ground up. Even if you change nothing, you’ll know why you do what you do and be more confident when you do it.
Click the picture to view on Amazon