Archive for category Author: David Webb

101 Ways To Draw || David Webb

This encyclopaedia-style guide to drawing techniques absolutely stands on the quality of its illustrations. These are sensitive and David’s working methods adapt themselves nicely to the medium and technique in question at the time.

Just about every drawing medium is here, from graphite pencils and sticks to ballpoint, felt-tips, watercolour pencils and soft pastels. Subjects include flowers, landscapes, still lifes, animals, buildings and people. Techniques cover toning, layering, hatching and blending as well as simple mark-making. Obviously, not every combination of subject, medium and technique can be included, but the matching is logical and the results always enlightening.

As well as functioning as a source of reference, this is also a book to dive into and explore for ideas and inspiration. It’s a lot of fun.

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Complete Guide to Watercolour || David Webb

This really rather attractive book is arranged more or less in an encyclopaedia format, but without quite falling into the tabulated effect that implies. It’s a difficult thing to define, but the result is both a rattle bag and the basis of a nicely-structured course at the same time.

Subtitling itself “all the essential skills and techniques you need” is a pointer to this: it’s not so much a manual as a connected series of lessons that you can work with in almost any order. And there lies its attraction: each section is easily separated out and you can read up about what you need or what interests you at the moment. It would be possible to work through from cover to cover and, indeed, you’ll probably want to at some point. For the rest, it’s something to keep by you and dip into serendipitously. It has many treasures to reveal and these are best discovered by chance.

There are hints, tips, lessons, exercises and demonstrations and the book finishes rather pleasingly with a section titled “Approaches to Watercolour”, introducing a range of other contributors who present their own ways of working.

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Drawing Index || David Webb

In the past, I’ve been fairly (well, OK, extremely) dismissive of books which are made small to fit a perceived pocket-book market and which would really be so much better if someone would just give them space to breathe and the page size to allow you to see what’s going on. Not to put too fine a point on it, I’ve had quite a go at them. I probably need The Little Book of Calm.

And that’s the point; they sell very well, there’s a demand for them, they meet a need. So I’m not going to tell you that I can’t quite see the point of a book of drawing techniques that’s 6 inches by 4 inches and would sit nicely in the pocket of a reasonably substantial jacket. And which has a flexible cover that won’t crease or dog-ear as you carry it about. This format worked very well in the same publisher’s Colour Mixing Index, but I have to admit that, while you might well want to have a guide to colour mixing about your person, I’m not sure that you’re going to sit down in the middle of a field and start consulting a textbook in order to decide which drawing technique to use.

But, like I said, I’m not going to say all that because you’ll love it and it’ll sell by the truckload and then I’ll be wrong and I am Never Wrong. What the limited page size does do is make sure the author keeps things simple and it does have to be said that the writer, editors and designers involved with this book have understood the concept perfectly and work well within the format they’ve given themselves. Each technique gets a single two-page spread and no more, with example illustrations and a minimum of text (so you won’t have to strain your eyes to read it) and it doesn’t mess about. OK, maybe it’s not a book to carry about, but neither is it one you have to keep putting back on the shelf. Keep it beside you and it won’t get in the way and you can pick it up and dip into it at any time, which is probably the best way of using it. It won’t tell you something you don’t know all the time, but it will do that often enough to justify the purchase price.

David & Charles

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Watercolour Artist's Colour Mixing Bible || Moira Clinch & David Webb

Colour mixing is an art, a skill in its own right and whole books have been written about it. In fact, this is one!

There are two basic approaches. The first is to take a series of paintings and analyse their palette, building from there toward the practical aspect of structuring colour. The best of these is Tony Paul’s How to Mix & Use Colour. The other approach is the encyclopaedia, of which there have been a number over the years. These typically contain only a few illustrations of actual paintings, usually relating to a specific subject or colour type, and mainly consist of pages of colours swatches. As far as attractiveness goes, the first type of book wins hands down, for the latter really is a bit like watching paint dry.

However, we’re serious students and we’re not going to let such triviality put us off! And a good thing too, because, in the encyclopaedia approach, more is definitely more. More base colour, more mixes and more tints and more glazes. Structure is everything, because you need to be able to find your way around a book like this quickly and easily. It’s not one you’re going to keep by the bedside to dip into last thing at night – at least, not unless you suffer from insomnia, I suppose. But I’m being unfair. The pages of this book, which you should own unless you’re one of those people who knew how to mix colour the day they were born (and there are people like that and, if you’re one of them, please don’t write and tell me this book is a waste of time!), the pages you should bookmark are nos 40-43. These give you the key to the colour sections and to the page layout.

So, there you are, easel firmly planted, palette in one hand, brush in the other and the background hills are a wonderful shade of … of … of … Right, go to greens, greens with a bit of blue, here we are, Cobalt Turquoise and mix it with Yellow Ochre, about 60-40. OK, in reality, you should be able to do something as basic as that fairly much straight off your head, but there will be occasions when a particular colour proves elusive. Now, you just know that fiddling around is going to result in grey mud, so this is where a book like this comes into its own. It’s a cheat, really, but everyone has a few of those and no-one should be ashamed of it.

The publisher claims more than 2500 mixes and glaze effects and I’m sure they’re right. It’s enough for anyone. Oh, it’s also a handy coat-pocket size and spiral bound to that it’ll lay flat when you’re using it. They think of everything.

Year published: 2006
List price: £17.99

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