Archive for category Author: Giovanni Civardi

Wild Animals || Giovanni Civardi

There is, it seems, no end to the talents of this popular and capable artist and author. Best known for his books on the human figure, this isn’t his first foray into the animal world, but it continues his tradition of sensitive pencil work combined with simple, concise captions that explain exactly what he’s doing. There really is nothing not to like!

The book covers exactly what you’d expect, as is confirmed by the subtitle “How to draw elephants, tigers, lions and other animals”. Each of these is given its own section and there is also a very handy introduction that explains the basic techniques you’ll need in this particular field. The results are lifelike and characterful and definitely encourage by example.

Compared to Giovanni’s other books, there is perhaps broader coverage, meaning that each section goes into slightly less detail, which in turn means that you, the reader, have to do more of the analysis and deconstruction than is otherwise the case. For this reason, it’s a book perhaps better suited to someone with a little more experience than is usual with this author. It’s a delight and a triumph for all that, though.

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Understanding Human Form & Structure || Giovanni Civardi

Sometimes I wonder how he does it. Not the drawing, I’ve got used to the excellence of that, I mean the way Giovanni manages to come up with new, fresh ideas that aren’t endless re-workings of previous books and also to put an original slant on subjects that are not exactly under-represented in the literature of practical art.

This one, as ever, allows the drawings to speak for themselves and includes a relatively short text that really only introduces the subject and the techniques and points up the things you should be looking at and for.

What makes it different from perhaps a hundred other books on anatomy (for that’s what this is) is the simplicity and the fact that it’s written purely for the artist, who wants to draw the human form and merely needs its underpinnings. If it was about architecture, it would be like stopping at the foundations and relying on other books, of which there are plenty, for the above-ground structure. It’s admirably simple, doesn’t offer the slightest nod to the medical student (other books may not intend to, but they do) and shows you – yes, shows you – how bones articulate and how muscles link them together. There’s no complicated colour coding that other books like to go in for, just sensitive, accurate pencil drawings that you can easily relate to.

The painter George Stubbs studied anatomised horses in order to be able to paint them accurately. You have this book, when is every bit as good as a rather messy hands-on experience. Be thankful, and buy it.

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Clothing on Figures || Giovanni Civardi

I’ve remarked in the past that some of Giovanni Civardi’s illustrations can sometimes be a little heavy and that some of his costumes can be a bit dated. Here, it’s true that there are some historic illustrations as well as some perhaps spurious drapery, but I think we can excuse that. If you want to show folds in cloth, the cloth itself has to have some substance if it’s not going to hang amorphously. On top of that, as you can see from the cover illustrations, there’s plenty of natural, modern clothing here too.

There’s plenty of good stuff here and Giovanni begins by demonstrating the way clothes look when they’re allowed to crumple. Folds are not sharp and shadows play an important part – there are some neat diagrams that get to grips with this in a single page.

As ever, most of the instruction is done by example, with the text being confined to captions that confirm what it is the illustrations are telling you, which is always the easiest approach to follow. As the book progresses, you’ll see clothing on figures in natural and believable poses – doing the things that people do, basically.

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An Introduction to Drawing The Human Body || Giovanni Civardi

You might be forgiven for wondering just how many books one author can wring out of a single subject. I do, and then I’m amazed by how Giovanni manages to come up with a different angle every time, so that I have to recommend the latest title even if I’ve also recommended all the previous ones.

Of all his books, this is perhaps the most comprehensive and the most valuable, both for the beginner and the more experienced artist. As ever, the working method is to concentrate on the illustrations, of which there are hundreds, and to provide explanatory captions where necessary that tell you what to look for, rather than what you’re looking at. In this volume, there are also introductory passages that discuss light, shadow and perspective in pleasantly simple ways.

Figures, both male and female, are shown in a variety of poses, and both nude and clothed. It’s very useful that the clothed and unclothed figures are shown in the same pose so that you can see how the inner structure informs the outer.

Giovanni’s economy of style, both drawn and written, packs an enormous amount into only 112 pages and this is one of the best books on figure drawing I’ve seen.

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Understanding Perspective || Giovanni Civardi

Perspective is that thing that tends to make your brain freeze over. It’s either something you can just do, like colour mixing, or a subject so technical it brings you out in a cold sweat, a bit like dreaming you’re doing an A level maths exam with only a set of times-tables for help.

And that’s the trouble, there’s no way round the fact that perspective can only be explained with the use of lines and diagrams and a fundamental understanding of the vanishing point. Yes, it is a form of geometry.

Giovanni doesn’t shirk the task of getting to grips with the technicalities, but at least you know you’re in good hands and I hope that this will be enough to encourage you to persevere. The technical stuff is kept to a minimum and is concisely, but clearly, explained and there are plenty of his sensitive pencil drawings to show you how things work out in practice.

If this is something you’ve been putting off for longer than you care to admit, this might finally be your chance to nail it.


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Heads & Faces with character and expression || Giovanni Civardi

As has become the style with Giovanni Civardi’s recent books, there is very little actual teaching here, but rather a process of leading by example. If it’s true that the eyes are a window to the soul, then the face is the primary key to capturing the character of your sitter and, with Giovanni’s sensitive pencil drawings, you have plenty of inspiring material to work with.

I really can’t think of anything more to say about this. It’s not a drawing manual or a course, just a neatly presented collection of works that really will help you to understand how to portray the human face.


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Drawing Pets | Giovanni Civardi

I really don’t think there’s a subject that Giovanni Civardi can’t, won’t or shouldn’t turn his hand to. This is a wonderful collection of animal drawings that just burst with life, and he passes the horse test with flying colours (horses being one of the most difficult subjects and the easiest to get wrong). In fact the drawing on page 44 of a farrier shoeing a horse is about the most complex subject you can get.

Once again, this isn’t a full instruction manual, but rather a series of drawings and short demonstrations that lead by example. I’m not generally a fan of copying, though I know it works for a lot of people, but I really would recommend that you try to reproduce some of what’s here. It’ll be a tall order, but you’ll learn more by doing this than from almost anything else.


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