Archive for category Author: Hashim Akib
“Exciting” isn’t normally a word I’d associated with portraiture. “Thorough”, “lifelike”, maybe even “vibrant”, but it’s not normally a subject to get the pulses racing.
This, though, is astounding. Hashim’s style is quite blocky and, if you were looking for almost photographic realism, this is not for you. You actually have to look at the finished results for a few seconds before the features of the faces emerge. When they do, however, they’re full of character and these are people whose presence you can feel. This is something that all portrait painters strive for, but it’s one of the most difficult qualities to achieve. If personality is your goal, place your order now.
I think it also helps that Hashim appears simply to like people. I don’t think it would be possible to get results like this if you simply regarded your subjects as a job. There’s a warmth here, and an understanding of the life and light behind mere structure and outward appearance. This isn’t really something that can be taught, so I’d suggest you might simply want to learn from example here – don’t expect a magic ingredient.
In practical terms, the book offers all the variety you could want. There are male and female figures, different hair styles and skin colours and a wide range of ages. Hashim explains colour, lighting and perspective and he’s also rather good on the main features – eyes, noses, ears, etc. Here, his style is your friend as its vibrancy makes what is inevitably a rather technical section interesting and – well – exciting.
Although it’s inevitably on the idiosyncratic side – no good if you hate Hashim’s style – this is nevertheless a very complete guide.
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Time was, you couldn’t shift books on townscapes for love nor money. Now, we seem to be drowning in them. I’m not sure what has caused the shift; there’s been no great move to cities, no evidence that we’ve suddenly fallen in love with them, no explosion of interest in art (that I’ve detected) among the urban population. The fact is, though, that drawing and sketching in towns has gained popularity quite suddenly and there have been some fascinating books as a result.
This volume is slightly different, in that it concentrates on painting, a slower and more considered process than a few minutes spent with a sketchbook and some pencils. It does, however, retain the same vibrancy that the sketching books labour to maintain. Hashim Akib’s style absolutely lends itself to the subject and his work is permeated by a sense of movement and colour that suits street scenes.
Hashim considers all the aspects of city working, from techniques to composition, perspective and weather. The presentation of the book is as a discussion rather than a series of demonstrations and it’s definitely something to read at leisure rather than work through. There are plenty of illustrations and explanations that will give you ideas as well as clarify the points being made. The medium is largely acrylic, used in impasto, and it is these blocks of colour that mainly give the results the life they exude.
The book sparkles with the confidence of an author who’s on comfortable home ground, making it one of the most worthwhile of these guides around.
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While the watercolour style of acrylics has been widely covered, the oils approach, and impasto in particular has been largely ignored. However, this has been remedied here quite spectacularly, for Hashim Akib paints in a very heavy impasto style as well as making full use of the brighter colours that generally feature in the acrylic palette. “Vibrant”, a word often bandied about in book titles, is certainly valid here.
I’ve said elsewhere that this isn’t so much about the mechanics of painting as the art and philosophy of it, and it’s worth repeating the book’s opening sentence, “The best tool for learning how to paint is to paint” because it sums up the attitude and feel that’s here.
Hashim Akib’s method is worth summing up, too. He starts almost every painting with a complementary coloured ground (done with a preparatory coat rather than a commercially prepared support) and then builds the body of the work on top of that. The result allows him also to use colours to define form as well as add depth and movement to subjects ranging from street scenes to portraits, landscapes and flowers.
Hashim’s style is very much his own and this isn’t a book you’ll probably want to follow through in detail, although there are plenty of demonstrations you can try. However, if you like the impasto style and want to have a go, there’s plenty to get you started. If you already paint in this way, then you’re certainly going to admire the book and want to own it for its own sake.
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