Archive for category Author: Lee Hammond

Draw Animals in Nature || Lee Hammond

Lee Hammond is a prolific and competent author who can not only turn her hand to a wide variety of subjects but also write about them with authority.

This book covers a wide variety of wild animals (ie not cats and dogs) depicted sensitively in pencil. It is not a series of detailed demonstrations, but rather examples, each of which provides a specific lesson in shapes, textures and surfaces. There are, though, several exercises that get you practising a specific subject in three or four stages and allow you to practise with a guiding hand beside you.

As a result, this isn’t a book about how to draw specific animals, and especially not about how to complete a series of projects, but rather a more generalised look at the practice of drawing animals in general. It’s something that could keep you occupied for some time and will, in the process, teach you a great deal.

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Today’s Artist DVD series

Drawing Realistic Faces Workshop || Carrie Stuart Parks & Rick Parks
Painting in Acrylic Workshop || Lee Hammond
Drawing for the Beginner Workshop || Mark Willenbrink

I’m going to put all these together in one review as the approach is identical in all of them. It’s an idea that I’m surprised no one has come up with before, because it’s elegant in its simplicity.

What you get is a slim volume and a DVD. The words and printed illustrations complement the moving images and give you the chance to practice exercises and techniques without having to constantly pause the film, or maybe to work away from the TV.

The only thing you might want to be aware of is that, although they’re all-region, the discs are in NTSC format. Most players will accommodate this, but it’s worth checking your manual before you expend.

Click the picture to view on Amazon

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Lee Hammond’s Big Book of Acrylic Painting

The above-the-title billing gives you a clue to Lee Hammond’s popularity in the US and, if the title suggests a bind-up, you’d be correct. The material has previously appeared in four other titles, but the selection here provides an excellent introduction to the medium. More substantial than many similar books, this one covers still lifes, landscapes, animals and people as well as the basic techniques. Each section is admirably thorough – the one on people includes exercises covering all the main facial elements as well as demonstrations that deal with both male and female subjects as well as babies and toddlers. Overall, there’s a good sense of your money’s worth here.

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Paint Landscapes in Acrylic || Lee Hammond

The medium of acrylics is increasing in popularity and there is a growing number of books describing techniques both in general and for a variety of subjects. What this one offers is something really rather comprehensive.

It starts with the usual basic introduction to materials and colours, moving on to techniques with some rather useful notes on brushwork before the more familiar bits about shapes, composition and so on. Every book ever written seems to assume that it’s the only book ever written, so this stuff is pretty much inevitable and you just have to pick out anything that’s better than the usual run of the mill or which seems relevant to any specific need that you may have. There’s actually some quite good stuff here, so I’m going to give it 7/10 but with a gold star for being specifically relevant to landscape painting which is, after all the subject of the book.

From this point, after some perhaps carping criticism (but I do see an awful lot of books!), it all gets a whole lot better with sections and exercises on specific landscape elements including clouds, trees, mountains and water. The final section of the book, Putting It All Together, comprises a generous selection of demonstrations which cover just about any type of landscape you’re likely to want to tackle. Although this is an American book, the style won’t be at all alien to a British audience and no translation should be necessary on that score.

As a complete introduction to painting landscapes in acrylics, this is hard to beat.

North Light

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Lifelike Drawing in Coloured Pencil || Lee Hammond

There’s a lot to recommend this new book from a seasoned North Light author, but also one or two reservations you should be aware of.

The first thing you’ll notice is the breadth of its coverage: people, animals, buildings, plants, still lifes as well as techniques including shapes, colours and textures. It’s comprehensive and, in fact, you could easily use it as a very thorough introduction to drawing before you even start to think about working with colour.

The layout of the book reveals an author who is confident with their medium and material. Rather than divide the progression into sections, Lee intersperses the technical lessons – shapes, perspective. textures, that sort of thing, with the demonstrations, each of which deals with one particular subject falling into the general category list above. The result is something that’s easy to follow, doesn’t bog you down with an endless list of things to learn and varies the pace as you pick up a bit of information and then put it into practice in an actual drawing. Other art instruction books please note this!

Although this is a relatively slim volume, you in fact get 144 pages and a real wealth of valuable instruction. In terms of bangs per buck, I’ve rarely seen a book that betters this, and it does it both in terms of quantity and quality. At under £15, it’s an absolute steal.

I said there was a reservation. Well, the colours are, frankly, a bit garish and some of the drawing style is perhaps a little bit coarse. I’m not sure if this is a consequence of the reproduction or whether it’s Lee’s style, though I suspect the latter. Does this outweigh all the positive things I’ve said before, though? Well, no, I don’t think it does and there is a small advantage in that the illustrations aren’t wishy-washy, as coloured pencil books can so easily be. When it comes to seeing what’s going on, you’re never in any doubt.

On balance, I think the verdict has to be: buy this book if you’re at all interested in drawing and, if you’re a beginner who’s got beyond the basic mark-making stage, consider it as a very well structured course that could help you progress a long way.

North Light 2008

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