Archive for category Author: Trudy Friend

Drawing & Painting Flowers With Coloured Pencils || Trudy Friend

Search Press have been packing a lot into their art instruction books lately, and this is no exception. It follows the pattern of Trudy’s previous books in having break-out details of completed paintings, but there are also some longer demonstrations as well as hints and tips. The overall impression is of a busy and fact-packed book, and this is borne out in practice.

Trudy begins with a useful survey of the various materials available today (and it’s become so diverse that this is rather more than the basic overview), from simple coloured pencils to those from Coloursoft and Academy and on to Iktense and Aquatone, before looking at pastels, papers and the various watercolour options. The quite detailed illustrations in this section drive out any dryness and you can easily see how the different types produce individual results. The same thing applies to the Techniques chapter, where basic marks are quickly worked up into an example – perhaps a leaf or a petal.

The detailed sections are divided into Flowers in Containers, Flowers in the Garden and Flowers in the Countryside. The categories are relatively arbitrary, but serve to avoid what could otherwise become a lengthy and perhaps even indigestible final chapter. It really doesn’t matter, because this is a section you’re going to want to dip into, pick and choose and just have a go. It’s that sort of book: do you keep reading or put it down and get drawing?

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Drawing: Complete Question & Answer Handbook || Trudy Friend

Trudy Friend has pretty much made the question and answer format her own and wisely avoids the “this isn’t the way to do it” illustrations that rather bedevil other manifestations. These always look forced and never like something that even a complete novice would come up with.

Trudy also manages to answer questions that sound like real life, rather than something constructed to fit round a set of demonstrations she’d prepared earlier. Thus we have, “Can you demonstrate the difference between a line drawing, a line and tone sketch and a detailed drawing for the texture of feathers?” Although this is rather an involved example, I picked it completely at random to make the point and the answer is a neat double-page spread with three annotated drawings that explain the answer with admirable clarity.

Throughout the book, the emphasis is on practicality, with the illustrations taking pride of place and the text being limited to what’s required to explain what the reader is looking at. On occasions, this will inevitably leave you wanting more but, on the other hand, it also means you never get bogged down in technicalities. If you want to explore a particular topic further, there are other books that will help you. This one just aims to set you on the right road, and succeeds admirably at that.

David & Charles

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Artist’s Complete Problem Solver || Trudy Friend

This is clearly a book the publisher expects you to keep by your side and probably get dirty in use. How do I know this? Well, they give you a plastic sleeve for the paperback cover and that’s an additional production expense and publishers HATE those.

OK, so we’ve deduced that it’s something you’ll be referring to as you paint, but does it live up to the implied claim of its title? Well, the subtitle limits its coverage to Landscapes, Flowers and Animals, but that’s still a wide scope. The basic layout is: problem on the left-hand page, solution on the right, so it does follow the by now conventional pattern of the made-up problem, a painting done deliberately badly to illustrate a particular point. I’ve always had reservations about those because I can’t help wondering whether anyone finds them recognisable. That said, if you’re going to say, “most beginners do it like this”, there’s no other way round it really. A score draw on that one, I think.

In terms of coverage, there’s a good balance of both detail and more general work, especially in the landscape section. When we get to flowers and animals, things are a bit more specific and get down to species quite quickly so that you might find your particular bugbear [not a species, ed] doesn’t get covered. If the book has a weakness, this is it. Nevertheless, Trudy is an old hand at the problem/solution approach and she does it well. On balance, I’d say you’ll get much more from this than you’ll miss, which is perhaps faint praise, but it’s very much one you’ll need to make up your own mind about.

David & Charles

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The Ultimate Drawing & Painting Bible || Trudy Friend

Any title like this is a bold claim and something of a hostage to fortune, but a quick flick through the pages reveals a pretty thorough cornucopia of subjects and techniques and a well-designed layout based on a series of 2-page spreads that allow you to see everything at a glance. Trudy Friend is an experienced author and this is an approach she has used to good effect in previous books, so you can fairly say that it’s tried and tested.

As a manual covering all media, subjects and techniques, it’s necessarily relatively superficial and there are inevitable gaps so, if you’re looking for something specific, you might find that it falls through one of them or that the coverage isn’t quite as detailed as you’d like.

The progression of the book is in four stages. After a brief introduction to the various media, what they do and how they’re used, you have basic mark-making, developing your skills, problems and solutions and composition. To an extent, these are devices rather than obvious divisions and this is a book that’s best used by simply opening it more or less at random and seeing whether what you’ve found takes your fancy. There’s a good variety of subjects covered, including landscapes and figures and some very sound advice on all of them. It’s fair to say that, even if you don’t connect with everything in the book, you’ll find more than enough to justify the purchase price and that the browsing approach will yield gems that will stand you in good stead at all times.

David & Charles

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Drawing And Painting Flowers: Problems And Solutions || Trudy Friend

The Problems & Solutions series from David and Charles is a format which is the preserve of Trudy Friend, whose approach works well on a wide variety of subjects and makes for an easy to follow guide to some of the trickier aspects of the area she is covering.

Trudy’s medium is watercolour with pencil which produces clearly delineated results that the reader should have no trouble following. At home with many different subjects, Trudy is particularly good on flowers and this is therefore a must-have book for anyone who is still learning this fascinating and varied subject. Most of the book is devoted to 2-page spreads which define a particular problem and then offer ways to work round it. In this book, this is mainly specific flower types or compositions and the solutions offer straightforward advice on dealing with petals, foliage, colour, contrast and so on by means of specific brushstrokes, layering of colours or the use of dark against light and more.

Because of its largely repetitive approach (which is its strength), the book might look at first glance to be difficult to get into. Flip through the pages and there seems to be a lot of detail and it’s hard to get your eye to focus quickly on any one thing. However, this isn’t how it works and, although it’s not something you necessarily need to work through as a structured course, each section needs to be followed through in some detail simply because of the amount of information that Trudy manages to impart in quite a limited space.

As well as the problem/solution spreads, there are also various exercises spread through the book such as the one stroke leaf shape, use of white paper and exercises in watercolour pencil, which will help you develop your technique further. Overall, it’s a tried and tested format that serves both the subject and the reader well and is presented with admirable clarity and economy. It’s keenly priced, too.

First published 2007

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