Archive for category Medium: Coloured Pencil

The Human Form || Giovanni Civardi

As life drawing books go, you won’t get many that are better than the ones written by Giovanni Civardi. He has a pleasantly straightforward style and simple explanations that are hard to beat.

In spite of his having written many books, this is a new one rather than a reissue and it’s also nice to report that his style seems to have lost that slightly old-fashioned tinge it once had. The other innovation is the introduction of colour. As well as the drawings, which are in the majority, there are also illustrations in watercolour, gouache and coloured pencil which include useful hints on getting skin tones right.

The only thing you might want to note is that there are a lot more female than male studies here so, if you’re looking for the latter, you might feel a bit let down. If not, it’s superb.

Buy it on Amazon

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The Ultimate Guide to Colored Pencil || Gary Greene

Whenever I come across a book that calls itself the ultimate anything, I give it my particular attention. My antennae are up because it’s a bold claim and, almost invariably, they can’t live up to it. So, it give me great pleasure to say that this is one of those rare volumes that totally fails to disappoint.

There’s a nice progression here, from a concise yet comprehensive introduction to the many types of pencil available as well as other tools such as paper, sharpeners, solvents and erasers. The next section is devoted to the use of reference photographs which, although not strictly necessary, is really rather well-handled and alone worth having the book for.

The practical sections progress from basic techniques to demonstrations covering layering, burnishing and underpainting as well as the use of water-soluble pencils. Subject matter is pleasantly varied (in this type of book, you often find you have to insert a caveat that it’s a bit limited) and there are plenty of step by step demonstrations. Oh, and the book even comes with a 55 minute DVD showing all the stages of painting a rose.

All-in-all, this is amazingly good value and an excellent introduction to coloured pencils as a serious drawing medium.

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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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