Archive for category Medium: Drawing
The strapline of this really rather enjoyable book, “develop your style, guided by professional artists” is perhaps an exercise in stating the obvious (would you want a bunch of amateurs telling you absolutely nothing?), but it does sum up what you get here. I think it’s pretty much certain that, if you were to pick it up for a cursory glance, you would be immediately enthralled and reckon there’s something – indeed quite a lot – for you.
The presentation is very much like the sort of book which I describe as something people buy for others rather than themselves. This, however, although slickly presented, is about much more than just appearance and the contributors offer a wide range of styles, subjects and techniques. Indeed, it’s precisely this variety that makes the book so appealing.
The layout is in the encyclopaedia style, with each topic generally covered in a single spread. What this can lose in superficiality, it makes up for in comprehensibility and the editors do seem to have addressed the dichotomy; there is no sense of trivialisation and the sheer number of illustrations keeps you engaged and informed at all times.
Media include pencil (graphite and colour), charcoal, pen & ink and pastel. There is also a bold attempt to cater for all levels of ability by dividing each section into techniques that are for the beginner, intermediate and advanced. This is always a hostage to fortune as one person’s beginner is another’s expert. However, some things genuinely are more difficult and the gradation is welcome. Maybe “elementary” might have made it clearer that the reference is (I think) to the techniques rather than the artist. It’s neatly done, though, and consistent throughout the book, which helps break up the broad range of the coverage and makes for easier reference.
All-in-all, this is one of the best general guides around and something which merits a lot more than a second look.
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Thorough and comprehensive, this is more than just a practical guide. Aloyna includes historical examples that set modern approaches in context and show how portrait painting has developed over the centuries. As well as exercises and demonstrations, there are example poses, explanations of skin tones, facial features and structure, and extended consideration of the medium itself.
The subtitle refers to “a revolutionary method for rendering depth and imitating life”, which is a harmless enough strapline to aid sales. The blurb glosses this as “new layering tools and techniques”, although I do seem to have heard similar claims elsewhere. I’m not debunking the claim or the superb quality of the book, but I suspect that the author hasn’t in fact discovered something completely new, but rather adapted the glazing-like approach that coloured pencil artists have been using for some time. For all that, the results are impressive and the explanation of how to achieve them well executed, so you’d have nothing to complain about.
Watson Guptill books are characterised by their assiduous approach and detailed explanations and this is no exception. It’s one to read as well as work along with and an excellent masterclass in its subject.
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