Archive for category Medium: Pencil
There’s an excellent variety of material here, including buildings, water, trees, flowers and even a few people. The structure of the book is to have main chapter headings that deal with various landscape elements such as skies, water or man-made structures and then to introduce examples and vignettes before moving on to a specific project that brings everything together. As a way of proceeding, this works very well and the sense of variety is encouraging, both creatively and as a way of drawing you into the book and getting you to explore further. I do have a reservation about some of the illustrations, though. These seem a little less than sharp and I can’t decide whether it’s the reproduction, the method of working or whether they’ve somehow been reduced to a different grayscale to that in which they were made. Other titles in this generally excellent series have crisp outlines, as, indeed, are the majority of those here, so I’m not sure what’s going on.
It’s a worthwhile book, for all that, and should contain pretty well everything you want to know.
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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.
There’s a charm and lightness to the illustrations in this book that makes it immediately attractive. The slightly retro look to the costumes also, perversely, gives it a sense of modernity. Finally, the looseness of the line gives the figures a sinuousness and a sense of movement, or the potential for it. The man relaxing with a cigarette in one hand and the other in a trouser pocket might push himself away from the wall and walk off at any moment.
So it comes as a surprise, a shock even, to discover that this is a reprint of something that first appeared in 1930. There’s really very little to give it away and the reproduction from what may very well have been a printed original (surely the printing plates can’t have survived?) has been sensitively handled.
The words are descriptive rather than tied to the illustrations – “you will see how the folds give the form and pose of the figure” – but, as in this example, you really do see, and the lack of detailed instructions doesn’t matter at all.
Honestly, this is one of the best books on figure drawing I’ve seen. It’s over eighty years old and fresh as a daisy. Have we really progressed so little? £8.99 is maybe a tad expensive for a 64-page octavo paperback, but it doesn’t need any further padding.
For this survey of contemporary work, the contributing artists were asked to complete the phrase, “Drawing is…”. That’s a wide brief, but it’s also arguably the best way to go as it merely provides a conundrum for thought rather than a constriction. Rachel was obviously pleased with the response, “the connection between eye, heart and hand”, as she’s quoted it on the jacket flap. It’s an obvious answer, perhaps rather trite, saccharine even, but it’s quite hard to sum it up any better.
Every book needs a way in and this is as good as any for what’s otherwise going to be a random collection (and none the worse for that). As long as it’s a rattle- rather than a rag-bag, we’re OK. In fact, this is a generously formatted and superbly reproduced look at what’s going on in the world (or at least the North American part of it) today. There’s some stunning and genuinely innovative work here, all of which the book does full justice to (and, in these straitened times it’s nice to see the publisher hasn’t been afraid to do the work and let the price follow). The chapters groups things by land and townscapes, portraits, still lifes, figures and animals, and each artist has provided short notes that explain what they were trying to do.
If you love drawing, this is definitely one to put on your Christmas list.
This particular branch of fantasy art is highly specialised and there’s more to it than can really be covered in a single volume. However, this introductory guide makes a very good job of introducing landscapes, buildings, characters and visions. There’s a good variety of subjects from the technical (machines and robots) to figures, animals and aliens. Techniques used include traditional pen & pencil as well as digital work, but it’s probably best that you have a basic grounding in your tools as this is more about working with them than learning to work with them. Geoff Taylor has worked for Disney Interactive Studios and has also done work for Microsoft and his experience and expertise really show.
This is an excellent production and to be recommended on that basis alone.
Many, many congratulations to the authors (and their editor) for not over-egging a successful formula and producing Yet More Flower Painting with the EP. And much, much respect to them for proving that they’re much more than (very good) flower painters.
In fact, the subject matter of their third book is a surprise on every page, partly because you just don’t see this sort of thing in painting books but also because they’ve managed to turn what are frequently unconsidered trifles into sublime little works of art. There are birds, fish, shells, pebbles, feathers, bark, beetles, rocks, crystals – the contents of a compendium of country walks, in fact and they all have the kind of beauty you’re often encouraged to look for but somehow all too often fail to see. I don’t care if you tell me you’d never want to paint these yourself, just buy the book and marvel at what Rosie and Meriel have found (and then tell me you won’t maybe just have a bit of a go, y’know, just because).
At a practical level, because that’s what’s being pitched here, this is a book about colours and textures and also about finding subjects in the unlikeliest of places. It’s about looking, seeing and interpreting and what you can do if you just keep your eyes and your mind open. It’s a revelation.
It’s good to find a book on painting buildings that isn’t by Richard Taylor. Not, I should say at once, that there’s anything wrong with Richard; far from it, his many books on the subject are so good that he has, until now, pretty much defined and cornered the market. Rather, it’s good to find a new author who stands comparison with him.
This is nothing if not thorough and it’s well thought-out, with step-by-step demonstrations as well as detail sketches and completed paintings that are analysed. In contrast to a lot of recent art books, where the text tends to be confined to extended captions, this is much more fully written and is one to read through as much as it is to look at. The less-text approach works well and the argument in its favour is that it allows the pictures themselves to do the talking. Some readers, however, nay find that they want more detail in the explanations and they’ll get them here because, for each of the exercises featured, Jonathan explains both the intention and approach as well as the techniques used.
There’s a generous variety of building types and locations, including houses, castles, bridges and churches – even new buildings – and a handy section on architectural detail which deals with carvings, windows, bricks, tiles and all those little things that give a building character.
This is a very comprehensive look at just about every aspect of painting buildings and one which should sustain you for along time to come.
Crowood Press 2008
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