Archive for category Publisher: sixth&spring

Sketchits! Faces & Fashion || Christopher Hart

The always entertaining and informative Christopher Hart is back with a simple guide to drawing clothed figures. “More than 7 million books sold”, the cover proclaims and it’s not hard to see why. Christopher manages to simplify everything and to be elementary without talking down to the reader.

“Got Color? Just add lines”, the blurb tells us, adding that it’s “introducing an entirely new approach to drawing”. Well, up to a point, but the idea is ingenious – paint the basic shape, then add facial features, hair, accessories and detail such as folds and shadows. “Jump-start your creativity”.

If you want a simple guide to drawing figures, this would fit the bill nicely. If you don’t, you might find that the absence of complication encourages you to add your own simplification.

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Release Your Creativity || Rebecca Schweiger

I’m always wary of books like this and the subtitle immediately raises my hackles: Discover your inner artist with 15 simple painting projects. It’s going to be weird, isn’t it?

Well, no. In fact, there’s a lot to like here, even for a tired old seen-it-all-before cynic like me. For a start, the author is a bona fide artist and teacher, having founded The Art Studio NY. She knows her onions, both in terms of creativity and practice, and she can explain her methods as well.

There is, as you’d rather expect, a fair degree of abstraction, but it’s not of the “splosh it about and call it creative” variety. While there’s a fair degree of experimentation going on – rightly, given the slant of the book – the emphasis is more on control and getting your inner thoughts down, rather than freeing the spirit. Some spirits are best kept confined, in my ’umble opinion.

This isn’t your conventional art instruction book, but it’s not a load of new-age hokum either. If you’re a practising artist, I think you could find a lot to like here, as well as a lot to learn about yourself.

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Figure It Out! Drawing Essential Poses || Christopher Hart

Christopher Hart is the absolute master of the simplified guide to figure drawing. In this remarkably comprehensive guide, he takes a number of typical postures and breaks them down into a series of simple shapes that make them both easy to understand and to replicate. Part of the secret of his simplicity is to deal with only one thing at a time. When, for example, figures are clothed, the clothing is simple and little more than a few lines – it doesn’t distract from or complicate the main message and won’t detain you for more than a few seconds. While you’re at it, you might want to notice that folds, creases and hangs can be delineated in just one or two marks, though.

As well as shape and proportion, Christopher hints at perspective, but without going into a great deal of detail – this isn’t a book about perspective. He does, though, look at three-quarter as well as front and back views and explains how to portray depth – his figures are always more than just two-dimensional cut-outs.

If you’re new to figure drawing, or finding yourself bogged down in self-imposed complications, this is a brilliant life-saver.

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Simple Techniques for Realistic Drawings || Leonardo Pereznieto

There’s a rather charming simplicity to this straightforward guide that offers exactly what its title promises. The only qualification that might be required is that “realistic” refers to things that look lifelike rather than to hyper-realism, but this should broaden rather than narrow its appeal.

The subject matter is mostly hard surfaces and the book looks at how to handle reflections, curves and highlights. However, the author includes flowers and also water, on which he is particularly sound, handling movement particularly well.

There’s nothing ground-breaking in the approach, which is no bad thing – virtuoso displays in basic instruction are usually only distracting – and the explanations and demonstrations are both thorough and clear.

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Figure Drawing Hints & Tips || Christopher Hart

I’ve long been a fan of Christopher Hart’s simplified approach to demonstrating figure drawing. His way of translating block diagrams into realistic representations is easy to follow and takes much of the mystique out of the process of drawing people.

There is a multitude basic introductions to drawing the human figure, many of them truly excellent and a lot that are elementary enough to deal with the process of getting started. Some also go on to get you onto the road towards a reasonable degree of competency. That, however, can be daunting in itself for the complete novice – even in quite a short book, where you want to be can seem impossibly far away from the jumping-off point.

You won’t have that problem with this book. At a mere 32 pages, there’s no room for expansion and the end never looks more than a comfortable reach. Sure, you’ll need something else when you’ve finished it, but the point is that you will do that, and there are plenty of books to choose from. Everything (amazingly) is here: heads, bodies, hands, structure and perspective, and presented in a non-intimidating way that can’t fail to have you thinking, “yes, I can do that”.

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Figure It Out! Human Proportions || Christopher Hart

Christopher Hart is a master of the simple explanation, with clear diagrams standing in for many paragraphs of exposition.

If you have trouble getting your people to look right and as if they could stand on their own without toppling over or their arms dragging on the ground, this is for you. Not everyone is exactly the same, but some measurements are so standard that they can be quantified, the eyes/nose/mouth being perhaps the best-known.

Christopher deals with all the body parts – as a whole, and separately: head, torso, arms, hands, legs, head and so on. He shows how they appear at rest and in a variety of poses and angles. Clear, annotated diagrams are the key to his exposition. This is a handy reference guide that’s easy to follow and where you can find what you want quickly.

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