Archive for category Series: The Art Of Drawing

Understanding Perspective || Giovanni Civardi

Perspective is that thing that tends to make your brain freeze over. It’s either something you can just do, like colour mixing, or a subject so technical it brings you out in a cold sweat, a bit like dreaming you’re doing an A level maths exam with only a set of times-tables for help.

And that’s the trouble, there’s no way round the fact that perspective can only be explained with the use of lines and diagrams and a fundamental understanding of the vanishing point. Yes, it is a form of geometry.

Giovanni doesn’t shirk the task of getting to grips with the technicalities, but at least you know you’re in good hands and I hope that this will be enough to encourage you to persevere. The technical stuff is kept to a minimum and is concisely, but clearly, explained and there are plenty of his sensitive pencil drawings to show you how things work out in practice.

If this is something you’ve been putting off for longer than you care to admit, this might finally be your chance to nail it.

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Heads & Faces with character and expression || Giovanni Civardi

As has become the style with Giovanni Civardi’s recent books, there is very little actual teaching here, but rather a process of leading by example. If it’s true that the eyes are a window to the soul, then the face is the primary key to capturing the character of your sitter and, with Giovanni’s sensitive pencil drawings, you have plenty of inspiring material to work with.

I really can’t think of anything more to say about this. It’s not a drawing manual or a course, just a neatly presented collection of works that really will help you to understand how to portray the human face.

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Drawing Pets | Giovanni Civardi

I really don’t think there’s a subject that Giovanni Civardi can’t, won’t or shouldn’t turn his hand to. This is a wonderful collection of animal drawings that just burst with life, and he passes the horse test with flying colours (horses being one of the most difficult subjects and the easiest to get wrong). In fact the drawing on page 44 of a farrier shoeing a horse is about the most complex subject you can get.

Once again, this isn’t a full instruction manual, but rather a series of drawings and short demonstrations that lead by example. I’m not generally a fan of copying, though I know it works for a lot of people, but I really would recommend that you try to reproduce some of what’s here. It’ll be a tall order, but you’ll learn more by doing this than from almost anything else.

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The Nude || Giovanni Civardi

There’s a lot to be said for a book on figure drawing that finishes after 64 pages. This is, of course, a huge subject and some equally huge and all-encompassing books have been written about it which are both exhaustive and exhausting.

In a series of wonderfully sensitive pencil drawings, Giovanni looks at the practice of figure drawing, explaining the main form, proportion, basic anatomy, muscle structure, perspective and pose. The limited extent of the book means that everything has to be done succinctly and you don’t get page after page of almost identical analyses of muscles or barely-changed poses.

The converse of this is, of course, that the book can only really scratch the surface but, if you want a well thought-out introduction to a huge subject that can be a lifetime’s study in itself, there really is no better place to start.

First published 2007

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Drawing Light & Shade: Understanding Chiaroscuro || Giovanni Civardi

Search Press have been issuing books from this Italian author for quite some time and it’s quietly building up into a comprehensive encyclopaedia of techniques for people, faces and figures.

Classical in style and very slightly old-fashioned in their approach, the books and the instructional material are nevertheless very well presented and quite easy to follow.

Chiaroscuro is, simply, light and shade. It’s about using cross-lighting to create shadows that provide instant modelling on any subject and it’s the technique most associated with Rembrandt portraits. Used to excess, it soon looks hackneyed and care needs to be taken in its execution to avoid being heavy-handed. Used thoughtfully, it can instantly introduce natural modelling and a lifelike appearance. For the beginner struggling to avoid portraits that look flat as a pancake, it has great appeal and over-use will inevitably follow. However, practice makes perfect and more subtle handling will come with greater experience.

It isn’t possible to provide a complete guide in only 64 pages, but this book will give the reader a solid grounding in technique as well as point the way for further study and practice.

First published 2006

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