Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Drawing Bible

I've chosen "The Drawing Bible"for my first Big Drawing Book Review because it's a really useful basic guide to drawing for those who'd like to achieve a more painterly effect in their drawings.

The Drawing Bible is full of information in relation to drawing materials, techniques and treatments of different subject matter which is put across in a bite-sized and succinct way. In other words it's both well written - by Marylin Scott - and well edited. Plus it includes some excellent examples of drawings by well known artists.

The first section covers choosing and using materials - pencil and graphite, charcoal and conte, inks and pens, markers and felt-tip pens, coloured pencils, pastels oil pastels and paint sticks, drawing papers and coloured papers. Each category has a useful summary complemented by illustrated examples, artist tips and basic demonstrations of how they can be used. This section introduces various media but does not aim to compete with the level and type of detail most often found in books dedicated to one particular material. Nor does it debate the pros and cons of different brands.

The section on techniques introduces a wide variety of techniques and will be loved by those who enjoy mixed media and different approaches to making interesting marks. It also usefully illustrates a variety of drawing styles for added insight into the art of the possible. The demonstrations are well illustrated and sufficient for an introduction and initial attempts at different techniques. Other books may provide more in-depth help in specialist areas but there will be few other drawing books which cover the range of techniques covered here.

Subjects covered include: figure, landscape, urban subjects, still life and nature. It errs on the side of representational art and says little about more abstracted or conceptual approaches to drawing. This section includes some very well chosen examples of how drawings can be approached and I found the explanations of what is happening in each drawing to be good. What follows is the one which relates to the drawing by Sara Hayward which is on the book's front cover (above).
This unpretentiously attractive subject is interpreted by Sara Hayward with a vigorous approach to the coloured pencil drawing technique. The combination of hatched and shaded colour creates an open surface texture that allows the colours to sing out clearly. Notice that the heavy shadow areas are also treated colourfully.
I particularly like the presentation of this book. It's designed for practical use. It's a small book (20x16cm or 8"x6") with a robust hard cover and spiral wire binding which makes it really easy to lay the book flat on a table if you want to refer to it. The layout and colour printing are both excellent.

I'm happy to have this book in my bookshelves. It's packed with information and represents good value for money. The book is described as being an essential reference for practising artists but I think its primary market is probably the advancing 'hobby artist' rather than practising professionals. However I think most artists wanting to explore drawing further would find it useful both in terms of how drawings can be produced using different media and the different sort of approaches which can be used. I'd also expect it to act as a very useful antidote to any artist who feels their work is in danger of becoming categorised as 'same old, same old'. The sort of artist who likes experimenting, and enjoys a looser and more painterly style of drawing and trying out new things will love it (if they haven't tried everything already!), while it may find fewer fans amongst those wedded to graphite, control and photorealism.

Perhaps most important of all is that it will take a newcomer to drawing a very long way from an outline of absolute basics in terms of mark marking and media techniques through to some quite advanced approaches to drawing.

I'm awarding this book "4 pencils". It's a good summary of different approaches to drawing, represents good value for money and deserves to be on the bookshelves of artists who have a particular interest in producing drawings which don't look like photographs!

Search Press publish specialist books in the arts and craft field. This particular book is one of five books written by Marylin Scott in the same format - with the other four covering oil, watercolour, acrylic and pastels.



Dave said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Might have to add that to my Christmas list!

Katherine said...

Well I know I always hope that people who buy presents for me will find the perfect book present for me - but they don't spend as long in the art bookshops as I do!

Hopefully by the end of the month you may have a 'any one of these would be perfectly lovely' list!

gel said...

Well, I'm posting in the wrong place, but I wanted to tell you as a newcomer here that I looked at your beautiful gallery of flowers.
The iris is my favorite flower, regardless of the artist.Your work has a nice flow of line to it plus color. It's very pleasurable to view. Do you have your own garden? (I don't and journey all around to other gardens or wild areas to draw florals.)

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