Katherine Tyrrell (Making a Mark) recently reviewed Robert Kaupelis' book Experimental Drawing. You can find her book review here. Kaupelis has another book, Learning to Draw: A Creative Approach, which I love. Since this book doesn't seem to be well known, I thought I would do a book review.
As a self-taught artist, I am always looking for books that give the type of instruction that one would get in art school. This book seems to have been a text book and fits the bill. It has 10 chapters:
- Drawing Materials
- Contour Drawing
- Quick Contours
- Gesture Drawing
- Modeled Drawing
- Modeled Space
- Memory Drawing
- Automatic Drawing
- Drawing from Projected Images
- Search for Form
Kaupelis provides very clear explanations of each of the different drawing techniques. There are 134 black-and-white illustrations: 50 Master drawings plus numerous student drawings illustrate the techniques. There are 100 exercises, which I appreciate. The exercises are imaginative and use a variety of materials including pencil, graphite sticks, charcoal, ink (pen and brush), and paint.
This book stresses creativity, self-expression, and process. It does not address more mechanical fundamentals such as perspective or proportion. It is not a "how-to" book with recipes for achieving a certain type of drawing. The book favors process over results.
About two years ago, I did every single exercise in this book. Some of the exercises call for a model; I substituted statues. This is the type of book you never out grow. I want to repeat the exercises; I think I would get different value from them now, given that I now have a different level of expertise.
How does this book differ from Experimental Drawing? I would say Learning to Draw is an expanded version of Chapter 2 of Experimental Drawing. In the context of art education, Learning to Draw is a prerequisite for Experimental Drawing.
This book was first published in 1966. I have a second-hand copy printed in 1983. This book is now available from Dover Publications (ISBN 978-0486447865). It was published March 3, 2006. I have looked at the Dover version and it is exactly the same as my copy. It is a steal at $12.95.
I give this book 5 pencils: it addresses drawing fundamentals.