Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book Review: Teach Yourself Visually Drawing

I came across this book at my local library: Teach Yourself Visually Drawing by Dean Fisher and Josephine Robinson (Wiley, 2008). I am always on the lookout for new drawing books, so I checked it out. It is excellent.

The book takes an atelier approach to drawing. In fact, many of the drawings remind me of drawings in Classical Drawing Atelier by Juliette Aristides. Teach Yourself Visually Drawing, however, is a little more down-to-earth and accessible. For example, Teach Yourself Visually Drawing has numerous step-by-step demonstrations.

Teach Yourself Visually Drawing has the following chapters:
  1. What is Drawing?
  2. Drawing Materials
  3. In the Studio
  4. Prepare to Draw
  5. Discover the Pattern of Light and Shadow
  6. Introduction to One-Point Perspective
  7. Add More Dimension to Your World: Two-Point Perspective
  8. Discover the Potential of Line
  9. Planar Rendering of Complex Forms
  10. Draw a Plaster Cast
  11. The Portrait
  12. Drawing the Human Figure
  13. The Landscape

Most chapters end with a gallery of drawings. The drawings are by a variety of artists and are just exquisite. Very inspiring.

Teach Yourself Visually is evidently a whole series of books (e.g., Teach Yourself Visually Knitting, Teach Yourself Visually Guitar, Teach Yourself Visually Windows XP). The marketing slogan is "Read Less-Learn More". The idea is to learn by looking at pictures rather than by reading. This sounds intriguing, but in reality, most art books teach by showing art in various stages of completion. This book is good not because it has more pictures and fewer words than other art books, but rather because of the classical approaches it teaches and the exquisite drawings used to illustrate the techniques.

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