Sunday, January 17, 2010

Book Review: The Artist's Guide to Sketching

I looked for James Gurney's new book at the Dallas library. I didn't find it, but I did find this book: The Artist's Guide to Sketching by James Gurney and Thomas Kinkade (1988). Yes, the Thomas Kinkade. Turns out Gurney and Kinkade were roommates at Berkley.

This book chronicles a road trip Gurney and Kinkade took one summer. Along the way, they did a bunch of on-the-spot sketching. This book shares their tricks-of-the-trade and drawings. The book covers the following topics:

  • Sketching in public (Logistics, dealing with people, being inconspicuous.)
  • Materials (How to keep it simple. Pencils, pens, markers, and wash are favored.)
  • Achieving accuracy (Start with pencil. Big forms before detail. Tips on perspective. Pen, marker and wash last.)
  • Capturing motion (Best treatment of gesture drawing I have ever seen.)
  • Creating mood.
  • Using imagination (We are not cameras, folks!)
  • Studying nature.
  • Sketching people.
  • Sketching man-made objects and structures, such as buildings.
  • Fitting sketching into your life

This book is inspirational and full of useful advice. I put this book in the same quality category as Bert Dodson's Keys to Drawing and Drawing with Imagination. This book is no longer offered new, but is available used. Used prices range from $45.00 to $315.00. These prices attest to the value of the book.

Here are my initial attempts at doing more comprehensive sketching and at using marker for values. Marker is a whole lot faster than pencil.