Sunday 22 March 2015

Craft Book Review: The Complete Book of Drawing by Barrington Barber


Learning to draw is not difficult. Everybody learns to walk and talk and read and write at an early age, and learning to draw is less difficult than that. Drawing is merely making marks on paper which represent some visual experience. All it takes to draw effectively is the desire to do it, a little persistence, the ability to observe and a willingness to carefully correct any mistakes.
Republished by Arcturus in 2013
What does an artist need to know about drawing? And what has to be mastered in order to achieve the drawings you want? In this beautiful book Barrington Barber shows you, offering advice and tips he takes you through the various stages.
From object drawing and still-life composition, the natural world and portraiture, to looking at form and shape, and assessing styles and techniques, The Complete Book of Drawing is a distillation of the many skills that the aspiring artist needs to develop.
Just by looking at the sheer size of this book, you can easily believe that it is a complete book of drawing. Just by flicking through the pages, I was astounded by how many different things you can draw. This book takes you through the basic skills needed, including the right drawing tools for you, right through to more advanced stages, such as learning from the masters. The drawings have mainly been created in pencil and pen, with guidelines to show you how they were created.
As a beginner, I was a little overwhelmed by the book. For me, personally it didn’t break down the stages enough to make my drawings look anything like the ones in the book. So I enrolled the help of an assistant, Imogen, who is presently studying art at A level. Now I have seen quite a few pictures created by Imogen, so I knew she would be looking at this book, with the eyes of an experienced artist. The drawings below are hers.
Imogen had likes and dislikes about the book. She mainly enjoyed the chapters based around drawing the human body. She  felt they helped to break the body’s movements down, by analysing the human skeleton. She also found the steps to drawing hands at different angles really rather helpful.
As an experienced artist, Imogen felt that more steps were needed in many of the breakdowns of the drawings, which is something I touched on earlier in the review. She found herself copying the finished drawing rather than learning to break it down for herself.
On the whole, this book literally covers everything you would ever consider drawing,  and has something for artists at all levels. If you’re a beginner, the first stages which cover drawing objects and shading would definitely be helpful. For the more advanced artist, looking for a different subject to draw. This book would probably suit the more experienced drawer than a beginner, who would need more step by step instructions to achieve the desired effect.

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