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While Suzanne Brooker’s book focuses on landscapes and the natural world, the incomparable value of classical drawing principles is that they can be applied to any subject matter. Beginning with an introduction to materials (graphite pencil is the primary medium used in the book, with brief discussion of colored pencil, charcoal, pastel and water-soluble pencils), Brooker takes the reader through the basic elements of drawing, such as line, value and form, and how specific techniques can be used to express them.
For me, the meat of the book begins with Chapter 3, Light Logic and Shading Techniques. Although I have studied the basic principles covered by this chapter several times in other books and classes, and I thought I understood them, Brooker’s explanations helped me to internalize the principles in a way that I hadn’t before.
What is “light logic”? “The sun touches objects in nature, creating areas of light and shadow in a predictable fashion.” Because the human brain automatically uses light logic to perceive an object, it’s an essential concept for rendering a three-dimensional form realistically. It sounds so simple – the classic drawing exercise of shading a ball or cube lighted from one side – yet it’s not at all easy to apply textbook understanding to real objects that are not balls and cubes. First you have to learn to see the highlight, core shadow and reflected light on an object in space, and then you must transfer that perception to the flat paper. I am still learning to do this, of course (I expect it to be a lifelong challenge), but I have nailed the first step: I can finally see this principle. (Now I can’t walk through a park on a sunny day without seeing core shadows on trees!)
Succeeding chapters focus on step-by-step exercises for developing drawings from photo references. Many demos are included, showing various stages of drawing development. Particularly helpful are sections devoted to specific natural elements that make up a landscape, such as sky, terrain, trees and foliage, and water.
Throughout the book are many examples of Brooker’s own work and those of her peers, students and classical masters. Even if you never draw, it’s a huge volume of delicious eye candy to savor. But after studying this book, I believe you will draw, because fully understanding these classic principles is likely to reinforce your passion for drawing as it did mine. When I finally grasped concepts that had been only floating peripherally in my brain before, I could not keep myself from putting them into practice.
This beautiful book is a reference that I will turn to repeatedly to reinforce and remind me of what I’m learning. It also reminds me of everything I love about drawing. The many exquisite examples in the book show me what’s possible, and the instructions explain why.
This is a stunning book. I had often come across recommendations for it but had ignored it since I had erroneously assumed- from the title- that it was another how-to book full of step by step instructions that I have plenty of. Fortunately I used the "look inside " feature and was so impressed by the author's approach that I bought it. She goes way beyond just the how-to aspects of drawing in many different media and also delves into why-to in a clear, succinct way that I found excellent. She manages to pin down in words many problems and their solutions I've been able to identify (and draw) but have never been able explain properly. Anyone who is seriously interested in landscape drawing and painting will find this a tremendously useful book. The author assumes the reader is willing to study, observe and practice but has packed the book with photos, illustrations and examples from many different sources that help and inspire. Whether you are a practiced painter of landscape, a teacher or an intermediate landscapist who has outgrown beginners books I believe this book has a lot to offer you. (Brooker's observations on the problems encountered when using photographic sources for your work and on how to fix them will be worth the cost of the book to many.) Ignore the misleading title of this book, if you are interested in landscapes and how to depict them realistically this is a great resource.
A very useful and well-presented book on the very specific subject of drawing the landscape.
Landscape has been the dominant subject in my own work for most of my student/professional life and now that I'm obliged to teach others, I've had to consider different ways of helping students gain and develop an approach to this very popular area of artistic endeavour; most people want to launch straight into painting the subject, working with colour and trying to negotiate details, but it's a much more complicated process than many realise. Drawing is a fundamental approach to anything, including landscape; it is an intense observational exercise that reveals how things are structured and becomes a fascinating and meditative discipline in itself – that is what this book will help the student explore and nurture for themselves. It offers very useful instruction and advice, backed up by example drawings by the author and a range of other artists; there's very basic information in the early chapters which is common to all drawing books, but both the text and the examples as one progresses through the book become more specific; there are some panels showing different stages in a drawing, but they are not the step-by-step demonstrations many students expect (and tend to copy) but are simply examples of how to approach a subject in one's own work. While some of the subject matter is characteristically American landscape, the techniques and approaches are all easily applicable to the landscape of any country. Later chapters do deal with colour using graphic materials like pastel or coloured pencils.
A worthwhile book for any aspiring landscape artist to have for both instruction and reference; do use the “Look inside” option at the top of the page for an idea of the contents.
Been drawing with graphite for a while, and knew I needed to advance my knowledge. Bought this book for kindle ipad on Sunday morning and at 3.00pm I am still reading. I am so pleased I found this book it gives some basic instruction and takes u further on. Buy it you will not regret it.
Fabulously complete treatment of the elements of landscape drawing. Such beautiful examples of drawing trees, parts of trees, space, perspective, water in all it's forms, skies and so much more. A sheer delight, highly inspirational!
If you are going to get good at art you need to draw, and Suzanne has a no nonsense approach to show you the process, it’s a beautiful book and l am very glad she took the time to create it, thank you.
I visited a lovely garden and spontaneously decided I must sketch what I see instead of taking a photograph. From there, I started looking up books and found this one. I've been interested in drawing before, and scowered through at least a DOZEN books about drawing and none of them properly whet my appetite. However, this book... which happened to be geared towards my new favorite hobby hits the marks.
The book gives the technical background which I do not possess in consumable detail. It is a fine resource about DRAWING in general as well, the philosophy and benefits of doing so. Even if you're not interested in drawing *landscapes* you'll find information in here (if you're an amateur like me in particular) which will improve your overall drawing skills. The book has useful examples! which is very uncommon in art books.
In short, if you can only buy one book about drawing... I'd definately recommend this one. I'd like to thank the author for not only sharing her skills but taking the time to properly COMMUNICATE them to her readers effectively.
This book without doubt is the best book on drawing I've ever purchased. It reinforces, solidifies and provides direction to the techniques I already knew but which I struggled to apply in practice. It is a book that is suitable for both the novice and skilled artist alike. If you are serious about improving your technique and your drawing skills, just get it. You won't be disappointed.
I completely agree with the other reviewers that this book is more than just for those interested in landscapes. The author covers the basic drawing techniques with various mediums (perspective, tonal shadows, composition, etc). But then goes into details on the specific concerns for landscape artists. It is like having a teacher available to answer all your little questions - such as on leaves, branches, clouds, water, etc. I highly recommend. There are step-by-step illustrated instructions for every topic covered. This book will become a classic.