Feb. 6th, 2009

drawing references linkspam

This probably is already obvious to anyone not me, but: I was browsing the internet archive for books, and found that they archived some vintage mail order catalogs, which have lots of pictures and illustrations and thus are great for easy to find period references for anything from clothes to carriages, farm equipment and kitchen stuff. Not to mention that it is just kind of cool to look at mail order catalogs from 1900, 1907 or 1920. I had no idea that you could find old catalogs online, but there's all kinds of interesting scanned things with pictures available there, like I found some sort of British government guideline for protective clothing worn by female factory workers in 1917, with photos of what they were wearing.

I also found old course books on fashion drawing and costume design, which look kind of helpful for clueless and fashion-challenged people like me to figure out how clothing more complicated than t-shirts actually fits together, because when I look at pictures of older clothes I often can't figure out the pieces, and old photographs aren't the clearest either. I mean, even drawing contemporary clothing is hard.

I also found this old book on pen drawing with lots of examples for different crosshatching and other b/w inking techniques for illustrations, which I have only skimmed so far, but it looks interesting.

Mar. 6th, 2008

drawing book rec

A couple of weeks ago I borrowed Drawing and Painting Fantasy Beasts by Kevin Walker from my library (or rather the German edition of this), and I found it quite useful and interesting overall. Basically it's just a bunch fantasy creatures drawn as examples, but each creature comes with about four pages of step by step process description of the techniques used, and the different sketches and stages that went into the final work.

Initially I got it because I had never painted with acrylics, but generally found hobby painting books about acrylics my library had rather useless and boring. I mean, it's not that painting with some new medium was like repairing a motorcycle or any of the other things for which you really need either instruction or a book rather than just muddling along, and there's only so much variation to the theme of "you put color pigment on a surface" anyway, but this book has a neat introduction section that just lists different techniques with a little picture of how it looks, which makes it easier to try things than unguided trial and error and I'm lazy like that. Also I wanted to do dragons anyway, and this has examples of fantasy art done with acrylic paint (other techniques too) with step-by-step pictures, so that seemed like a good match.

The first part of the introduction is just the usual list of drawing and painting materials, and rather pointless. Frankly I wonder why nearly every such book feels the need to recap materials in a generic manner at the start. I mean, if you pick up a specialized drawing book you are most likely aware that there's a difference between watercolors, gouache, acrylics and oil paint, and that pastel chalk is different from oil pastels and so on. It's not that I haven't picked up some useful general info from skimming these chapters, because every now and then one will mention something I hadn't know of before, but overall I find them superfluous. Still, the list introducing the materials used is only four pages in this book, so it doesn't dwell, and then the introduction gets more specific with the neatly ordered examples of actually using the materials.

The main part is sections with fantasy beasts sorted by regions in which they supposedly live, and realized in a variety of techniques, both traditional and digital, though most involve acrylics or acrylics mixed with other media. I suspect that if you are already really experienced this book won't tell you much new, but since I've only started using acrylic paint it was useful to have illustrated examples like this for achieving different effects and textures, and getting ideas on what to do, though I have only tried a couple so far.

I've scanned a couple of pages to give you an idea of the way the process descriptions and illustrations look like, though obviously if you don't speak German the text of these scans that explain what was done in each step won't do much for you.
a few example pages behind the cut )

Jan. 10th, 2008

more a book impression than a review...

So I got The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards out of the library, because of my vague intention to draw more this year, and look for exercise ideas. Well, actually I got the German translation which doesn't have anything about brain sides in the title (and I wouldn't have borrowed it if it had, frankly).

Anyway, my overall impression can be summed up as: "Wow, that's a lot of pseudo-scientific 'wawawa wawa' (you know, like the adults go in the Peanuts?) for a couple of simple drawing exercises." Seriously, I skipped most of the endless and idiotic "brain modes" talk (or whatever it's called in the original) about supposedly "tricking" your brain into something to browse for the actual drawing stuff, and it still grated on me.

Some of the exercises sounded okay for drawing practice, but you could have probably cut about 200 pages of mumbo-jumbo from the total 300 pages without loosing any significant drawing content.

Sep. 10th, 2007

some drawing book scans to go with this week's SlothsDraw prompts

I've posted new prompts at [info]slothsdraw, which I'm crossposting here because for these prompts I also put up 18 pages of scans from a couple of drawing books' sections on body language, and I thought that might be of interest for others who like to draw, even if they haven't joined the community.

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