Friday, 4 October 2013

Book review: One Drawing a Day

This review kicks off the The Big Drawing Book Review 2013 - which I introduced on my main blog Making A Mark.  

It follows on from The Big Drawing Book Review in 2007.  There have been so many new books in the intervening years I thought it was time for another one! You can find out how you too can participate by reading my introduction blog post (see first link above).

It seemed appropriate to start with a book which encourages people to draw.

This then is a review of One Drawing a Day: A 6-Week Course Exploring Creativity with Illustration and Mixed Media by Veronica Lawlor.

The key distinction of this book is that it grew out of a blog created by professional illustrators and art educators which has been more or less posting one drawing a day each month since June 2009.

Synopsis:  This is a structured daily drawing course exploring creativity with illustration and mixed media which allows you to pick and choose the order that you complete the work. The author proposes readers should do 42 daily exercises - one drawing a day - over a period of 6 weeks. Drawing is a euphemism insomuch as in this book it also involves sketching with paint. The focus is on expressionism rather than realism.
Summary review:  This is a book to stimulate those who’d like to improve their drawing and sketching - and to reinvigorate those who know how to draw but need to stay fresh and inspired by what they see and how they draw/sketch/paint. In my opinion, it’s too challenging for beginners but would suit those who like experimenting and want to widen their repertoire of skills and improve their drawing in terms of interpretation and impact. It's both
  • A handy book to have around when your drawing goes stale. 
  • A good book to consult if you want to make progress with your drawing without going to class.
Average customer review
  • the structure of the exercises is flexible - it provides a framework but you can choose what you want to do
  • The Exercises:
    • Push the boundaries of conventional art-making for novice artists and those with no formal education in art and illustration
    • Recommend subject matter to focus on and media to use
    • Focus on observation from the real and not drawing from photos
    • Provide quick tips for those skim reading! They contain some very useful information - I learned a few new things!
  • the book advocates a wide range of materials to use for drawing and sketching - including ink and paint washes which both need brushes. Excellent demonstration of different ways you can use a range of art materials - stimulating for those who like mixed media
  • Very nice production values - design and format are contemporary and easy on the eye; quality of reproduction of images is good
  • There are two social media sites associated with this book where you can see the artwork triggered by use of the book
    • this is the blog One Drawing a Day written by the members of an illustration collective called Studio 1482. There are blog posts most days.
    • There is an a Flickr group - One Drawing a Day. Note that some of the people who participate are adult professional artists.
Think Again?
  • Exercises may feel routine to some with a formal art education - on the other hand it’s nice to have a reminder! 
  • If you are apt to take words very literally, you may feel some of the exercises are a major challenge. Try thinking how you can use the intent and vary the subject matter 
  • The sketches are very “sketchy”. The style is fine by me but some people who like drawings to be “realistic” might not like it. I say “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!” (NB It took me 10 years to loosen up the way I drew!) 
  • The book lacks variety in terms of different styles of drawing and sketching compared to the variety of sketches seen elsewhere in other books and other projects. Probably connected to the content having been produced by an artists’ collective (Studio 1482). 
  • Those who want to stay home and draw might not like the fact that the book includes exercises which involve getting out and about to draw and sketch 
  • Those who want to stick to one medium which makes them feel comfortable may not appreciate the challenges to their skills and techniques 
Who should buy this?:
  • Artists and illustrators who’d like to keep their drawing regular, fresh and creative 
  • People who like structured exercises to complete to create a discipline of habit 
  • People who like experimentation 
  • People who like trying and using different media and mixing media 
  • People who want to devote more time to sketching and need some ideas to get them going 
  • People who like engaging with related social media sites 
Who should not buy this?
  • Those wanting to learn how to draw - from the very beginning. I don’t think this is a beginners’ book. it assumes a lot of prior knowledge of art materials and that you will “get on and do” on your own. 
  • Those who want to take their time and draw very precisely 
  • People who like to draw using photographs - unless they want to break away from this limited approach to making art
Author: Veronica Lawlor + others (all are professional illustrators and/or art educators)
Publisher: Quarry Books (1 October 2011)
(Note: Studio 1482 artists Greg Betza, Margaret Hurst, and Veronica Lawlor are also featured in the Quarry Books release “The Art of Urban Sketching“) 
Technical data: Publication Date: 2011
Paperback - 128 pages
Available as an ebook? Yes - Kindle version available on Amazon
Also available as an ebook via iTunes for reading on an iPad 

This book will feature on a new website I'm creating.  

This is my main website about drawing books (which is currently being redesigned) The Best Books about Drawing and Sketching 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...