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Drawing Essentials A Guide to Drawing from Observation



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Oxford University Press
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This is the 2nd edition with a publication date of 12/2/2011.

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  • Drawing Essentials A Guide to Drawing from Observation
    Drawing Essentials A Guide to Drawing from Observation
  • Drawing Essentials A Complete Guide to Drawing
    Drawing Essentials A Complete Guide to Drawing


Drawing Essentials: A Guide to Drawing from Observation is designed for introductory studio art courses in drawing. An exceptional, all-in-one resource on basic drawing (non-subject specific), perspective, and figure drawing (including anatomy), with more than 500 color and black-and-white illustrations by both students and professionals, the text thoroughly covers the drawing elements that are most important at the foundation level. Award-winning artist, teacher, and author Deborah Rockman explains clearly and in depth what is essential to depicting form and space on a two-dimensional surface. Addressing and illustrating studio experiences that are not effectively dealt with in other drawing books, the text elucidates such fundamental (yet challenging) concepts and methods as sighting, scaling techniques, meaningful and descriptive line variation, observation and development of tonal structure, creation of interesting and instructive still lifes, the conceptual impact of still-life objects, the unique challenges of the human figure and portraiture, basic and advanced perspective systems, brainstorming and the generation of ideas, and the use of photographs as reference. Throughout, the author focuses on the cultivation of observational skills, increased sensitivity, critical thinking, technical refinement, and knowledge of materials. Illustrations (including many high-quality student drawings) include captions that clarify the primary technical, formal, and/or conceptual concern of each piece. The second edition includes an entirely new chapter on color theory and color drawing. Beginning with an exploration of fundamental color theory, the chapter progresses to an in-depth investigation of color drawing media, specifically colored pencils, soft pastels, and oil pastels. Each medium is discussed individually with information regarding the characteristics of the medium, information regarding student grade and artist grade materials, necessary as well as optional tools and accessories for working with the medium, advantages and disadvantages inherent in working with each medium, suitable papers and other substrates, and techniques and processes specific to each medium. 47 full-color illustrations accompany the text of this chapter to clarify the concepts being presented. The second edition also offers a division of the chapter on perspective into two chapters (the second providing more advanced techniques), new and updated illustrations throughout, 27 color additions to the appendix of artworks from 21 contemporary artists, and a new Glossary of Art Terms.

Author Biography

Deborah Rockman is Chair of the Drawing and Printmaking Programs at Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University.

Table of Contents


1. Essential Skills and Information: What Every Student Should Know About Drawing
Sighting and the Use of a Sighting Stick
The Principles of Composition: Theory versus Application
The Golden Section
Line Variation and Sensitivity
Working with Value Structure
The Illusion of Space and Depth on a Two-Dimensional Surface
The Technique of Scaling to Determine Accurate Size Relationships
Creating an Effective Still Life

2. Spatial Thinking and Visualization: The Essential Principles of Perspective Drawing
An Introduction to Perspective
The Terminology of Perspective
Perspective and Cubes
Using Perspective Grids
Increasing Complexity in the Perspective Environment
Constructing Ellipses in One-Point and Two-Point Perspective

3. Advanced Perspective Techniques
Taking Perspective to the Next Level
Mathematically Precise Cubes in Two-Point Perspective
Using Measuring Lines for Equal and Unequal Divisions of an Area
Inclined Planes in Perspective
Geometric Solids and Transparent Construction
Three-Point Perspective
Suggested Perspective Exercises

4. Essential Drawing Principles in Relation to the Human Figure
The Human Figure
Gesture Drawing or Rapid Contour Drawing
Enhancing the Illusion of Volume and Space in the Human Form
An Introduction to Portraiture
Mapping the Figure in Space
The Figure and Anatomy

5. Color Theory and Application
Understanding Color
The Spatial and Volumetric Effects of Color
Hints for Observing and Recording Color
Drawing with Color Media
Colored Pencils
Oil Pastels
Some Final Thoughts about Working with Color

6. Developing Ideas, Resolving Problems, and Evaluating Results
Ideation: Generating Ideas
Diagnosing Problems in Your Work
Intentions versus Results
The Importance of Critiques
Key Questions for Critiquing Work

7. Drawing Materials and Processes
Media and Materials for Drawing
Transfer Techniques Combined with Drawing

Appendix: Contemporary Art: A Gallery of Drawings
Glossary of Art Terms

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