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1. The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash
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2. Art and the Power of Placement
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3. Art & Fear
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4. Drawing on the Right Side of the
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5. A Survival Kit for the Elementary/Middle
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6. Anatomy for the Artist
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7. Fashion Design Drawing Course
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8. Painting as a Language: Material,
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9. Oil Painting for the Serious Beginner:
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10. Virtual Pose 3 (Virtual Pose)
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11. Painting the Impressionist Landscape:
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12. Chinese Painting Techniques for
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13. Perspective Made Easy
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14. Professional Painted Finishes
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15. How to Draw What You See
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16. Making Color Sing
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17. Digital Fantasy Painting
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18. Splash 8: Watercolor Discoveries
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19. From Ordinary To Extraordinary:
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20. Drawing Lessons from the Great

1. The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern
by Carol Strickland, John Boswell
list price: $22.95
our price: $16.06
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Asin: 0836280059
Catlog: Book (1992-06-01)
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Sales Rank: 11860
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent from middle school to college
This book is wonderful for several reasons:

1) clear and concise; 2) inclusive of the audience; 3) makes art very approachable; 4) places art within its historical context and development; 5) quick reference;

I was exposed to this book after taking various humanities courses and found this book great. It does a much better job of making art accessable than books like Gardner and Janson. I was impressed that the book covered a variety of bases without leaving too much out.

The tone of the work was inclusive and allowed anyone with an interest in understanding methods, techniques, personalities and history of art to do well towards approaching that goal. It does not approach art for the few with a rarefied tone nor does it talk down to the reader.

The layout of the pages are done well and have a decent flow of text and image. It does not, thank god, go into list memorization which is the downfall of some compact versions of some topics.

Highly recommended for those who play academic tournaments at the high school and college levels. The topics covered and interesting personal history found in this book will be found at all levels of play. The pricing of the paperback version will allow people to compete very well indeed.

For home schoolers/educators this book is a good survey introduction and is portable enough for museum trips.

Very few books do so well with so much material to compress. Very impressive. The only thing I could wish further is a music history version of this work.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful
I've found this book to be helpful as a teaching tool. I teach from Gardner's, but this book helps me to focus my lectures, since I can't cover absoultely everything in class.

My only gripe is that on the book flaps Strickland unnecessarily pans introductory art textbooks in order to bolster her own book, saying "The Annotated Mona Lisa isn't bogged down with convoluted theories or author's pet peeves," or jargon. Being someone who has read Janson, Gardner's and Stockstad, I can honestly say that these books are quite approachable and traditional, and can not be sweepingly characterized in that way. My feeling is that these statements may be a manifestation of her own feeling of alienation from the academic community; her work appears in some venues -- the Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, Arts and Antiques -- that aren't exactly on friendly terms with the academic world of art history. Fortunately, however, the actual text of Strickland's book does not resort to backhanded and reactionary gripes about other authors' approaches to art history.

Strickland and authors of college-level introductory textbooks have different goals and intentions. Textbooks offer a kind of engagement with the material that is essential to any comprehensive study of art history. The author does a good job of touching on key issues, but the book could not possibly serve as a replacement of introductory texts such as Gardner's, Janson, or Stockstad.

For the person with a only a casual interest in art history this book would be a very nice thing to have on hand. It would also serve well as a study aid for a student who is taking an in-depth art history course.

4-0 out of 5 stars Too much fun
Sadly, I have to thank this book for sparking my interest in art history. Now that I know more about the subject, of course, I can see how simple and inadequate "The Annotated Mona Lisa" really is, but for anyone who is grossly unfamiliar with art, as I once was, this is a fine place to start. The book's coverage of pre-Renaissance art and non-Western art is limited, but the sections on 19th- and 20th-century art are fairly thorough, and certainly entertaining--you've gotta love those gossipy stories the author throws with her descriptions of every artist.

I heard somewhere that someone read this book and then scored a 5 on the Art History AP exam without doing any other work, but having just taken the test I very much doubt this is true. Art History students might benefit from reading the chapter on modern art, since the AP doesn't require much knowledge about 20th century art movements beyond their general characteristics, which "The Annotated Mona Lisa" provides. The rest of the book, however, is guilty of dangerous oversimplification, and probably wouldn't be useful to serious students, though it is still way too much fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great source
I use the Annotated Mona Lisa in my 8th grade Art History class. Throughout my years of using it I have seen this as my most reliable source of information. Each period or movement is well introduced and there is a lot of information on each major artist. It is filled with many colorful quotes, all coming from people of the time period. Overall I consider this a great source and I recomend it to any aspiring art historians. im 14

4-0 out of 5 stars a wonderful introduction
The Annotated Mona Lisa is a fabulous introduction to the history of western art from pre-history to the Post-Modern era. Artists, movements, vocabulary, and specific works of art are all discussed in enough detail to give the reader a very good foundation. The only thing lacking is that it is oriented exclusively towards Western art. Boswell has done a marvelous job on the art of the West, its a pity attention was not given to the art of Asia, the Americas or Africa - especially considering the influence these regions have had on western art through the ages. Nonetheless, a recommended resource. ... Read more


2. Art and the Power of Placement
by VictoriaNewhouse
list price: $50.00
our price: $31.50
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Asin: 1580931480
Catlog: Book (2005-05-19)
Publisher: Monacelli
Sales Rank: 1326
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3. Art & Fear
by David Bayles, Ted Orland
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 0961454733
Catlog: Book (2001-04-01)
Publisher: City Lights Books
Sales Rank: 4865
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An artist's survival guide, written by and for working artists. The authors explore the way art gets made, the reasons it doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. ... Read more

Reviews (46)

4-0 out of 5 stars There's still the work to be done...
I agree that this is a very clearly, respectfully, and unpretentiously written book that can serve as a companion to any artist. Making art can otherwise be a lonely,daunting undertaking. My concern for readers of this book, as with readers of The Artist's Way, is that it can be a pacifier. If it gets you to your work sooner and with greater courage and confidence, all the better. But if it substitutes for the process itself--makes you feel better but does not get you "working"--then it's something to pick up but let go of. There's a growing genre of books like this out there, some (such as this one) better than others. The sage advice gets recycled, as do the homilies from famous people. And again, that's fine, as long as they get us to a place where we are working with more energy and joy, but perhaps not so fine if the internal process becomes more interesting than the art-making. Did you paint today? No. But I reread passages of Art & Fear...

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning by Doing!
Art & Fear is an easy book to rave about, but it is a particularly difficult book to write about. The authors have chosen their words so well, that it seems as if there ARE no other words with which to talk about this subject or this book. I'll try anyway, fully knowing that whatever I might say surely will not please me as much as what I have read in their pages. And this is part of the message of Art & Fear, one of the lessons to be learned - just do it and learn from it.

Art & Fear is an unpretentious little paperback, written by two lifelong friends who have been artists, as well as other things, for most of their lives. Both of them have their feet firmly rooted in the real world that we all live in (however high their ideas and ideals might fly), and both of them have keen insights into what enables individuals to produce good art and to continue to produce good art, and what stumbling blocks stop many individuals. These insights are of value to artists in any medium whatsoever, and are in fact likely to be of significant value to many individuals who don't think of themselves as artists at all. One doesn't need to be an artist to be struggling with goals that seem beyond your reach and a lack of appreciation from others; it's just a little more pervasive in the artmaking world.

Reading this book is like sitting down with the authors for a long and lively conversation. You'll learn something of them, and something of yourself, and good things are sure to come from it. I've actually found it too good to keep to myself - I'm on my 6th copy now, as I keep giving them away to friends!

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Wise
Art and Fear is the best and most inspiring book I have read for the artist. It is affirming and realistic and hopeful. I am so grateful to have discovered it.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!
I'm a screenplay writer.
Movie director Robert Rodriguez recommended this book in his commentary on DVD. So I bought it.
But it was not as good as I expected.
If you're confident about you and eager to create something, you don't need this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars I have mixed feelings about this book
First of all let me say that I am glad I read this book, I just don't know if I would do it all over again. I got a few things out of this book. There were some cool quotes from artists and some old proverbs that really hit home with me. Probably the most profound quote in the book for me was "if you chase two rabbits, you catch neither". I'm really glad I heard that one. It's also nice to have someone remind you that art isn't supposed to be perfect, art is supposed to be human and we humans are not perfect.

I'm also glad that I read some of the interesting discussions of art vs. craft and art vs. science. Their approach to explaining the differences was rather philosophical and not definitive, but it was interesting none the less since probably none of us are able to draw an exact line between those things.

However, I also have to say that I found this book very annoying and patronizing. It's full of constant reassurances as if they're speaking to someone that's got tears streaming down their cheeks and saying "I'm not sure if I can go on being an artist, boo hoo... I don't know if I have what it takes". The books tone kind of comes off like "there, there, Rome wasn't built in a day... you know what Picasso would say about this... well Mozart always said to keep your chin up!".

I also found it really annoying how the book is constantly pulling up some kind of story or lesson from a rotating selection of artists from random mediums. You'll be reading along and they'll throw in something like "Mozart used to cry for ten hours before he could even write a note" and "Ansel Adams was constantly on the verge of suicide because he felt insecure about his photography skills". Of course those aren't real quotes from the book, but they are examples of what I find annoying. I know they were writing a book about art in general and they have to throw in things about different art forms occaisionally, but it just seemed really patronizing.

Like I said I'm glad I've read it, but I probably wouldn't have if I really knew what it was. This book is for people that are very afraid and very insecure. It will give you lots of reassurance and make you feel better about yourself. However, if you are not depressed and on the verge of quitting, then I think you may find this book to be very annoying. ... Read more


4. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence
by Betty Edwards
list price: $16.95
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Asin: 0874775132
Catlog: Book (1989-05-01)
Publisher: J P Tarcher
Sales Rank: 45738
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Practical, to the point, effective and interesting!!!
This book is a must have, not only for people interested in learning how to draw but also for those interested in the psychology around the skill. The book explains really clearly how the drawing process works and develops, and how to achieve great results if you feel you don't have the natural skill. I have taken many drawing lessons and I already apply many of the principles in this book, however, I found it very refreshing and I enjoyed doing the exercises very much!!! I highly recommend it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Drawing Out Hidden Talent
When my wife, an artist, received this book recently as a gift, we both had a good laugh over it, for Emma is self-taught and extremely talented in many areas of artistic expression. Good-natured and a voracious reader, she cracked open the book and was pleasantly surprised by what she learned about herself and the way humans visually perceive things. Drawing On The Right...can't turn no-talents into featured artists at big-city galleries, but it can open the doorway between the creative mind and worried hands and allow those who "can't draw a straight line" to find delight in doing simple portraits or design where there was little aptitude for these things before. Emma thoroughly enjoyed the simple exercises and her work underwent an immediate leap towards the refinement of her style. It also helped her experiment artistically with styles she'd never explored before. I relented and read it myself, amazed at my own progress with simple line drawings and determining the placement of shadow. She'll always remain the artist, but now I can better express my own ideas on paper with brushes or graphite, sketching for my own enjoyment or giving her outlines she can flesh out for me with colors and shadows. Not entirely an instructional guide, Drawing...reads nothing like a boring textbook and ventures into fascinating studies of people who've suffered brain injury and how this affects perception. A fantastic and highly recommended book for artists (even great ones), art therapists, art teachers, beginning artists, or anyone who ever thought they had no talent or couldn't accomplish anything. This book gives hope where there was none before, can boost self-esteem, and improves near-perfection in art.

1-0 out of 5 stars 80% written text, but only 20% illustration
Betty Edwards book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" is 80% text and only 20% illustration for all 254 pages, and very few of the illustrations are from Edwards.

It is a clunky and overly intellectual approach to drawing. According to p. 46, an "alternative state of consciousness" is required before one can draw. Gee, okay, if you want to limit yourself with that, go ahead.

Otherwise, Edwards shifts back and forth (virtually without warning) between unscientific New Age rhetoric and scientific empiricism. Some scientists are quite amused, I am sure, to find Edwards describing human sight like so:

"By the most direct means your visual perceptions stream through the human system--through retinas, optic pathways, brain hemispheres, motor pathways --to magically transform an ordinary sheet of paper into a direct image of your unique response." -Betty Edwards, DRSB, p. 248

If sight is "magic" as Edwards ascertains, optometrists are not doctors, but magicians or wizards. That's very coy, but boring nonetheless, even if some very dull people need to buy a book to be informed of such trivial and highly personalized views.

With a penchant for a New Age rhetorical style of writing, it is not surprising that Edwards makes a foray into discussing "Zen" by Chapter 12, entitled, "The Zen of Drawing Out the Artist Within". It's a very corny trend in American culture, when you want to baffle the audience, just mention "zen" as though both you and they knew precisely what you are talking about, the "zen" of something. It sounds very exotic and other-worldly, similar to a science fiction book or movie where they name things with lots of X's and Z's and K's. As long as nobody questions anything, the pretending isn't a problem. After all, everyone knows precisely what you mean by "The Zen of Drawing Out the Artist Within", right? Oh sure, by all means....er....um.....

I believe the real purpose that this book was written, had something to do with...."The Zen of Drawing Money Out Of Everybody's Wallet".

5-0 out of 5 stars This book will improve your drawing immensely!
I read this book, and later took a course based on this book. In fact, the book was really all I needed. For anyone who thinks drawing is a talent you have to be born with-check out the drawings by Van Gogh included in this book. It seems Vincent was in despair and was going to give up art, until he read a book on drawing (but not this one!). The author gives a before and after example of Van Gogh drawings. The difference was amazing, and clearly shows that drawing is a skill you can learn, no matter how inept your drawing is at first. Do the tasks in this book, and while you may not draw as well as Vincent (or you may), you will be pleased with the improvement you make.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book!
I am incredibly happy to have found this book. I have just completed all the lessons (it took me about 6 months with a few breaks), and my family is amazed at how well I can draw now. I'm still amazed when I look at my "before" drawings. My improvement is as dramatic as the before and after pictures she shows in the book.

I checked out The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain from the library because I thought a new version might be more helpful. There are some parts that were explained more clearly in the New book, but it requires a lot of materials. I found it harder to stick with. It was at this point that I was almost ready to quit. I picked up the the old one again, though, and resumed the lessons. However, reading different explanations of the same concept was very helpful.

I became very frustrated because for a long time, I saw little improvement (though now I see I was pretty critical of myself). If you stick with it, you should begin to see results.

I don't think I go into "right-brain mode" every time I draw, and I was ready to give up at first because she stresses that this is the most important part. However, I have learned to draw anyway, even without fully entering into this right-brain mode. Maybe most people do experience this, but I didn't exactly as she described. Even so it teaches you the fundamentals of drawing. I took a weekend drawing class and found I knew as much as people who had taken art classes before.

I looked at other drawing books and found this one to be the easiest to follow and the most encouraging. She is very good at demystifying the process of drawing. I've heard The Natural Way to Draw is also very good, but he expects you to have access to models over a period of several months, which few people have.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks they have no talent in drawing, which is what I believed too. I'm convinced, after completing this book, that anyone could learn to draw if s/he just took the time and effort to do so. ... Read more


5. A Survival Kit for the Elementary/Middle School Art Teacher (J-B Ed:Survival Guides)
by Helen D.Hume
list price: $32.50
our price: $20.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0130925748
Catlog: Book (2002-06-07)
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Sales Rank: 14522
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This comprehensive resource provides practical information, proven management tips, and over 100 specially selected art projects to help new and veteran K-8 art teachers implement an effective art education program and make art appreciation and activities fun. For easy use, materials are printed in a big 8 ?" x 11" format with lay-flat binding for photocopying of various management aids and student project handouts, and organized into two main parts. Part 1, The Art Program, offers tested guidelines and reproducible tools for building and managing the program. Part 2, The Art Curriculum, presents 102 exciting art projects organized by medium into nine units: (1) Exploring the Elements & Principles of Design, (2) Paper, (3) Painting, (4) Drawing with Pencil, Pastels, Crayons & Markers, (5) Painting, (6) Printmaking, (7) Three-Dimensional Design, (8) Architecture, and (9) Technology: Computer, Photography, Video. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Must have for the elementary art teacher!
If you teach art to kids then this book is definately a must have for you! Although it involves more of a general overview of what age groups should be at as far as learning skills and techniques, it does give some great general ideas as far as projects for the elementary grades! Great for a teacher just starting out and looking for resources!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Art Ideas.
I have several books from Helen Hume and this one is excellent for middle school the lessons are easy to follow and once you try them you will enjoy them. If you are interested in other Helen Hume book "the art teacher's book of list", is great and the Survival Kit for the Secondary School Art Teacher. They are all full of ideas and students have lots of fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Art Teacher's Reference
As a first year art teacher in a public school setting, I had to figure out lots of strategies & purchased many reference books. None of them have been as useful as A Survival Kit for the Elementary/Middle School Art Teacher. Ms.Hume has obviously "been there." Her presentation of tips, ideas, & multicultural lessons are clear, orderly, & logical. Each lesson includes a page for the teacher (vocabulary, preperation, & alternative projects) as well as one for the student (materials, & directions). There is a section on suggestions for teaching each grade level & a list of themes based on seasons of the year rather than holidays (Bravo Helen). Hume also includes great strategies for writing lesson plans & managing classrooms. I can see this book becoming one of my most treasured (and used) resources. ... Read more


6. Anatomy for the Artist
by Sarah Simblet, John Davis
list price: $40.00
our price: $25.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 078948045X
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: DK Publishing Inc
Sales Rank: 9754
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Anatomy for the Artist is like having your own life-drawing studio in the privacy of your home. Carefully constructed photographs of the human form allow you to see the structure and function of the skeleton and main muscle groups. Six imaginative drawing lessons, each supported with photography, show how to portray the bones, head, rib cage, pelvis, hands, and feet in perspective, from different angles, both in still poses and in movement. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply fantastic!
I'm an art student taking a life drawing class, and I have looked at a number of books on anatomy and own several, most of which I find unequal to my needs. Some are geared to people in health-related fields, and some are geared to artists.

Of all the books I have seen on artistic anatomy, this is one of the absolute best. The translucent paper overlays of anatomical structures are very helpful to an artist trying to figure out how bones, muscles, and skin all fit together. Additionally, the photography is amazing, modern, and not at all cheesey. There are many different motion shots and poses depicted, and the drawing lessons and "master classes" are truly useful to any developing artist and should help people refine their skills and gain confidence in this difficult area of drawing. My only quibble: I could have done with fewer explicit shots of genitalia, but they were necessary to a book that covers its topic as completely as this one.

The bottom line is that this book is worth its weight in conté crayons.

4-0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile anatomy book
This book doesn't try to contain all the knowledge there is related to anatomy and drawing the human figure. That would take several volumes or more. It just does a few important things well. I think the main strength of this book is that it gives you an intuitive feeling for the human body's structure. It does a lot more than just list parts. It tells you how the body works, how the parts work together, and the nature of those parts. She gives you more scientific and historical information than other books generally do. The second strength is the large number of well-lit photographs of fit, lean, muscular models in many informative, useful poses. The models are pretty good for seeing the contours of muscles, bones, and connective tissues. I think the inclusuion of a few body builders might've been good too. The latter chapters of the book deal with poses and the body in motion. They include many photographs of models. I appreciated this, and it's something not a lot of anatomy books have.
As for the overlays, I didn't think they were all that important. As for the drawings of the muscles and bones, they were useful and good, but they could've been better. I would've prefered some sort of smoothly shaded renderings instead of scratchy pen & ink drawings. It would also have been nice to have the muscles in different colors so they'd be easier to differentiate. Although vellum is nice, it tends to warp from humidity and it's not transparent enough. Therefore it would've been better to make the overlays out of plastic.
While this isn't the be-all, end-all of anatomy books, I think it is one of the better books to include in your anatomy library. I have several other great anatomy books besides this one.

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent photography. Average content.
This is an interesting book in that the photography is excellent. Do you like nude bodies that are in very good shape? This one has it in excess. As one who has studied artistic anatomy for over twenty years I own just about every book written on the subject. One of the things I appreciate are sources showing surface anatomy; with models that have muscle definition. The odd thing about this book is how much could have been done with it. There are about 7 or 8 transparencys that over lay the photos. All but one of these show the skeletal detail over a photo. When I am looking at the surface anatomy of a figure and trying to determine which muscles are which, I would rather have an overlay of the muscles than of the skeleton. This must have been the decision of an editor. The drawings depicting the muscles are good, no better than what has been done. Goldfinger's Human Anatomy for Artists or Richer's Artistic Anatomy are very hard to beat. The other odd note about this book is the bibliography. It's as though the items chosen were selected for their quirky nature and not their value as a source of information. Five stars for the photography, negative two stars for the anatomical content.

4-0 out of 5 stars decent
decent book but could have had a heck of alot more poses. The book splits the body into categories which is helpfull but I would have also liked to see a whole section of various poses for study.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for serious artist
This is the best reference guide for drawing people that I have found. The poses and lighting are excellent! Most artist references on the figure show the skeleton and muscles but this book uses semi-transparent overlays so an artist can see a photo of a person then, using the overlay, see how the skeleton or muscles shape the body. A must have for any serious artist. ... Read more


7. Fashion Design Drawing Course
by Caroline Tatham
list price: $21.95
our price: $15.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764124730
Catlog: Book (2003-10)
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series
Sales Rank: 2250
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A superb reference book and an ideal instructional textbook for classroom use, this beautifully illustrated guide is organized into units that reflect required courses at leading design colleges. Twenty step-by-step exercises cover methods of finding inspiration, developing observation techniques, and creating fashion drawings in both color and black-and-white media. Separate sections are devoted to getting started and understanding figure proportions, planning and designing garments, and creating and assessing flat specification drawings. The book also features cross-references to its various art instruction techniques, a designer’s glossary, and a helpful index. This book guides students through their first steps in fashion illustration, covering everything that is presented in the best college-level courses. It makes a fine starting point for all students of fashion, introducing them to fashion drawing as a first step toward a career as a creative costumier. More than 250 illustrations in color and black and white. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars a real course in fashion design
Unlike other fashion design books, the authors do not teach figure drawing and clothing. They start out with a visit to a museum where you need to gather information, then find a theme and make four sketches. The individual lessons build upon each other so that the beginner can easily follow. The authors require you to be active, go out and find your sources of information and inspiration. You learn to do what fashion designers do: look at architecture and find ideas for a new fashion line, look at flowers and find a color scheme, etc.
The book has 24 lessons that lead the student of fashion design from the first sketch to the fashion show. It's a good book if you are looking for a guided course that helps you to improve and evaluate your designs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Important principles of fashion illustration
The book mentions the main and the important principles of fashion illustration, how to use colors and more. ... Read more


8. Painting as a Language: Material, Technique, Form, Content
by Jean Robertson, Craig McDaniel
list price: $86.95
our price: $86.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 015505600X
Catlog: Book (1999-08-30)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 93564
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Designed to address the issues of how to paint and what to paint, PAINTING AS A LANGUAGE covers a wide range of information of central importance to beginning and intermediate painting instruction. The authors emphasize the value of the student's cognitive understanding of the process and potential of painting in the student's overall progress in the studio. Blending journal writing with painting and drawing exercises, they guide the student through selecting meaningful subject matter as well as becoming adept at shaping and interpreting that material through the language of painting. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book on painting for student and professional
I can't recommend this book too highly. It is the only one I've ever seen written for the college level, containing both excellent technical information and discussion on why we paint and how to communicate with painting. Any painter who got his or her training (or no training) even ten years ago could use this book and become enthusiastic again about the contemporary approaches and choices, respectfully delineated here with no agenda! If you are baffled by what is going on in art or if you just need a refresher, you will like this excellent book. Please buy it. ... Read more


9. Oil Painting for the Serious Beginner: Basic Lessons in Becoming a Good Painter
by Steve Allrich
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823032698
Catlog: Book (1996-06-01)
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications
Sales Rank: 7544
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not for beginner's only...
This informative and insightful book is not for beginner's only.I was delightfully surprised by the subtlety and complexity offered by author Allrich. His understanding of "the process" and his passion for painting infuse this book. Although the writing style is extremely accessible, I believe that the title "...for the Serious Beginner" does not reflect the depth and richness of his instruction. A painter at any level will be able to find some insight that will gently push him/her to a deeper level of understanding and working. This is a valuable little book that offers far more than the title implies. I have returned to it again and again, and have continued to learn from it...and I am far from being a beginner. Painting is a life long passion of mine.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners only...
This informative, well written book is not for beginners only, as perhaps the title implies. I was delightfully surprised by the sublety and depth offered by author Allrich. His understanding of and obvious passion for the process of painting infuses this book. Although the writing style is very accessible, I believe that the title"...for the Serious Beginner" does not truly reflect the richness and depth of his instruction. A painter at any level will be able to gain insight that will help push him/her to the next level of understanding. This is a valuable little book that offers far more than its title implies. I have returned to it again and again, and continue to learn. Painting has been a life long passion of mine, and this book has proved to be a valuable addition to my (growing) collection of painting books.

5-0 out of 5 stars Probably the best current title for the "advanced" beginner
I purchased this relatively small book four years ago when I returned to oil painting after a long absence. I still refer to it and find the information to be exceedingly relevant to my current work.

As Allrich justly states in an early chapter, "there really is no shortcut in learning to paint." While instructional material can be helpful it often delays the student painter from the actual task at hand; putting brush to canvas. The search for the perfect book is exceeded only by the relentless quest for equipment as a contributary factor in the retardation of skill development. Having said that I must now suggest that this title is one of the few exceptions.

Most reviewers of this title will comment either favorably or unfavorably on the specific palette Allrich has chosen for his work. However, few (other than the previous reviewer who didn't like the "yellow" paintings) can argue that Allrich's work isn't beautifully rendered even if the palette is somewhat unconventional. And no one can claim that his work lacks a unified vision of diverse subject matter yielding that special emotional response that separates art from graphics. Steve Allrich is a fine artist.

Buy this book and read it (just don't skim it and look at the pictures). The information contained within it is comprehensive and often universal no matter what style of painting you're into.

While there are literaly hundreds of books on oil painting currently in the market place this small gem is one of two or three that I consider essential.

4-0 out of 5 stars A "MUST" read for the educated beginner
I cannot belive there are bad reviews written for this book... This is a great book!.
Painting is a state of being, a perspective, a way of looking at nature. Paiting is for the Judgemental and the enlightened mind. Paining is not something that you can write clif-notes about, unless done as quick reference for the experienced.
This book will not provide you with deep insight and subject matter on color because the author wants you to experience color on your own.
Color is the trademark of the artist. Because of this all photgraphs of work created by the artist are shaded with yellow.
This book as been written with taste and purpose and gives you all that you need to embark on your quest as someone who is serioulsy thinking about painting in oils or on any medium.
Two thumbs up from me.

1-0 out of 5 stars Too late too return!!!!
I wish I had read muriel Geny-Triffaut's review of 2/8/2001 ("A small book, a big disappointment...") before ordering this book. I would hope that the printing of the book was the problem and not Mr. Allrich's paintings which seem lifeless. Another thing, I am always put off by a painter who only exhibits examples of his own paintings. ... Read more


10. Virtual Pose 3 (Virtual Pose)
by Mario Henri Chakkour
list price: $34.99
our price: $22.04
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0971401047
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Hand Books Press
Sales Rank: 34150
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The next best thing to working with a live model, Virtual Pose(r) 3 provides professional and student artists with an accurate and convenient method of viewing the human form--without needing access to a live model and studio sessions.

Digital artist Mario Henri Chakkour has created a CD-ROM and companion book that features models in 70 high resolution poses, images which can be zoomed in on and rotated 360 degrees. Painters, sculptors, and other artists will welcome the opportunity to study at length each detail and subtlety of the human form, giving them a deeper understanding of shape, form, and gesture. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Model search-done
Great Reference for my art group. Love the resolution and ability to project on large plasma screen.

I look forward to another edition, perhaps with paired models. Great Job!!!! ... Read more


11. Painting the Impressionist Landscape: Lessons in Interpreting Light and Color
by Lois Griffel
list price: $29.95
our price: $18.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 082303643X
Catlog: Book (1994-05-01)
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications
Sales Rank: 17012
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Painting the Impressionist Landscape"
If you want to advance your understanding of color theory; if you want to improve your ability to see and render the effects of light on your subjects; and if you want to create better paintings, then Lois Griffel's book, "Painting the Impressionist Landscape", is just what the art-doctor ordered. For me, Lois Griffel opened the door to new ways of perceiving the world before me, and through her instruction, I discovered more sensitive and rewarding ways to express myself through my painting.

In this book "the subject is Light"; and it serves to unlock some of the mystery of the sophisticated manipulation of color by revered Impressionist Painters (like Monet). Ms. Griffel, herself a master painter and gifted teacher, presents a methodical series of lessons to guide student-artists to a heightened awareness of light, and a more effective use of color in their own painting. Each lesson is appropriately illustrated with examples of paintings in various stages of development for further understanding of the advanced ideas set forth in each chapter.

"Painting the Impressionist Landscape" is not so much a "how to paint" book, as it is a "how to see color/light, understand it, and paint it" book. It is not a book for easy reading. It is a workbook for those who want to work at seeing and painting better. This book is a masterpiece and a must for advanced artists and serious beginners alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars Closer to Seeing the Light
Artists are always striving to increase their understanding of light and the way it affects color.In her book, Lois Griffel presents straightforward and concise ways to do this. Following her directions for painting studies of colored blocks in different lighting conditions, I learned more about seeing color than I ever possibly could have on my own. Seeing the way she and others who studied with Henry Hensche at the Cape Cod School of Art bring their work to brilliant life helps me to see more and more of the light possibilities in my own work.As I go outdoors to paint the landscape now, I think back to my studies from this book, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to absorb these teachings. Thank you, Ms. Griffel!!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Book.
This is a wonderful book. Lois Griffel is a gifted artist and teacher. Every page in this book is a feast of beauty for the eye and a feast of knowledge and understanding for your mind. For anyone who wants to learn to paint in the impressionist style this is the book to own. You will study it over and over, as I have. If you are a beginner or a seasoned painter this book has much to offer. It will teach you how to see and paint light which is the great gift to the world of art from the impressionist.

5-0 out of 5 stars Painting the Impressionists Landscape
Painting the Impressionists Landscape is a must for any painter who wants to learn to see color.Lois teaches you to see and I feel this is of upmost importance in growing as a painter.Lois guides you through the exercises. I normally just let books sit on the shelf after reading them but I have USED this book. I have done the exercises and have seen the progress in my work.I refer back to it often and feel it would be an asset to any painter who is still open and wants to learn.Thanks to Lois for sharing her talent and knowledge so freely.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lushious Landscape explained
This is a most revealing book about how-to paint landscape. Griffel holds nothing back in describing how to go about what she makes appear so simple. It is the ultimate read for those who seek clarification about color, light, texture, temperature and value. ... Read more


12. Chinese Painting Techniques for Exquisite Watercolors
by Lian Quan Zhen, Lian Zhen
list price: $28.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1581800002
Catlog: Book (2000-10-01)
Publisher: North Light Books
Sales Rank: 125605
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Known for its simplicity and fluidity of line, traditional Chinese watercolors capture the essence of natural objects with a profound, unmatched beauty. Renowned artist Lian Quan Zhen shows newcomers how to paint in this loose, liberating style through a series of basic demonstrations.

Chinese Painting Techniques for Exquisite Watercolors:

* Combines classic Chinese painting principles with Western watercolor methods for breathtaking results

* Features 12 step-by-step mini-demonstrations covering everything from brushstrokes to composition

* Combines the use of ink and watercolor

Following Zhen's unique watercolor methods, artists will learn to paint entire compositions based on classic Chinese watercolor subjects, including flowers, birds and fish. Mini-demos ensure that artists will successfully render every detail, including eyes, scales, feathers, beaks, petals and more. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exquisite watercolors? A Simply Excuisite Book!

The title "Chinese Painting Techniques for Exquisite Watercolors" is, by all accounts, an understatement! Of the countless dozens of art technique books I've read over the years, this one is by far the most captivating, beautiful and unique.

Rarely have I ever been this impressed by a book on any topic, let alone one on art techniques, of which I'm generally rather critical. I'm so used to art books that leave too much information lacking, are unoriginal, show sloppy technique, or simply cannot keep my interest, that this book left me salivating for more! It is truly an exception!

The author, Lian Quan Zhen brings to life an interesting blending of Chinese painting techniques and Western watercolor methods to create a style of painting that is simply, well... exquisite!

The author begins by covering the basic tools and techniques of Chinese painting, from materials and supplies, to mounting of completed paintings. He covers the difference between Chinese paints and watercolor paints, painting in ink, and even shows the *correct* way to hold a paint brush!

Zhen goes on to give one of the best explanations of effective painting composition that I've seen yet. He covers everything from linear perspective and establishing the focal point of your painting (which he refers to as 'establishing priority'), to geometric organization of objects in arcs, circles, triangles, rectangles and s-shapes, and provides clear examples of each.

Next, the author beautifully conveys the three basic styles of Chinese painting, which he identifies as "detail-style" (gongbi), "spontaneous" style, and a blending of the two which he simply calls "half-detail, half-spontaneous," and throughout the book he gives many beautiful examples, and techniques for creating each of them.

Through the rest of the book, Zhen shares the creation of many beautiful compositions, not only in Chinese ink, but also in watercolor using many of the techniques he uses in his Chinese paintings, and showing how the two different methods can be used to create very original, beautiful works of art.

I cannot recommend this book more to anyone with an interst in watercolor, but I must warn that once you see this book, its very likely you will be equally drawn to Chinese painting.

As for myself, and my growing addiction to Chinese painting techniques, I've now traded in several hundred dollars for a plethora of Chinese art supplies, and I couldn't be happier!!

Many thanks to Lian Quan Zhen, for sharing his uniquely beautiful approach to painting with the rest of us, and for introducing me to a brand new way of looking at a blank sheet of paper, particularly xuan paper!

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book!
I am a beginner watercolorist and I found this book to be a great help! It is so easy to understand and follow.

5-0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL BOOK!
Not only do you get detailed instruction and easy to understand illustrations with complete list of supplies, you have a beautiful picture book as well! Great addition to your art book library!

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Teaching, Beautiful Art
This is one of the clearest and easiest to follow beginning art books that I have ever read. The author manages to weave together traditional, modern and improvisational oriental brush art and watercolor in a practical useful guide. Early in the book, the author gives a detailed guide to mounting sumi-e style paintings made on shuan or rice paper. I haven't found a better mounting guide in any other book. The step by step pictures for mounting rice paper paintings is priceless. In the latter half of the book, the author describes his watercolor techniques and tools. I found this section useful. He emphasizes that you don't need hundreds of colors and dozens of brushes. Beautiful results can be realized on a very modest budget. Too often, beginning watercolor artists spend hundreds of dollars before they even paint a single picture. You don't have to and this book vividly demonstrates that. It is a superb teaching tool and I highly recommend it to student and teacher.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eastern Painting Meets West
Born and raised in China, the author, Lian Quan Zhen was trained as a physician who later emigrated to the U.S. Now living in California he holds workshops demonstrating his breathtaking approach to Chinese painting. The author's mastery ranges from strict traditional Chinese painting to combining these methods and style with some Western watercolor techniques.

In the process of "oohing" and "ahhing" over this book I learned many fascinating facts about Chinese paintings. For example, the inks/watercolors are made of plants and minerals and use glues as the binder. I also learned that the papers used for Chinese painting require a different stretching and preparation method than I'm used to for Western-style watercolors. The author also covers the differences between Western brushes and Chinese/Japanese brushes.

Mr. Zhen lists and explains the 6 Laws of Painting that were first formulated by Hsieh Ho of the Eastern Tin dynasty (317 - 420 A. D.) Along the way I learned some interesting historical facts on the evolution of painting in China during the different dynasties. The 3 styles of painting are introduced and later discussed. These are: Detail, which is what a beginner first learns. Spontaneous, also known as the Scholar Style, which is learned much later. And finally a mix of the preceding two which the author simply labels Half-Detail/Half-Spontaneous. Composition explained some of the traditional designs used. S-curve, C-curve, balance and weight, etc. Calligraphy and chops (a type of sigil-mark) are as important as the artwork to the final design.

The rest of the book explores in detail both mini-demonstrations and full step-by-step demonstrations of full paintings in Mr. Zhen's style. He effortlessly moves between traditional Chinese painting to combining it with western watercolor techniques. The result is breathtaking. The subject matter for the paintings are landscapes, birds, goldfish and Koi. There are chapters showing how to sketch and paint each of the animals listed above as well as backgrounds. And this only scratches the surface of the information and how-to's detailed. Anyone getting this book not only gets a great foundation in Chinese painting but also some interesting historical facts which makes it even more fun to read. ... Read more


13. Perspective Made Easy
by Ernest Norling
list price: $8.95
our price: $8.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486404730
Catlog: Book (1999-04-21)
Publisher: Dover Publications
Sales Rank: 27210
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Perspective is easy; yet surprisingly few artists know the simple rules that make it so. Now they can remedy that situation with this step-by-step book, the first devoted entirely to clarifying the laws of perspective. Using over 250 simple line drawings, the author leads the reader through every important concept, from horizon to vanishing point to the crucial relationship of eye level to perspective drawing. 256 illus.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Easy to Understand
Good, solid, workmanlike explanation of perspective, described step by step. Plain language, no wasted words. Clear drawings. Do the assignments, it's like taking a class you'd pay $350 for. I've tried to learn perspective from other books, but they were too complicated. This is THE classic. Every illustrator needs it. I use this knowledge every day.

5-0 out of 5 stars The one book on perspective you¿ll ever need.
For a book first published in 1939, Norling's "Perspective Made Easy" is still the authority on perspective. This concise book contains in roughly 200 pages and 256 illustrations all you'll ever need to know about perspective drawing. In twenty masterfully organized chapters, from simple to complex, the author explains the basics and not so basics of perspective drawing. He includes suggestions on how to make your drawing more simple, drawing methods for observation and space division, a Remember section at the end of each chapter in which he summarizes the most important information and principles presented in that chapter, and a Problems section with exercises that will help you apply what you just learned. One of the best rewards of this book comes in its last chapters where the author covers perspective drawing for a great number of regular and irregular figures like a sphere, a cone, ovals, circles, lamps, cars, etc. With this the author goes many steps beyond all those other books out there that only teach you how to draw cubes and square buildings.

The book may be a bit repetitive at times, but this is not annoying at all, it just makes the author sound as if he was teaching a class in school or college, and it helps you to easily remember the most important information presented. After reading this book my understanding of perspective and the perspective in my drawings have improved 100%. If you follow his teachings and exercises you will learn how to determine the perspective you need to apply to your drawing, whether you are drawing in the field or using photographs as a model, and you will soon start making your drawings look solid, deep and proportionate.

If you are only getting one book on perspective, get this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction for beginning artists!
I bought this book because Andrew Loomis (Figure Drawing For All Its Worth) recommended it. I'm glad I followed his advice. If you are going to own only one perspective book, then this is it. However, if you're an interior designer, architect, engineer or draftsman then looks elsewhere since this book's primary audiences are freehand artists.

This is one of the few books out in the market that exactly delivers what it says on the back cover. And it's a reprint from 1939!

I'd give this book a rating of more than 5.

5-0 out of 5 stars EZ to Understand, Priceless Improvement in my Drawings
I can highly recommend this handbook to anybody who likes to draw. Through small, easy to follow steps, with illustrations for each step(!), this classic author makes this highly misunderstood topic become CRYSTAL CLEAR!

You can follow along, drawing each step, or just read through the book, (like I did), and you will still find yourself applying these techniques that make your drawings much more realistic and accurate looking.

In the introduction, the author says that we should not FORCE our drawings to fit into any rigid rules of perspective, but after reading this book, I find that I don't have to force the perspective rules, I can just subtly apply them as I go about my drawings.

The author has very nice, cute, and simple illustrations of his own, to show what he's talking about in each step of the process of understanding perspective correctly. This makes the book feel very user-friendly.

This book covers a lot of ground and information, but if you take your time and start at the beginning, you will reap big results with your own improved drawings.

Comparing price to benefit, this is easily the best value of any art technique book that I have ever purchased. Buy with confidence, this book amazing!

5-0 out of 5 stars Very useful book
A very well written easy to follow book on what can be a complex subject. It is very inexpensive and my favorite of several I own on the subject. The Author gets right to the nuts and bolts of drawing in perspective. If you want the basics this book is for you. ... Read more


14. Professional Painted Finishes
by Ina Brosseau Marx, Allen Marx, Robert Marx
list price: $45.00
our price: $28.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823044181
Catlog: Book (1991-09-01)
Publisher: Whitney Library of Design
Sales Rank: 87675
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

One lovely feature of this volume is that it shows the real material that inspired different faux finishes next to the excellent painted imitations. After extensive coverage of all aspects of getting started (tools and materials, preparation, safety concerns, and design and color considerations), and of working with glazes, there are dozens of detailed recipes for various marble and graining effects. The final chapter, "Professional Practice," explains how to set up your own decorative-painting business, including assembling a portfolio, identifying and reaching your market, financial planning, calculating rates and expenses, preparing samples, organizing the workspace, and working with clients. You'll even find a prototype contract and a checklist of supplies to bring on the job. Those who want to produce spectacular faux-finish results will learn a lot from Professional Painted Finishes. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good variety
I liked this book because it contained great illustrations and it also had helpful information about the business side of faux finishing. The text is compact, so each page contains alot of data.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb book - Knowledge of teaching & Painting -
Great book for all levels.
Ina and Allan Marx run a great faux finishing school that has spawned this great book. Complete
and through it a bible for novice to expert painters. Not only do they teach you the technique, but alos
how to "look and see" the item you are painting from nature. They are true professionals and
above all both are excellent teachers. I have taken their classes, and as there is no substituion for
taking one of their classes, this book is a great how to guide if you can't take one.
Excellent. Their knowledge of teaching and superb knowledge of faux painting marry in this books.

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential for the serious artist.
I have a library full of books on painting techniques but this and the Finklestein book are the two that I consider "must haves." While most new books on decorative finishings repeat and repeat and repeat . . . the same pedestrian information on faux treatments, these give much more indept information on the techniques involved.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very throurogh, great high quailty painted finishes
This is a wonderfully thorough book on creating the highest quality specialty painted finishes. It is advanced enough for the serious decorative painter while the instructions are detailed enough to allow the amateur or novice to try these techniques with outstanding results. The interior designer will also find it to be a valuable source book for fresh exciting design ideas.

Overall, the projects are more sophisticated and time-consuming than those in most books. A great deal attention is paid to tiniest details that make these finishes really stand out. The instructions are excellent, showing you how to create each finish step-by-step with a complete text description and demonstrative photos. Complete material and supply lists and recipes accompany each project.

The book starts out with the basics such as materials, safety, surface preparation and finishing coats. The glaze section is next with information on multi-layer glazing, novelty effects and techniques for glazing in small and large areas. There is great chart of problems and solutions and another on how tools affect glazing as well.

The simulation of marble and stone follows. Here the author talks about the formation and replication of stone before going on to the projects, which include fifteen marble and stone types such as malachite, granite, red levanto and French grand antique.

The section on graining is fantastic. It contains the most in-depth information on graining I have found anywhere. There is an analysis of patterns, a discussion of color, techniques for creating knots, troubleshooting section and color swatches of straight gained wood styles. There are over 20 wood types covered. Some include American oak, Brazilian rosewood, orientalwood, burl and birds-eye maple.

The final section of the book talks about setting up a professional practice. It contains financial planning, estimating, sample-making and much more. The appendix gives a great list of sources, lists English and metric equivalents and has a nice glossary of terms. If you want to create truly professional looking finishes, this is the book to get.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "MUST HAVE" for faux painters! Great for beginners & pros
Excellent examples and how-to's for faux finishes. Even though it uses oils, the techniques for application can be used for water-based paints, but remember, oils give much more depth and translucency than water-based. I, now, use water-based paints in my business and still refer to this book. Book details TECHNIQUES step-by-step with beautiful color PICTURES, gives MATERIAL LISTS & PAINT COLORS. ALSO,includes chapter on building a professional BUSINESS. Another plus to this book, is it is one of the few that discusses the polishing and finishing of the work. Good price from Amazon also. ... Read more


15. How to Draw What You See
by Rudy De Reyna
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823023753
Catlog: Book (1996-09-01)
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications
Sales Rank: 10180
Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars Starts out well enough but loses momentum
The beginning of this book and the idea behind it are simple and straightforward: behind every object you see there is some "skeletal" figure made of simple geometric shapes - the cube, the cone, the cylinder and the sphere. If you know how to draw these and string them together you can in theory make any drawing you want. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is. Only the book doesn't fully realize its potential.
The first part of the book which deals with these basic shapes, how to draw them, shade them, etc ... starts out well enough. But by the time the author reaches the more advanced subjects, such as drawing nature, portraits and the human figure the book degenerates into yet another book filled with the author implicitly saying, "look at how well I can draw!", filling pages upon pages with finished, beautiful drawing a beginner can never hope to achieve. For example: when discussing feet and hands, the author provides two drawings of the foot and briefly tells the student he should observe the foot and note its proportions. Really? And I thought I should stand on my head and sing the star spangled banner. Sorry for the sarcasm, but that is not an acceptable way of teaching how to draw the foot.
Another example: when discussing figure drawing the author does not explain the figure's anatomy. Rather he says how he has followed his 14 years old daughter around the house and drew her in various natural positions. The reader is then presented with the final sketches, which by the way are very beautiful sketches. How did he achieve them? What are the principles he followed? How should one go about practicing sketching people? That the book does not reveal.
It seems to me the main problem of this book is that it tries to do too much - portraits, still life, landscapes, charcoal, wash, all in one short book? The more topics you choose to cover, the less space you can devote to each. I think it would have been much better had the author devoted more space to basic issues such as perspective, shading and textures, rather than rush headlong into complex topics. As it stands I cannot be sure whether it is intended for absolute beginners or advanced students.
In short, this may be a good source for inspiration or for tips for people on many levels, but definitely not your main source of information.

5-0 out of 5 stars A good reference, and overall view of drawing
This is a good reference. The figure drawing section is well developed and good for the beginner. The book covers Still Life, Landscape, Perspective and Composition, Lighting, and Materials and various strokes/charcoal, pencil, etc. The foundation of the methodology in this book is its use of geometrical shapes (cones, cubes, triangles), reminiscent of Luca Cambiosa in the 16th Century. Then the book moves on to more advanced drawing/painting with Wash, Opaque, Acrylics and Ink. It's a good buy at this price, and a welcome addition to the artists shelf. [But if you're into Figure Drawing, also see #1 "Art of Drawing" -Willy Pogany, #2 "How to Draw The Human Figure" -Famous Artists School, and #3 "The Figure" -Walt Reed] Any of these figure drawing books, combined with "HOW TO DRAW WHAT YOU SEE" makes for an excellent combination in the home library.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Edwards' "Drawing on the Right Side ..."
This book isn't nearly as user-friendly, informative, or practical as Betty Edwards' classic, the new edition of "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." I'd advise getting that instead of this one.

2-0 out of 5 stars Drawing Drugdery
If you are an uncommonly patient and detail oriented person, who has a high threshold for tedium, this is the book for you. Yes it does go over basic shapes, etc. Chances are, if you are trying to learn out of a book and not making the commitment to take some art classes or find an instructor, then you will likely get bored drawing pages and pages of geometric shapes. ( I would also clarify that you are likely to get bored with this even if you take a class.)

Some art instructors are like drill sargeants and will bully their students through weeks of these sorts of drills. While they have merit, almost everything has some merit, the student who is just beginning on their own, or hobbyist is likely to find these drills discouraging.

A series of warm up sketches, getting a feel for the whole page and learning to work the page altogether is a much better start, while keeping in mind, shading and proportions, which you no doubt learn through so many other beginner exercises. Immersing oneself in these geometric grinds at the start is unnecessary self sacrifice, similar to learning to drive by starting with a class in how to change the valves on its motor.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Very Good for the complete newbie
I found the first few chapters to be pretty good but the drawings were too advanced for a complete beginner like me.
Well it's not that a beginner can't do them it's just that they take FOREVER to complete correctly. I felt better having some initial success and building confidence on much less complex and complete drawings like some other books do. It does do a good job of explaining shading though which is why I gave it the 3rd star, it's worth the 11 bucks but is more useful in addition to several other beginner books on the subject, I would read the first few chapters and practice them then do another beginners book and come back for the last few chapters a few months later if I could doit all over again. ... Read more


16. Making Color Sing
by Jeanne Dobie
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823029921
Catlog: Book (2000-04-15)
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Pubns
Sales Rank: 30111
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Through clear, illuminating exercises, this best-selling book stimulates new ways to think about color, generating responses that unlock personal creativity and allow artists to express themselves with paint as never before.Readers are shown how the interplay of complementary hues can trigger vibrations; how the push and pull of warm and cool colors can create a feeling of space; how to disguise one color in a scene to accent another; and many more tidbits of colorful advice. ... Read more

Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must-Read for any watercolorist
The talented Jeanne Dobie does a lot of her work in the sun-drenched Florida Keys. While there are many good books on color and pigment, Dobie explains how light in a painting scene shifts moment by moment and how you have to be ready to capture that brilliant moment with the right palette.

The book gives advice on which colors to put in a limited palette for brilliance. (As anyone who has done watercolor even for a short time knows, there are hundreds of colors available, but when you MIX them, sometimes you get a flat, dull result that looks like mud on the paper.) Choosing a limited and CORRECT palette for the painting you are going to do is one of the most critical steps after creating the composition. Dobie includes important facts about which paints stain the paper (and cannot be lifted up again), which are transparent and can be used as a wash or glaze, and which paints are opaque. And if you follow the "purist" rule of no white paint, you learn how to leave the whites (use the paper for brilliant whites) and no black paint (which causes a visual hole in the paper.) Instead, Dobie shows the student painter how dark colors like brown or a visual black can be mixed that still look luminous and interesting on the paper. This is a very difficult technique to master--shadow detail can make or break a painting.

I disagree with one of her points, however, on mixing greens. While it is true that green pigments direct from the tube are far more brilliant and transparent than any you can mix, I find certain mixed greens from yellows and blues to be subtle for shadowed foliage, and sometimes the pure paint greens are jarring and unnatural to me. I tried to follow this "use unmixed" greens rule, and I end up mixing mine anyway, though I own many shades of green paints.

Of course, the best part of the book are the paintings. These are inspiring to the reader, but this author can also write and explain herself well. This book should be a standard on any watercolorist's shelf.

5-0 out of 5 stars 'Making Colors Sing' - Excellent!!!
'Making Colors Sing' by Jeanne Dobie is a reference book every watercolorist should own. This book is a helpful resource that can be read over and over again to examine color theory in depth. For anyone who would like to reach new levels in their paintings using color, Jeanne Dobie takes you on an adventure in color techniques and beyond with each exciting chapter. Her pictures are absolutely beautiful and she successfully achieves her goal in 'Making Colors Sing'. I only wish this book was available in hardcover because I am wearing my paperback version out! I look forward to the next book Jeanne may write on watercolor or art technique. This book was very helpful. Thanks a million.

1-0 out of 5 stars Book is Excellent But Needs Updating
Jeanne Dobie's book was recommended in the watercolor class I took and at first when I looked at the pictures I was not interested as I do not care for Dobie's style as illustrated in the book and would never buy the book based on her work. However, after borrowing the teacher's copy I began reading the text and found the information valuable and useful after trying the suggested exercises. Dobie's book along with Tom Hill's The Watercolorist's Complete Guide to Color combine as excellent references for learing to use color pigments and making colors "sing" instead of making mud.

I am giving Dobie's book 1 instead of 5 stars as it seriously needs updating considering some of the pigments Dobie uses are not lightfast and the inclusion of more modern pigments that replace these non-lightfast pigments would be useful all considering the book was first published in 1986, which is 18 years ago. The lightfast references I am going by are Hilary Page and Michael Wilcox's books analyizing watercolor pigments.

Aside from Dobie's use of some outdated pigments (see handprint.com) the book is an excellent reference and her advice as to color mixing valuable.

5-0 out of 5 stars outstandingly clear
Like the brilliant hues in her examples, Ms. Dobie's book is outstandingly clear and strong. Her logical, step-by-step examples give the lie to the notion that creative people can't explain their gift. She doesn't need to write another book because this says it all, but such an inspirational work makes you want to hear more. This book has prompted me to cull from my library books by other authors that now look dull after experiencing Making Color Sing.

5-0 out of 5 stars She Tells You What's Behind The Magic
I am a learning watercolor artist and I read many books on the subject. This is one of a handful that I find to be particularly informative. While most art instruction books tell you what to do and how to do it, Jeanne Dobie patiently explains why. In other words, she tells you what is behind the magic.

For example, she says that you cannot get a good green by mixing any yellow and any blue, because, a yellow such as cadmium yellow contains some red and a blue such as ultramarine also contains some red, and the presence of red in green (the hoped-for color), which are complements on the color wheel, yields gray. Thus the resulting green is very muted. Explanations such as this are invaluable to me, because the underlying reasons she gives completely convinces me that she is right and the knowledge is extensible to other color combinations.

There are many such gems of knowledge in this book. Jeanne Dobie teaches you how to create not just contrast, but a "singing" combination of colors, and how to mix your own blacks and your own whites to achieve much more nuanced presentations. And there is much more.

Admittedly, some artists do not feel bound by these "rules" of color and can still produce very good art. Charles Reid comes to mind. For the rest of us, the wisdoms Jeanne Dobie shares in this book are an important part of an artist's knowledge base. ... Read more


17. Digital Fantasy Painting
by Michael Burns
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823015742
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications
Sales Rank: 380041
Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There's a powerful fascination in creating fantasy characters andtheir bewitching environs on the computer screen. Written for anyone who works- or plays-in 3D graphics, Digital Fantasy Painting supplies a treasury of testedtechniques that can be applied to any illustration software package.This extraordinary resource is packed with dozens of step-by-step exercises fordesigning photo-realistic 3D creatures and their strange worlds. Readers willsee how to produce simple human skin and bone textures, as well as an entirehost of ethereal creatures such as ghosts, spirits, robots, and cyborgs. They'lldiscover how to design realistic atmospheric effects as well as capture thesurreal world of nightmares, futurescapes, and planetscapes. Computer artistswill also find tested techniques for modeling, surfacing, staging, and lightingas well as creating water, glass, and other true-to-life motion effects. Digital Fantasy Painting features a dazzling showcase of the very best fantasyartwork, complete with dozens of tips, examples, and shortcuts that help put thecreative process on the fast track. Plus, a special section outlines the myriadsoftware illustration packages available on the market today.For graphic designers, fans of fantasy and science fiction art, and anyone elsewho wants to try their hand at creating incredible creatures on their computerscreen, here is a definitive one-stop resource. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good for beginners
This book mostly contains some step by step screen shots. The book talks mostly about using photoshop as a tool for texturing, and painting. It goes a little bit in other 3d programs such as Maya, 3d max, and Poser. But only covers a few modifiers or special effects. There is no real indepth explanation. As someone who works with 3d max and photoshop, I only recommend it if you are a beginner. The instruction are more like tips here and there.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for any digital artist's collection
How this book slipped under my nose for so long is amazing. I just recently found it and the book contains some amazing artwork. True, a lot of the book is just gallery work and the "step-by-step" section is more of a step-by-step overview of how certain effects were created. If someone is looking for a how-to book, this isn't the one. The interesting part is that the book fails to focus on any singular 3D app. One masterpiece may be done with poser, another with Lightwave, another with 3D max, another done strictly with photoshop, and yet another may use multiple application.

It truly opens your eyes on the quality available with soem of the apps. This book belongs on your shelf alongside the other non-app specific titles like Digital Lighting and Rendering and Digital Texturing and Painting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Well Done
Despite the other reviews, I found this book a worthwhile buy as a beginning digital artist. It does not provide an in depth explanation of every program in it, however, it shows a wide variety of artwork from various fantasy artists and gives basic tutorial steps and multiple tips. The work can be found online with some of the tutorials admittedly, but I found it very handy to have good examples and techniques for work sitting in front of me rather than clicking back and forth between multiple online tutorials and whatever program I was working on.

I am not familiar with 3d programs yet but this book gives examples of many different programs and gave me an idea of what programs I might like to try later. The tutorials were comprehensible and easy to follow as well as showcasing a variety of styles. They were not just sketch-detail sketch-end product the way that I've found many other tutoral books to be. Instead it shows the layering and painting process with each of the pieces, which is exactly what I was looking for. If you want nitty-gritty details, I suggest buying the "bible" for whatever program you want to find out more about. There's only so much you can do in a 160 page book, especially if you want an index and title page and whatnot ^.~

1-0 out of 5 stars Visit a Web Gallery, Save Yourself Some Money
I was kind of rushed when I bought this book so I chanced it figuring I could return it later.

This book has no substance to it beyond what you can already find on the web. It just goes through basic "I did this, then that, then the other thing." No indepth look at any creation. I've found crap tutorials on the web with more information.

The gallery at the back is available on the web pretty much. One of the featured artists in it posts his work on forums I happen to moderate. I can see other works of similar caliber on the various community web sites.

One editorial note is I saw WAY too much Poser and Bryce work in this book which took away a LOT of credibility with me. I am sorry but those programs are not artist tools but cookie cutters. Tools would be Alias|Wavefront Maya, discreet 3ds max, and so forth. I think artists who take the time to learn those high-end programs deserve placement in books. Not someone who clicked a few presets and got an instant human.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Mediocre Book of Pretty Pictures No Substance
This book is full of nice images, if I can say so it is more a gallery of Digital Fantasy Art then a training book, the editorial review is a little misleading. It is not a training nor lesson book, it is a Tip book only. For instance there will be a picture on the page and the author will explain 1-2 tips on how they created the light for that particular piece, nothing extraordinary. Not only that, but most of the images and "tutorials/tips" can be found on the internet. All you have to do is do a search on Epilouge or search other digital art sites etc. and you will find many of the images that are in the book.

The author's details about hardware and computers are mundane and "filler up" material. The target of this book is for beginners only. Other skill levels will want something of more substance.

If you are wanting a book that will learn you how to digital paint try Don Seegimiller's book, create compositions, image effects you will not receive this from this book, only a smattering of tips, which are good, but not detailed enough. Books like these should be giving tips that are rare and unknown, not re-hashing tips the reader already knows. ... Read more


18. Splash 8: Watercolor Discoveries
by Rachel Rubin Wolf
list price: $32.99
our price: $20.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1581804423
Catlog: Book (2004-08-01)
Publisher: North Light Books
Sales Rank: 19871
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Book Description

There's nothing more inspiring than a glimpse into the artistic lives of the country's best contemporary watercolor painters. With page after page of gorgeous artwork covering every conceivable subject matter, Splash 8: Watercolor Discoveries:

* Showcases nearly 140 paintings by about 100 top artists from around the country

* Gives readers takeaway advice with every piece of artwork--these "discoveries" cover both practical and creative breakthroughs made by the featured artists

* Includes popular mixed-media work, as well as translucent watercolor

Whether they're art lovers or full-fledged painters, readers won't want to miss the latest installment in this popular series! ... Read more


19. From Ordinary To Extraordinary: Art & Design Problem Solving
by Ken Vieth
list price: $21.95
our price: $21.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0871923874
Catlog: Book (2000-06-30)
Publisher: Sterling Publishing
Sales Rank: 40324
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

These dynamic teaching ideas and projects will stimulate interest in a range of media—and motivate students to find highly individual solutions to visual problems. Place everyday objects in new, eye-opening contexts; increase skills; challenge young artists to reflect on their place in the world; and encourage teamwork.
... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing!
I was lucky enough to meet ken at an art educator conference in NJ and he is not only an amazing speaker, but an extraordinary teacher. In this book he turns run of the mill art lessons into thought provoking challenges. They truely make students think outside, around, in and out of the box. These are lessons that i can't wait to use with my senior art students next semester.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book
i have rencently been lucky enough to meet the author of this book at an art educators conference, and he is a creative genius. This book is one of my favorites to use with my advanced studio classes. The ideas are innovative and thought provoking. It is a refreshing change from the run of the mill lessons done in many art classes. I highly recommned buying this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Seeing the ordinary as extraordinary
Creating a piece of art can sometimes be a daunting task, the moreso since a great idea for the next project is not something that can be turned on and off like a faucet. That's where a book like this becomes a priceless little gem. Although primarily targeted for K-12 art teachers it gives fascinating project ideas that any artist will find helpful. Throughout the book both 2D and 3D art projects and ideas are given and illustrated with students work throughout.

The entire goal of the book is to open student's eyes to seeing everyday things, people and places around them with new eyes and then bringing that experience to life. Things as simple as popcorn or a coffee mug find new life as transformed objects or drawings. Lessons in composition, color, sculpture and meaning are but a few things discussed in detail. Each chapter shows many pieces of art demonstrating how students worked on a particular problem posed by the teacher. A list of suggested supplies is provided so the reader may create their own work from the project discussed. For example, one project was "Expressing Music in Visual Language". For anyone interested in ideas for new artwork this book would be a worthy investment.

5-0 out of 5 stars From simple to amazing
An excellent book with faboulous ideas and lessons. I find this book to be very helpful. Ken Vieth ideas involve not only the visual arts but the historic arts as well. His book help students to think creatively and gives them the opportunity to make their ideas come true. He gives the teacher different options and educators can take his ideas to a next level by expanding his techniques.

5-0 out of 5 stars Works for me!
I am an Art Teacher with 25 years experience. I ordered this book because of its title. I have used several of the projects and techniques with great success so far. I can highly recommend all aspects of the book, from the logic and ideas to the famous "rubric on page 34". Cheers to Ken. ... Read more


20. Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters
by Robert Beverly Hale
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823014010
Catlog: Book (1989-08-01)
Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications
Sales Rank: 16172
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars A necessary book for advancement
This may not be the very best "first" book of drawing instruction, but it ranks among the books that any figure-drawing student must eventually study. When some satisfactory skill is achieved, read Hale. Hale is definitely not for the "drawing on the right side of my ambition" crowd.

Hale's credentials speak for themselves, and his work places him far beyond the herd of drawing authors that rely upon gimmicks such as catch-phrases such as YOGA, or ZEN, RIGHT-BRAIN, or INNER THIS or INNER THAT, in the title to push bland intruction to increase sales. Rather, Hale's work is striking because it reflects the singular focus of an artist who can teach figure drawing without mis-directing the student with irrelevancies.

Hale is also humble, in that he directs the student to genuine Masters of drawing: Durer, Rembrandt, Cambiaso, Rubens, Bruegel, da Vinci, Degas, and Carracci, rather than filling a book with his own drawings. He writes, on page 33:

"BY SIMPLY DRAWING A CUBE, you can understand some of the significance of line in creating the illusion of reality."

That is so refreshing because it stands in diametrical opposition to the DRAW-WHAT-YOU-FEEL genre of instruction which has become the fashion of the day. FIVE STARS is deserved.

5-0 out of 5 stars michelangelo ,leonardo beware!
this is a wonderful must buy book by robert beverly hale , renowned art teacher,his understanding of the works of the great masters is truly astounding. what you can get from this book? all artists who wish to become masters of drawing the human figure can find a system to grade yourself for your entire lifetime compared to the great masters.that means you will never be easily satisfied by your own work, and you have the luxury of studying from a vast collection of drawings from almost all the well- known figure artists of the last six hundred years.each artist has his own strength and weakness . hale has very intelligently pointed out the strengths but misses out on the weaknesses thats where you got to have many more books on anatomy and drawing to cross refer and also finally you have to try identifying these strenghts and putting them down in your style while doing life drawing or imaginary drawing. you have to understand that we are at an advantage compared to all the artists featured in this book(even though hale would like you to beleive otherwise) because of the vast resources available to us in the form of great master works and anatomy books ,medical and artistic.buy this book and chart the path to great figure drawing. finally i beleive that its possible to acheive unparalled success at figure drawing through regular training in a systematic manner.anyone with any questions can email me .im an animator and an advanced student of figure drawing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hale is a Master teacher
As an artist that did not go to art school, I have constantly searched for instructional books only to be disappointed in finding stupid books written for people who are not serious about art and have no discipline. All of Hale's books, especially this one, are supremely intelligent and extremely insightful. after reading his book you'll gain insight to judge good drawing from a bad ones, a skill every serious artist should strive to have. Hale will help you see drawing in a new light and send you on your way to growth. Since he uses drawings by artists such as Raphael, Tintoreto, Rembrandt and Rubens, you'll be learning from the masters themselves, not from some mediocre artist. The only negative about the book, if it can be called a negative, is that after 100 drawings you want more. I learned more from this one book than through all the art books I have read before, and more than almost all the art classes I have taken, put together.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not a "how to"; but a reference book
Robert Beverly Hale's "Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters" certainly deserves 5 stars. It even comes at a 5-Star price; but I must point out that it is essentially a reference book of master drawings rather than a "how-to" book for those learning to draw. It is not, per se, an "instruction" book on "how-to-draw". With that proviso, I would not be without this reference, if I wanted to be informed of the great masters.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing on many levels; plausible for the serious artist
This is an extroardinary study of the anatomical knowledge and ideas implemented by the greatest (anatomically informed)figure drawers artists of all time. It is quite inticing and the author is obviously intelligent enough to handle the analyzations of the pictures supplied, but the tips and exercises involved would be fit for somebody who views drawing as more than a hobby (for in that case one might be discouraged by the incredible extent of the anatomical knowledge of the "Great Masters"). ... Read more


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