Some digital sketches of clouds to experiment with different methods of construction.
For my next book review, we’re going to look at A Guide to Drawing (Fifth Edition), by Daniel M. Mendelowitz and Duane A. Wakeham.
This book is a lot more dense than your typical “How to Draw” books. In fact, it’s actually a textbook taught in college art classes.
I never went to art school, but I’ve always wanted to go beyond simple drawing books and use what a real art school student would use so I did some online searching and found the University of Missouri’s Drawing I syllabus posted helpfully online by Art Professor, Lampo Leong, PhD. Thanks, Professor!
The syllabus has a list of textbooks for the class and while they were probably all brand new at the time of the class and cost the students a pretty penny, I found them easily on eBay and Amazon for a few bucks each. Another benefit of the survey style learning I’m doing.
The syllabus suggests getting the sixth edition of the book, but having been a college student myself, I know there’s probably fuck all difference between the fifth and sixth editions, and the fifth was cheaper.
Unsurprisingly, there is currently an EIGHTH EDITION of this textbook (they discovered new ways to draw, y’all) and as of this post, the best used price on Amazon was $65, to buy it outright is $137, or you can RENT IT (lawd) for $22. The fifth edition cost me $4.
The chapter subjects are as follows:
The Nature of Drawing
Learning to See
Copying and Sketching
The book is an excellent place to start a serious study of drawing. It’s foundational, but challenging. At over 300 pages in fairly small print, there is a LOT of densely packed information here. Probably one of the most valuable parts of the book is scattered throughout each chapter in the form of drawing assignments the book calls “Projects.”
Each chapter has many Projects and every one of them are incredibly helpful practice exercises. If you want to improve, DO NOT SKIP THE PROJECTS. That goes for any instructional art book now that I’m thinking about it. At over 300 pages, 17 chapters, and typically ten or so projects per chapter, A Guide to Drawing has kept me busy for the past several months. As I went through the projects I often felt as though I was really in a college class and doing assigned homework. It’s one of those things where it’s not necessarily a ton of fun, but the end result is you really learn the material. It made me appreciate the sentiment I often hear from art school graduates; that they often felt like they were plodding through meaningless work instead of all the fun projects they envisioned creating, but left school feeling as though they really learned the fundamentals of how to create art. I think that’s one of the benefits of using a book like this as opposed to a more general one.
And also, it was $4.
Many, if not most of the projects had me practicing ideas and concepts I probably never would have on my own. Ideas like abstraction, composition, value, and perspective. The maybe, not-so-fun, parts of art that you have to get a grasp on if you want to create your best work.
Another helpful addition to the book are the Sketchbook Activities. These are not singular exercises, but overarching ideas to take into your drawing studies in the future. Things to keep in the back of your mind to keep thinking critically about how and what you are creating.
One of the aspects of this book that I found most helpful was its focus on basic concepts, sketches, and rough drawings. There’s nothing more intimidating than picking up an instructional art book filled with fully rendered, finished pieces. This book is full of rough sketches from some of the masters of art, historical and modern. It helps you see that every artist begins somewhere and every piece of art begins as something simple and approachable.
Having spent several months reading every chapter and attempting every project, no matter how unappealing they seemed, I think A Guide to Drawing was tremendously educational and I’m really glad I took the time to go through it. I highly recommend it for artists looking to build their skill of the fundamental concepts of drawing. Even artists that have been drawing for a while can benefit from the concepts and projects within. Plus, if you pick up a used copy, it’s just so darn affordable for the wealth of information it contains. I can see myself keeping it next to my desk and referring to its concepts for a long time to come. A wonderful book.
A digital sketch, done in Procreate.
I think my favorite medium will always be a simple ballpoint pen and some plain printer paper. It’s how I always got back into drawing when I hadn’t for a long time. Something is so pleasing about using materials you’re “supposed to” be doing your job with and creating something just for the sake of it..
Saw the Joker trailer and I am impressed. Had to do a quick sketch for it.
Then I got crazy and animated it and added a soundtrack. What do you guys think?
It occurs to me that for calling my comics “webcomics,” they’re not actually available to read for free on the web. So I’m going to change that.
If you head over to the Comics page, you’ll find links to read each of the Zodiac comics for free.
There are also links to Gumroad where you can purchase PDFS of each comic. Now, you don’t have to purchase anything. If you want to support to comics and help me make more…then there’s the easy way to do so.
If you haven’t seen the Zodiac series yet, I hope you check it out. If you have, thanks for reading and stay tuned for new content!
The original Twilight Zone series influence on my discovery and love of sci-fi and horror cannot be overstated. It had a HUGE impact on me. I’ve rewatched the original series many, many times. I’ve longed for a true heir to the show to appear and never had the high hopes that CBS would bring back the true Twilight Zone with Jordan Peele at the helm. I couldn’t imagine of a better inheritor of Serling’s legendary mantle than Peele.
We watched the first episode of the new season and it was fantastically done. The quality of the cinematography looks like a movie, the frequency of somewhat distorted close-up shots is wonderful and unnerving, it’s just really damn well done. The added bonus of it being on CBS All Access is a much freer creative reign to add more adult references and my absolute favorite…SWEARING. It makes me feel like I’m watching a real show made for adults, not dumbed down for the family fun time crowd. Kumail Nanjiani as the lead in the series opener was perfect and demanded a quick fan art sketch.
I already love the show so much I’m sure there will be more fan art in the future.
A sight that could be out of a post-apocalyptic story, is actually just something I saw while waiting in my car for my walmart grocery order. A minimum wage employee will bring a weeks worth of food to my car while thirty yards away two people ride up on bicycles and rummage through the trash of a nearby little caesars. Nothing separates the four of us but circumstance and a few choices.
I used a reference photo for this one. I love concept art drawings of large landscapes or cityscapes with small figures in the foreground. I envy the quiet. Probably why I enjoy so many post-apocalyptic stories. This was a simple perspective study done in Procreate.