Book Review: Compendium of Drawing Techniques, Donna Krizek

As I don’t have that much experience with different drawing techniques, I picked up a couple of books from my local library.  One of which was a compendium of drawing techniques by Donna Krizek.  The book covers topics such as: tools and materials, sketching and drawing techniques, working with your subject and commissions and display.

The book begins with the very basics of drawing like how to hold a pencil, how to sit whilst drawing, how to use an easel, different types of pencil and drawing media.  As I have quite a few different media at home already that I have experimented with I skipped through the first few pages fairly quickly but I did appreciate the vast array of examples the book included.  The book is less of a step by step approach but more a lot of different ideas that you could use to produce different types of drawing.  Useful for my study on texture was page 20-21 which included examples of drawing textural sunflowers and a Tree Bark Study by Diane Wright.

Relevant to the Assignment at the end of the first section is a study on still life techniques (page 24-27).  One tip I did pick up that I will use in my own piece is how to use a piece of string to help establish the composition and the flow of the drawing.  The book uses a Myrtle Pizzey drawing as an example.

One thing that is very useful about this book is the mixture of techniques and how to choose different media for different effects.  It has opened up my mind to trying out different surfaces to experiment with how that impacts the final drawing.  Page 58-63 are particularly useful for thinking about different types of paper.

Another section that will be useful for the first assignment is on page 98 which talks about how to arrange subjects for a still life and in particular how to explore the light options for your objects to create interest and contrast in the final drawing.

For me personally, perhaps one of the most useful sections on the book is from page 118-119 on how to analyse your own work.  One useful tip is to not always critique your own work just after you have finished it but to sometimes look at it with fresh eyes the next day.  It states that critiques at the end of a session can sometimes just focus on the negatives and what is wrong with the piece of work as fatigue has set in.  It suggests making notes in your sketch book with one list for what is working and another for what is not.

Overall, this book is very good for short tips and ideas but does not really cover anything in great detail.  As a beginner it would be a great starting point and I think most people would find one or two useful pieces of advice in there but I am finding myself then having to research each idea further in a different book or website.  I will try and use the examples of critiquing your own work and will bear in mind some of the still life tips when I plan my assignment piece in the next few weeks.

Sources of Information:

Krizek, D.  (2012). Compendium of Drawing Techniques 200 tips, techniques and trade secrets.  1st Edition.  Tunbridge Wells: Search Press Ltd. 


Author: claire516300

OCA Student. Currently studying Drawing 1

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