Book review: The Artist’s handbook 3rd Ed- Ray Smith

Yet another book I picked up in the library is ‘The Artist’s Handbook’ by Ray Smith.  First off I’ll say that I am definitely going to buy my own copy of this book for future reference.  It covers a lot of the same ideas and techniques as ‘The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques by Ralph Mayer’  but in my opinion is a much more easily accessible version of it.  It has details on materials and techniques but is accompanied by coloured photos and diagrams and projects on how to put into use the techniques you are reading about.

As I have been drawing with pencil and charcoal a lot as part of this course I decided to focus this review on five useful tips I have learned from this book.

  1.  On Page 64 it gives advice on how to shade with a pencil and how to practice using it without rolling the pencil for an even shading tone.
  2. On Page 65 is a suggestion for using matt polyester film as an under drawing for pencil work.  As my attempt with acrylic didn’t work this is something I am going to try.
  3. On Page 66 are ideas for trying different paper textures.  This is something I am going to try in my own work to see how rough and smooth papers affect the overall effect.
  4. Page 70 states to not shade too heavy to begin with, work up the tones gradually.  This is something I am definitely guilty of doing in my own work and so will try to improve this.
  5. Page 92 is an interesting technique for making oil charcoal and is something I want to try as I am getting really into using charcoal for making my drawings.

Reference:

Smith, R (2009). The Artist’s Handbook 3rd Edition.  Dorling Kindersley, London.

 

Exercise 3 – Creating Shadows using lines and marks

For this exercise we were asked to look at shadows and use a variety of marks to depict those shadows.  I first just used a page of my A3 sketchbook to experiment with the different marks and tones I could make using pencil, graphite sticks, charcoal, ink pens, paint and brush and fine pen:
I then chose  a very simple box and tried to depict that using pencil, charcoal stick, pen and paint:
Finally we were asked to group a small number of objects and use fast loose marks to depict them.  I placed a pot of brushes and 3 tubes of paint near a lamp and used charcoal to produce this in about 60 seconds.