On New Year’s Day I did my yearly ritual of finishing off my 2012 journal and starting one for 2013. The book is a printed weekly calendar that has one week spread horizontally across a two-page spread. I tend to write in it at the end of each week, reflecting on things that went on during the week, maybe adding some photos, copies of drawings, some memorabilia, a show I got into, something published, and whatever. It gives me a good sense of what I’ve done during the year and helps me focus on what I’d like to do in the coming year.
Every time I try put away a yearly book, I start pulling out and looking through older journals, including various sketchbooks. That gets me hungry to do more sketching/painting. In that regard, I also start looking through my books. And there is was: One of my all-time favorite drawings books — Successful Drawing by Andrew Loomis.
If you have any interest at all in drawing, and if you don’t have this book, you might want to consider checking it out. The 9×12 159 page book is loaded with illustrations by the author, who is also considered one of America’s leading illustrators.
The book starts with a chapter called The Fundamentals. In part he writes, “Drawing is vision on paper. More than that, is is individual vision, tied up with individual perception, interest, observation, character, philosophy, and a host of other qualities all coming from one source. It cannot, and to be successful should not, be anything else.” I found the chapter an interesting read because it clearly applies to more than just drawing. “The knowledge of our craft must be pooled, as it is in the sciences and other professions, each of us absorbing and in turn contributing. … There is much material which the student can apply to his own work without reference to any particular style or technique of mine.”
“When drawing is convincing to the intelligent perception of the spectator because of its rightness of form, texture, space, and lighting, and at the same time appeals to his emotions, the artist can depend upon a favorable response.”
The goal of this book is developing your skills to elicit such a response. The book covers what he calls the Five P’s — proportion, placement, perspective, planes, and pattern; and the Five C’s — conception, construction, contour, character, and consistency.
There are no step-by-step instructions in this book, and it’s not for a total beginner. Instead, the major focus of this book is understanding the use of perspective primarily in figure drawing with solid information on lighting.
I’m glad that in the process of putting away my 2012 journal, I rediscovered this book on my bookshelf. I’m already re-reading parts of it and getting back into refining some fundamentals. While the book is pricy at $39.95, you might be able to find it used, and Amazon sells it at a good discount. I included the link above. Happy drawing!