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This book is by far the best book on design that I have come across in some time.
The introduction of the book starts, “At five years of age, I stood above the clouds at sunset atop a mountain with my father. He told me to never forget the moment. I never have.” And I was hooked. “By recognizing the principles, patterns, and processes of nature, you can create intuitively elegant and aesthetic design at will rather than by chance.”
The book is divided in three sections: Memory: Remembering What We Know; Matter: Understand and Create; and Motion: The Experience Enhanced. This is a book I could not put down, and I read it from cover to cover. I still find myself picking it up at different moments and drifting off into re-reading sections, like “Wabi-sabi and Grunge” (which in itself is food for thought) or “Using Nature’s Elements in Design.”
Macnab’s skillful weave of compelling text and imagery, coupled with quotes, profiles of guest designers, and various exercises, strikes just the right balance to convey the subject matter and provide the reader with a better understanding of how to incorporate nature’s shapes and patterns into meaningful design.
This book is bursting with nearly 300 pages of stimulating, provocative information written by a person passionate and knowledgeable about her craft. I cannot say enough good things about this book, and it is an absolute keeper. No matter what your present design skill, chances are you will benefit from reading it.
This 208 page book that explains the drawing process in manageable chunks of information with an understated beauty and seriousness that deserves time to absorb and practice the lessons being taught. The book contents include, The World Through an Artist's Eye; A Study of Proportion; A Discussion About Line; the Illusion of Depth, the Third Dimension; Tonal Composition, a Palette of Nuanced Gray; Light and Shadow, and the Creation of Form and Character.
A fantastic bonus is the companion 1 hour 17 minute DVD. In one section she explains that she saves her charcoal dust into a small plastic container. She then uses it to sprinkle onto her surface and completely cover it. From that surface, a mid-tone gray, she works in the lights and darks to create her image. In another section, she discussed the value sphere and how without light and shadow, it would simply be a circle. She waxed on about how the study of light is always key in the subject and how the character and quality of the light dictates the interest in what you are looking at.
In another segment of the video, Juliette does two separate figure drawings from two different models. She draws while talking about how she works from general to specific. She starts with blocking in the head, ribcage, and pelvis. Then she indicates the mapping of the figure with lights and shadows. A time-lapse repeat of the start to finish of each drawing is included. Other parts of the DVD are shot outdoors in Florence, Italy; different artists talk about art, such the making of stuff rather than the consumption of stuff.
The book is excellent, something you'd expect to be the required text in a college art class. It's the inclusion of the DVD, however, that brings it all to life and makes the Watson-Guptill suggested retail $29.95 an excellent value and the Amazon $18.95 price a downright steal. If you want to go beyond the whimsical and into learning classic and elegant drawing, you won't be disappointed.
I've love sketch books -- textured-filled experimentation books, books of drawings, text and picture filled journals, and so on -- they all get my attention. After seeing this book in an art store and doing a quick perusal of the pages, within moments I got the "ooh ... I have to get this" reaction. Every two-page spread in the 145 page full-color book has eye-grabbing illustrations on it. The book covers what you need to get started, testing driving materials, what type of journal is right for you, finding time and making time to develop a habit of journaling, and pulling it all together.
The illustrations are engaging; the text is beyond fluff and is instead filled with solid information. For example, "If you don't get the Moleskine type (she's not a fan of thin weight or overly slick paper in journals) specifically made for watercolor, you'll want to add a bit of soap or detergent to your paint water to make the paint adhere to the slick surface." Or, "If you really hate an image, you can paint over all or part of it with gouache or acrylic. ... Be aware that acrylics can cause pages to stick together. Gouache doesn't."
This is a good book -- lots of helpful information, many gorgeous illustrations, and plenty of fuel to keep your journal pages filled. If you like keeping a sketchbook, or if you'd like to but don't know where to begin, check out this book.