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Drawing For the Absolute Beginner
Carole Massey

Search Press
25 December 2017 US edition out 6 March 2018/ ISBN 9781782214557
How-To Books/Art

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde


Anybody can learn to draw; it is all a matter of looking at the world in the right way and putting it down on paper. This book contains a basic course on how to do this from scratch through a series of step-by-step lessons.

It could be argued that the only real “absolute beginner” when it comes to drawing is a very young child; this book is aimed at the adult who says that they cannot draw. The course starts with making simple marks and drawing basic shapes, breaking objects down into shapes and progressing to tone, shading and shadow. Pencils, pens, charcoal and various types of colored pencils are the media used, and most aspects of drawing are covered, including composition, perspective, textures, scale etc. A wide variety of different subjects are covered, too, from still life through to landscapes, figures, animals, buildings and more.

The idea is that you progress through various short tasks and some longer projects to build up skills. These are in classic Search Press staged captioned photographs showing how the drawing builds up. Some of them have exactly the right amount of stages, while others had me scratching my head wondering how to get from a simple outline through to an intricately shaded final step. Fortunately, most were of the former type, and an unusual feature of the book is the final section of traceable line drawings at the back. Instructions are given on how to transfer these, and then they can be shaded in without the drawing part getting in the way. This is similar to the Ready To Paint series, and makes it easier to learn how to add the shading and other details. The book also contains many examples of the artist’s work with captions explaining how a certain effect has been achieved, as well as a useful index. Anybody who wants to draw can learn a lot from this primer.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2017