Monday, December 9, 2019

Books for the aspiring artist

I received these books from Quarto Publishing Group for review.  If you have an artist on your gift list, these books would be a great gift for them.  They are filled with tips and techniques for drawing in different styles.  Let your aspiring artist experiment and try these different styles.

Drawing the Head For Artists - Techniques for Mastering Expressive Portraiture by Oliver Sin ($26.99):  For many aspiring artists, learning to draw a realistic human portrait can prove to be quite a challenge.  There are so many differences in the features and expressions of different people, and it's hard to capture them on paper.  Drawing the Head for Artists is the definitive modern guide to drawing the human head and portrait, featuring the classic mediums and methods of the Old Masters.  Written by celebrated portrait artist and veteran studio instructor Oliver Sin, this richly informative and beautifully illustrated volume leads readers step by step through his method.  From establishing a point of view, to applying the timeless principles for creating an accurate and expressive likeness.

This book will guide you through essential materials and techniques, helping you learn about the necessary supplies and basic drawing techniques, including hatching, various stroke styles, and proper blending.  It will explain how to apply the essentials.  It will help you explore how the concepts of sight sizing, value, negative space/shapes and plane changes factor into a portrait’s underlying structure.  Learn techniques for creating depth and dimension by investigating how contrasting shapes, overlapping forms, and how linear and atmospheric perspective are used to enhance depth.  And it will show you how to create the lllusion of three dimensions.  Examine how edges—contours as well as changes in value—are used to convey three dimensional form.
Brimming with striking images that document all the phases and details of the author’s process, Drawing the Head for Artists inspires and informs all artists, from aspiring to accomplished, on how to successfully portray the physical subtleties and emotional eloquence of the human face.  It is part of the "For Artists series", which expertly guides and instructs artists at all skill levels who want to develop their classical drawing and painting skills and create realistic and representational art.

The author, Olive Sin, graduated from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration.  He began his career as a computer games concept artist, including stints at LucasArts and 3DO, and has been teaching for the Academy’s School of 2D Animation and the School of Fine Art since 2001.  His award winning portrait art has been recognized by the Portrait Society of America, and featured on, in the journal The Art of the Portrait, and in International Artist and Southwest Art magazines.  Born in Hong Kong, Sin has lived in San Francisco since 1990.



The Art of 3D Drawing written by Stefan Pabst and translated by Jessica West ($21.95):  Have you ever seen one of the 3D drawings that looks like it is jumping right off the paper at you?  This book will help you to learn that technique.  Artists won't believe their eyes as they learn to draw with photo-realistic detail.  The Art of 3D Drawing shows artists how to transform simple pencil sketches into jaw dropping, photo-realistic masterpieces.  Through a variety of step by step exercises and demonstrations, pencil artists learn to take their drawing skills to a whole new level.  It begins with a review of the basics, including perspective, shading, rendering textures, and building dimension.  Practice lessons then demonstrate how to draw a range of subjects in realistic detail, from food and candy wrappers to animals and portraits.  Finally, aspiring artists learn to use color media, including pencils and airbrushing, to add even greater dimension and realism to their artwork to complete their three dimensional masterpieces.

The author, Stefan Pabst, calls himself "the portrait painter", and for good reason.  A professional artist based in Germany who grew up in Russia, Stefan creates photo-realistic 3D drawings and paintings.  He has been featured on BuzzFeed, My Modern Met, and Laughing Squid, among others, and his online instructional videos garner tens of thousands of views each.  Learn more at

The translator, Jessica West, is a literary translator transcribing book written in German and Russian into English.  She has a BA (Hons) in German and Russian from the University of Sheffield and was awarded a Distinction in her MA Translation Studies at the University of Portsmouth.  Her main areas of professional interest are nature and the environment (especially birds), costume history, travel, folklore, art and speculative fiction (both adult and YA).



The Art of Drawing Optical Illusions by Jonathan Stephen Harris:  Wouldn't it be cool to be able to draw one of those shapes that looks like it is moving, or changing direction?  This book will tell you how to do that.  It is perfect for beginning artists, The Art of Drawing Optical Illusions will help you create mind bending optical illusions to fool your brain and tease your senses.

Optical illusions are like the magic tricks of the art world.  They may look difficult to create, but with just a little bit of guidance, they can be easily achievedJonathan Stephen Harris guides you step by step in creating mind blowing pencil drawings.  He starts with basic optical illusions and then progresses to the more challenging ones.  From impossible shapes, to three dimensional sketches and trick art, you won’t believe your eyes as you learn to draw optical illusions in graphite and colored pencil.

This book will help you learn to draw 25 optical illusions, including: 
3D Shapes, Floating Shapes, Impossible Shapes, the 5 Legged Elephant, a 3D Horse and Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Transparent Cube, a Water Droplet, a Spiral Hole and much more!

Certain techniques can be used to create these types of illusions, and author Jonathan Stephen Harris gives clear instructions for everything you need to know.  The Art of Drawing Optical Illusions begins with information on tools and materials, perspective, and shading.  Then it jumps into the first simple optical illusion.  At the end of the book is an inspirational idea gallery for more illusions you can draw.  

As you work through the optical illusions in this book, you will hone your drawing skills in the most unique way possible, while also exercising your mind with these brain-boosting, unbelievable tricks!  Just like a magician, you’ll be able to wow your family and friends with your own stunning optical illusions!

The author, Jonathan Stephen Harris, started his freelance artist career drawing portraits of people and pets, and then moved on to creating tattoo flash (tattoo designs) for studios all over the world.  He spent 10 years creating custom tattoo designs.  Now he spends most of his time painting and creating fonts and typefaces for both personal and commercial use.  He has a successful YouTube channel, TattooWoo, showing how to draw videos and his processes for creating art and designs.  Jonathan is the author of The Art of Drawing Optical Illusions and The Art of Spiral Drawing.

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