Book review - Drawing From Line To Life

Book - Drawing From Line To LifeINTRODUCTION

Painting and drawing skills are often required if you want to create realistic looking art. While it's possible to create a lot of realistic objects in photoshop using some basic skills and practice, it often doesn't go beyond creating human made objects. However to draw or paint people, animals or nature you need to take your skills to a much higher level.

In this review I will be reviewing a book called Drawing from line to life that tries to teach you how to draw with graphite pencil. It's wonderful to be able to create lifelike drawings and it's a great foundation for taking your skills one step higher, which is painting.

You can make the choice to draw on paper or you can decide to buy a tablet and use that to draw with Photoshop, the choice is all up to you.,

Drawing From Life to Line is one of many books dedicated to pencil drawing. Let's have a look at what this book has to offer.



Mike Sibley
The author MIke Sibley was born in 1948 in the Essex country village of Orsett, England and attended the Manchester College of Art & Design at the age of 18, followed by the Leeds College of Art & Design. In 1980 Mike became a professional artist.



The book contains 24 chapters, spread over 287 pages:

1. From LIne to Life Explained
2. The Tools I Use
3. Line Drawing
4. Tone Drawing
5. Erasing Techniques
6. Blending and Layering
7. Indenting
8. Step-by-Step One - Charlotte
9. Fooling the Brain - Part One
10. Working With Photos
11. Negative Drawing
12. Perspective
13. Light and Shade
14. Fooling the Brain - Part Two
15. Transfer Methods
16. Preparation
17. Step-by-Step Two - Clarrie the Cat
18. Drawing Ellipses
19. Drawing Textures
20. Drawing Reflections
21. Drawing Foliage
22. Drawing Hair
23. Drawing Features
24. Step-by-Step Three - Putting It All Together

The book is well illustrated with over 650 illustrations of high quality. The index in the back of the book is 5 pages long.
The binding of the book is very strong so you won't risk losing pages, pages for which semi-glossy paper was used.

Sample page
(more samples can be found here)

Sample Page




The problem with a lot of drawing books is that the author is often more concerned about showing his art than showing how he did it. In Drawing From Life to Line I never get that impression. Everything in the book is explained in great detail and pretty much all pages have at least 2 or 3 illustrations.

The book starts with a friendly introduction by the author, after which he continues to explain in almost 20 pages which tools he uses. I think that's a great way to start a book. I'm one of those people who really believes that it's Drawing With A Pencilimportant to start with the proper tools and to know how to use them. This is something that one should focus on from the beginning and not at a later stage. It creates the right foundation to transfer your ideas onto paper or like in Photoshop to create a digital representation of what you have in mind.

The author continues with chapters about drawing lines, tone, how to erase, blend, layer and indent, all of which I think are proper subjects to prepare beginners for what's ahead.
Again, like with the basic tools it's important to handle the basic techniques first. The whole idea is that you shouldn't be distracted too much about how to use the tools when you're actually ready to draw, because the focus should be on the art, not on the struggle with the tools and basic techniques. I'm a strong believer of just sitting down for a few weeks and practice nothing but drawing lines and tone, over and over again, while at the same time trying to out which tools or basic techniques you prefer most. So I believe the author has made a good start by focusing on the basics first, not just in a few pages, but 45 pages in total, which really think will benefit any beginners in the long run.

But it doesn't stop with 45 pages; in the rest of the book tens of pages are dedicated to subjects like light & shade, perspective, textures, ellipses, etc.etc, all covered in great detail. I think that word pretty much covers the content of the book; detail. Not only the detail when it comes to written text, but also the detail in the drawings and additional technical illustrations, which makes a reader confident that he's getting the right guidance.



Drawing From Life to Line is a well written book by someone who cares more about helping people how to draw, then using this medium for bragging rights, which is sadly the case with many drawing books. The book is well organized and illustrated and offers tons of information. The illustrations, and there are many, are of a high quality, which leaves any potential buyer little doubt that the author has excellent drawing skills.

Lunacore highly recommends Drawing From Life to Line.

Feel free to visit SIBLEYFINART.COM for more information.


Note: MIke Sibley is Blu-Tackalso reseller of a Bostik product called Blu-Tack (hard to get in some parts of the world) which was developed to hang up posters, but it also turns out to be a great eraser for graphite pencill drawings as shows in the related tutorial on Mike's web site. I'm using the product myself and it works really well for erasing, especially small areas.




The first 3 images in the main content of this review are © copyright Mike Sibley

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