Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil, by J.D. Hillberry – a book review

I haven’t done a book review in a while and thought that some might enjoy one of my favorite drawing books.

Several years ago artist, J.D. Hillberry had a booth at Fort Worth’s annual art festival.  I couldn’t help but notice how many folks were at his tent, of course curiosity got the best so I stopped by to see what all the commotion was about.  In a word, I was wowed – his drawings are ultra-realistic like looking at a photograph.   No matter how close I got to the drawing, it was extremely difficult to see any strokes, smudges, etc.   They were that good.

When I discovered he wrote a book, Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil, it took me all but a second to purchase it.  Not only did I see several of the drawings from the art festival documented in his book, but it contained several others that were equally as good.  It was from this book that I learned the most about the medium, tools and techniques – here are just three areas that are real gems:

  • The difference between graphite, carbon and charcoal:  this was perhaps the greatest piece of information that helped me understand how to use each more effectively within a drawing, and when you can and can’t use one over the other (excellent examples).    Graphite is reflective, carbon and charcoal are both flat, but carbon has more of a smoother appearance of the two.  So now when I’m drawing, these factors are evaluated before I start so I can control the ultimate effect of the drawing.
  • Blending tools and achieving texture:  while most tools I was already familiar with, there were a few like felt, chamois cloth that I was not.  J.D. took this opportunity to demonstrate how each tool behaves during blending (stumps, tortilium, felt, etc.).  This information helped to further develop my drawings, especially with metal, wood, rocks, skin tones, etc.
  • Demonstrations:  excellent.  Several step-by-step demonstrations allowing the reader to follow along at their own pace – these exercises are invaluable in helping to strengthen an artists understanding of drawing mediums.

J.D. book isn’t about how to draw, rather it shows the artist how to use the medium and tools most effectively so they can achieve the desired results they’re after in their drawings.

If you want a resource that will help increase your drawing skills, this is one I highly recommend.


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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19 Responses to Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil, by J.D. Hillberry – a book review

  1. CL says:

    Hey Mary! Thanks for reviewing this book – we’d love to offer you + your readers an exclusive discount on top of the discount at http://www.northlightshop.com/drawing-realistic-textures-in-pencil – please email me and we’ll make a code for you xx

  2. I actually own this book. I love his indentation process to simulate stitches. Very good review:)

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Elena, very cool that you have J.D.’s book. He is so good with details – has been a great reference book for my journey with pencils.

  3. JSD says:

    Thanks for sharing with us. 🙂

  4. Nice to know about this book, Mary! 🙂

  5. Gallivanta says:

    Good teaching books, like good teachers, are a wonderful resource.

  6. dsaquarelles says:

    Very interesting! Many thanks to share! 🙂

  7. la_lasciata says:

    This helps me comprehend how come you utilise your talent so well, Mary – you’re always ready to learn.

  8. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check this one out. 🙂

  9. Lee says:

    Great information.

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