This book is the sixth in a series called “Strokes of Genius,” edited by Rachel Rubin Wolf (an artist and freelance editor), an excellent resource of 144 drawings from 142 artists. The goal of the book is to provide readers with a collection of drawings that illustrate values, lights and darks created from different mediums (mainly graphite and charcoal) across a wide spectrum of subjects.
I’ve been looking for a drawing resource that is not so much instructional, as is a collection of high quality drawing images that are large enough to let me study artists’ results from a variety of techniques to achieve certain looks.
If one is looking for complete instruction, this is not the book, but here are several reasons why this book met my grade:
- Each image has a corresponding paragraph from the artist explaining something important about how or why they achieved the result of their drawing. It’s this personal touch that makes the book invaluable – giving just a hint of information, but enough that allows an artist to discover techniques on their own.
- A couple of gems that I picked up in the book. The one consistent message I heard over and over throughout the book was about value, artist Scott A. Williams message was spot on, “The correct use of value is critical for defining forms, controlling edges and creating a believable three-dimensional reality.” Period, end of story – get the value right and all else falls into place. I’ve returned to drawing in B&W over the last several months to work more on values, lights and darks. In the book artist Linda Lucas Hardy summed up perfectly why I’ve been working so hard on this aspect of my art, “Value without color has the power to standalone – color without value can’t.” It gets no better than this simple enough, but very powerful statement.
- Many images fill the full 12” x 9.5” page, but you’ll also find many in the range of ¾ and ½ page sizes too. For me this is an important aspect because the sizes allow me to see very clearly the artists’ work, and analyze their drawing techniques.
- Additionally the larger sizes allow me to see the differences in how certain surfaces (papers, boards and other) and mediums perform as they respond to the artists’ strokes and touch. Very important because I have a tendency to get in a rut using the same support surfaces just because it’s there. But here my vision for future works was sparked with many creative possibilities.
- And finally, the quality of construction and materials this book was made from. It’s a good solid, hefty book measuring 12” x 9.5”, with a matte finish used for the book cover and inside pages. The high quality thick paper used for both the book cover and inside pages is top notch – meaning it could get a good handling from readers and won’t get worn down quickly.
In fact this book would make a very nice coffee table book, but seriously I wouldn’t do that because there is too much value in those beautifully illustrated pages – it should be picked up and used for the great artists’ resource it is.
If you are interested in the book, it can be found at North Light Shop.