If you were stripped of every luxury of life, and had to exile yourself to an abandoned island with only the essentials for human existence, you'd think of things like food, water, and shelter. Likewise, if I ever had to get rid of every book in my how-to art library except for the ones that I would absolutely shrivel up and blow away without, this book would remain on my shelf along with Richard Schmid's "Alla Prima" and "Life Drawing in Charcoal" by Douglas Graves. These three are my food, water and shelter for surviving as a serious art student.
This book puts a greater emphasis on the artist's focus and state of mind than it does on technique.. Sound a little "Zen-like?" It is, in a lot of ways, but "you will draw what the mind sees" until you learn to draw what the eye sees. "The problem," Jacobs writes, "is not that we don't see well enough but that we do not draw what we see. We draw what we think." This is coming from a man whose drawings look like the masterpieces of da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Better listen to him.
While developing your mental-visual muscles, Jacobs goes into symmetry, balance, and light. But only after opening your eyes to what you see before you so your art won't be contaminated from an image file in your brain.
Each topic is broken down into bite-sized segments--you can literally read a topic and digest it in 5 minutes or less. Or, if you want to sit down for the full meal, read and absorb several topics, review some you've read before, and skip ahead to some other stuff you found in the index. Then go draw. You'll be flexing art muscles you never knew you had. And you will be very pleased with your results.