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Life Drawing in Charcoal Paperback – Nov 4 1994


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Life Drawing in Charcoal + Lessons in Classical Drawing: Essential Techniques from Inside the Atelier + Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 2nd Revised edition edition (Nov. 4 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486282686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486282688
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 21.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #27,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

"The guidance to be found within these covers reflects the author's inspired ability as a teacher and artist of the highest magnitude. It is probably the finest book on the subject of drawing the human form that I have ever seen."—Irving Shapiro, A.W.S., Director, American Academy of Art
This unique guide offers a bold, innovative approach to drawing from life. Instead of teaching the traditional method of building up a drawing from lines, leaving mass and tone till later, noted art instructor Douglas R. Graves takes precisely the opposite tack. The student is encouraged to begin seeing and thinking in terms of tonal masses immediately. This approach enables students to draw quickly and accurately without the need for a line drawing first. The author compares it to learning to "paint" with charcoal.
Step-by-step demonstrations and over 200 of the author's own drawings offer inspiration and practical guidance in the technique. You'll learn how to "see" tonal quality, how to key a drawing, how to translate color into black and white, and valuable techniques for keeping the figure from looking "stiff." Other topics include the role of alignment in achieving proper proportions, foreshortening, male and female figure distinctions, the use of modeling to achieve added dimension, drawing the face, positioning the figure, and many other aspects of life drawing.
For students of drawing—beginner to expert—this book is an invaluable guide not just to drawing from life but to the essential principles of observation, composition, and draftsmanship that underlie all successful drawing and painting. It belongs in the library of every artist. For this edition, the author has revised previous chapters and added a new one on "Different Modes of Charcoal."
Revised and enlarged Dover (1994) republication of the work published by Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1971.


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By waiting2bdeleted on March 15 2003
Format: Paperback
Working the whole page all at once is key, by keeping in mind masses and tonal value. This technique is like painting 'alla prima' while working from larger masses to smaller details, because it creates while it plans. This is the best way to learn, beginning with how to place the figure properly on the page, saving time from redoing large parts because of an improper start.
The step by step approach with over 200 illustrations makes it easy to follow along. Not only is this the most efficient approach, it's the most exciting, achieving immediate progress with the greatest chance for accuracy.
The traditional practice of teaching the beginner to draw, using lines, only encourages bad habits which single them out as an amateur, while providing no special advantage over the approach in this book.
I recommend this book for all levels. For the beginner it is essential to first learn these principals of working with masses instead of lines, so telltale of the amateur. For the more advanced artist, there are many techniques useful to refining their skill.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Summer Breeze on Dec 18 2001
Format: Paperback
I suddenly feel like beating around the bush a little here. So please bear with me.
Picture this: You graduated from high school, went to college, left your high school's sweetheart behind, found a new girl, then another one, then yet another... (I could go on and on), graduated from college, got a job, and (with any luck) married one of the girls you dated in college. Twenty years had gone by, you suddenly found yourself at the high school reunion party. A glance at your old-time highschool sweetheart all of sudden brought back a world of love and hope. Whew! What gives?! You suddenly found how attractive and desirable your highschool sweetheart was! (And if fate played tricks on you, beside her was a 300-pound hairy-chested, bald-headed husband of hers...)
So what does all that have anything to do with this book, you ask?
Well, it has EVERYTHING to do with this book. As you WILL agree with me, to become an artist in any "respectable" medium (oil, watercolor, pastel, and the likes), one has to start with drawing. The most highly-disciplined practice is figure drawing. Usually, one would start with drawing the likeness, USING LINES. Then comes positive, negative spaces, mass, tone, then colors, etc.
In this book, however, the author presents an approach of drawing figures using charcoal as medium and using mass (rather than LINES) to achieve the effects.
The book is well-written and very readable. I finished the book from cover to cover at one sitting of several hours.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By melrose on Sept. 11 2003
Format: Paperback
I really liked the book as others share in their review. But, I guess I really need some basics in regards to a break down. This book covers how to just get in and do the whole body, slowly laryering with charcoal. I like working in the charcoal, it is fast and easy to work with in regards to fixing mistakes. Once charcoal is in place, other mediums can be used over it if you are wanting to make your drawing into a painting. It is a good book though. The fours stars is only because I was expecting some breakdown of the figures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Stephen Gracey on Oct. 7 2002
Format: Paperback
Having learned to draw from Betty Edwards' "right brain" approach, this book is a natural follow-on. It teaches a painterly approach to drawing by capturing the masses, rather than the contours, in much the same way as DRSB does. I've struggled with contour drawing from the beginning, whereas I see the masses and tones very easily. The drawings in this book are beautiful, and it's great confirmation and affirmation of the DRSB training I've had. See my other review for DRSB.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Dec 31 1996
Format: Paperback
I liked this book. It is well laid out and easy to follow his steps. The author make a very difficult task look easy. (It is not easy, trust me) Charcoal is my medium of choice and there are so few books on this specific subject. I wish this book showed more expressive approaches. A free more abstract approach with the figure playing hide & seek is more to my liking. I especially liked the price
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