I think this book is what can be called "a classic", meaning that its content is so strong that it will forever withstand the passage of time. Actually, the funny thing is that it already "feels" like a very old classic because of the book's layout which is anything but modern. It's the only "negative" as far as I'm concerned, so let me mention it and move on to all the good things.
From the unattractive 80's-ish cover, to the inside layout that has minimal margins and paragraphs that go the full width (8.5 inch) of the page, making it much harder to read, and not forgetting the typeset font which makes you believe the book was typed on an old manual typewriter, the book layout does have an "amateurish" feel to it - but don't let this fool you... the book is a masterpiece!
It's just that the "look and feel" of a book is important to me so I just "had" to mention it, but it's not the end of the world. You'll just feel like you're "back to school" and you've been handed papers that your class teacher himself typed 25 years ago. Well, it made me feel younger to imagine I was back taking a university drawing class :-)
So anyway, after getting past the initial appearances and starting to actually read and use the highly useful content, I slowly fell in love with the book. Seriously, it's just so very well written! You feel in good hands because the writer not only knows what he's talking about, but also knows how to transfer his knowledge to you as the best of teachers. I'd go as far as to think the unattractiveness of the book layout was done on purpose, so as not to distract the reader with flashy colors and other "bells and whistles". Just black and white. Just what is really needed.
Every knowledge bit is clearly explained and supported with plenty of visual examples. Sometimes when I read a book I have more questions than answers popping into my head. Not so with this book: the concepts are presented in a clear sequence and everything makes sense. Also I felt the "pace" was just perfect, so that you never feel lost because it goes too fast, and neither bored because it goes too slow. Just a good forward rhythm.
The book does what it claims to do, which is to make you learn drawing scenery: landscapes, seascapes. Rocks, trees, water but also talk about a lot of good concepts regarding composition, tonal values, depth and so on. I had read about these things many times before, but somehow this book made it clearer to me.
I am not a professional, far from it. I bought this book as "one more book" to try and learn to draw better. I didn't have any special expectations, really and so I was very, very surprised how much this book helped improve (and continues to improve) my drawing abilities!
I already know that I will read this book more than once and most certainly will learn more with every read. To me, this book was fully worth the money and I definitely recommend it to anybody trying to improve his drawing abilities.
This book is hands-down my favorite step-by-step tool on drawing scenery. It's clearly written, which makes its instructions very easy to follow and understand, and it's masterfully organized in six sections that clearly relate to one another, making it easy to go back to specific topics at any time. In its first section alone (Introduction to the Basics of Scenery Drawing) it includes very well explained drawing basics like composition, space division, picture elements, comprehension factors, materials and more. It also goes beyond most scenery drawing books in the market to include, beside the usual landscape and terrain composition techniques, other important concepts: Drawing Trees and Foliage, Drawing Rocks and Mountains, Drawing Clouds and Skies, Drawing Water (Oceans, Lakes, Rivers and Falls), and Drawing Buildings (in various shapes and sizes). Additional bonuses are the authors' constant tips on a wide variety of topics that go from shading and highlighting to artistic treatment and texturing of surfaces. This book is also fully illustrated with over 900 beautiful diagrams and pictures that work as invaluable examples, which accurately illustrate the instructions given by the author. Some people might be discouraged from purchasing this title due to it being completely illustrated in black & white, but trust me when I say that it doesn't need color images. It's so well written that you'll soon start seeing the illustrations in the colors your imagination and creativeness will give them. I used this book as one would use a textbook on a course, doing all the exercises and going back to all the lessons in each section after I had finished with it. In only two months my work has improved 100% and my drawings have won praise from friends and family. Buy this book if you are a professional trying to fine tune your craft and buy it if you are a beginner serious about drawing, both will discover the benefits of applying to your work all the essential scenery drawing techniques that it contains. --Reviewed by M. E. Volmar
I bought this for my teenage son who is very artistic but his strength is in figures and animal drawing. He is attending university this fall and wanted to strengthen his landscape skills so that he would have more well rounded abilities for his fine arts class. He has worked with other Jack Hamm books and found them to be extremely helpful. Jack Hamm's guides are suitable for youngsters and adults alike, and this book in particular is a useful guide for anyone interested in drawing. There is no wasted space; every page provides topical information as well as a practical step by step approach to composition. The price is so reasonable it's a shame to pass it by--even if you draw for pleasure rather than pursuing an art related career, this is a great book to own. One quarrel...it would last longer if hardcover. After just a few months in my son's hands it already looks well used. Of course the price makes it easy to buy two or three copies if you're using it frequently.
"Empowering" and "amazing" are words I've heard in reference to Jack Hamm and his books. The vast majority of "how to draw" books (sorry, but it is true) are self-indulgent galleries by people with poor skills. Jack doesn't show off. He tells you what he has tried, what usually works and what usually doesn't, and he gives you the confidence -- indeed, the urge -- to go out and try it yourself. And, oh -- his drawings are magnificent.
The layout of the book is unexpected. Sure, there is the expected list of trees and the panels of water reflections under different conditions. But the bulk of the book speaks to composition, particularly landscape composition, in ways that has made me recommend it to friends of mine doing Bryce and Terragen (computer landscape art).
As is typical of Jack's books, you read it once, then you pick it up again and again every time you need a little help, a confidence boost, or a kick in the pants.
This little miracle worker of a book should NOT be disregarded in anyone's expanding list of books related to drawing scenery. "Drawing Landscapes and Seascapes" can teach you what other books cannot, how to capture the breath-taking world we see around us without the aide of photographs, or actually being there (although outdoor sketching is highly advisable, as pointed out by Jack). The scenery in this book is very life-like, and you can learn how to do it all too. Jack, as with his other books, doesn't "showcase" or brag of his work, he teaches in every picture how he did what he did, and what you can do to do the same. I couldn't imagine anyone getting ever getting lost or being stranded, Jack is one the best of the best, read his reviews of his other books! Topics covered... Drawing trees, water, clouds, rocks, and buildings. There are topics within topics, example: You'll learn to draw Puddles under "water", or Mountain Ranges under "rocks", Moonlit Skies under "clouds", etc etc... You just can't go wrong. He'll show you how to capture the incredible dynamics of the earth and how to portray it into your own work. Learn to draw trees realistically without drawing them leaf-by-leaf! Of any book released to the market for drawing landscape or seascape, this book is the only one I feel empowered to read word for word. His teaching is so amazing, I couldn't recommened a newer, even more expensive book than Jacks'. Don't cheat yourself of what you can learn in drawing landscapes or seascapes, this book is so easy to read and the projects in this book so enlighting, if you only had one book to choose on drawing landscapes, I'd choose Jack hands down. With a price like this,... you can't go wrong by giving this outstanding book a chance.
I bought this book to learn the principles of drawing scenery. My interest is in creating both comic book line pencil art and 2D computer game graphics (bitmap -Photoshop and vector - Flash). While the bookï¿½s description of the many tools and papers isnï¿½t directly applicable, they gave me a few ideas on how the techniques could be translated into forms suitable for comics and 2D computer graphics. The bookï¿½s target audiences are fine arts students or ï¿½trueï¿½ artists and some of the lessons presented and jargons used arenï¿½t readily understood by hobbyists like me. However, this didnï¿½t stop me from enjoying the book because of the specific content I was looking for: drawing trees, rocks, mountains, clouds, reflections, water correctly and many more. I was hoping the book would have a few pages dedicated to ï¿½cityscapeï¿½ drawing but I am assuming that if you can draw nature, you can draw non-natural subjects like buildings. The book also didnï¿½t have lessons on using colors but it did stress on perfecting black and white values/tones before jumping into colors. If you want colored scenery drawing, get another book. (But this is just me being my usual picky self.) Buy this book! Itï¿½s a steal! As in youï¿½ll probably never need another drawing scenery book (unless of course you want to enhance your skill on a specific form such as oil, watercolor, acrylic, airbrush, etc.).
Are you fed up with the books that merely demonstrate how much better the author is at drawing than you are? All you can do is try (and fail) to copy their examples without really knowing the how and why of making marks and coming up with your own compositions? Jack Hamm tells you what marks to make, how to make them, where to make them, and why. And it turns out that it's easy to draw good pictures. Whodunnit in the end? Youdunnit!!! His landscapes book was the first I bought in the series. I was so impressed with it that I subsequently bought ALL his other books in a single batch. And I've been just as pleased with each of them.
Another great book by Jack Hamm, who seems to have been a bit unfairly neglected alongside Loomis, Bridgman, Hogarth and other famous luminaries of twentieth-century how-to-draw authors. This volume dates from 1972 and exemplifies the drawing styles of an even earlier period, the 1940s maybe, but the lessons it contains don't really date. The first half of the book is a very methodical and rigorous examination of compositional methods, applicable to any kind of graphic art, though this material will probably be a little abstract for readers who want to get on to the good stuff (i.e., representational drawing). The second half, however, is full of good practical tips on how to draw trees, reflections, etc. Hamm's day job doing religious art shows through here and there—lots of God-like sun-breaking-through-cloud effects, people climbing tall symbolic mountains, scenes from the Passion, etc.—but again this doesn't really affect his usefulness. Probably not as good as his book on drawing people (which is excellent), and a little homemade-looking in terms of layout and text, but very helpful all the same.
I bought this book after finishing Betty Edward's classic 'DOTRSOTB' along with a couple other subject-specific manuals and it has been a perfect set of texts. For trees and sky in graphite I haven't found anything better (yet). It is not, however, photorealistic rendering. Just very solid sketching techniques for landscape articles and some suprisingly good sections on composition. AN UPDATE ... I've recently picked up 'Drawing Nature' by S. Maltzman and find that it is quite a bit deeper but J. Hamm's book will always be lying around for reference. Now if I could just find a text explaining the actual techniques for creating the beautiful treelines I see in Maltzman's text. Maybe he kept that section 'spare' so I'd have to buy 'Drawing Trees Step-By-Step'?