The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study Paperback – Feb 1 1990
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not only the best how-to book on drawing, it is the best how-to book we've seen on any subject." Whole Earth Review "
About the Author
Kimon Nicolaides was born in Washington D.C., in 1891. His first contact with art was a subconscious familiarity with the oriental objects imported by his father. He decided early that he wished to paint, but he had to run away from home to study art because his parents were unsympathetic to the idea. He supported himself in New York by whatever came to hand - framing pictures, writing for a newspaper, even acting the part of an art student as a movie extra. His father was finally won overby his obvious seriouness and financed his instruction at the Art Students' League - under Bridgman, Miller, and Sloan. When the United States entered the first World War, Nicolaides volunteered in the Camouflage Corps and served in France for over a year, receiving a citation. One of his assignments, involving the study of geographical contour maps, first opened up for him the conception of contour" which constitutes Exercise One in this book. After a period of work in Paris (1922-23), he wasgiven his first one-man show by the famous Bernheim Jeune gallery there. Back in New York, he held his first exhibit at the Old Whitney Studio Club, now the museum, and settled down to painting and teaching. As a painter, choosing to work painstakingly and exhibit seldom, he became known to the critics gradually but unmistakably for "the range of his work," "originality of technical approach," "richness of mental concepts" and his "eager, restless pursuit of new aesthetic experience." As a teacher, during the next fifteen years, he became, as the Art Digest put it, "second father" to hundreds of students who passed through his classes at the Art Students' League of New York. Scrupulously honest and high-principled, endowed with humor, richness and warmth of personality, sanity and balance, his extraordinary talent for human relationships grew with his wide contact with increasing numbers of students. Although he died in 1938, at a tragically early age, he left behind a tremendously devoted following of brilliant young artists, as well as the unique and concrete system of art teaching presented in this book.
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Top Customer Reviews
First, this is a book of exercises. You either do them or you don't. But anyone who "flips through the book at the library," then complains it has nothing to offer is like someone who goes to the gym, watches other people work out, then leaves feeling unimpressed with a gym's ability to help him get in shape. Making a judgement about this book without "working" it is exactly as foolish.
Second, there's nothing "modernist junk" at all about "The Natural Way to Draw." You'll be moving into anatomy studies and reproductions of the masters soon enough. Nicolaides is all about observing the details of life and recording them well. Again, such an ignorant comparison of the techniques Natural Way to Draw with a sloppy draughtsmanship and "modernist junk" only reveals the reviewer (who admitted he only "flipped" through the book) didn't flip very far and with little understanding of what he was holding in his hands.
Third, there's a story further down about an art school where the teacher mocks this book. Too bad. I studied at that school. And I'm glad I did: I learned a lot. But that school ultimately is not enough. Their students draw well rendered work, but it's also flat, uninspired, and repitative. "That Natural Way to Draw" gives you the tool YOU need to draw the way YOU want to draw.
Look: there's no easy path to drawing and painting really well. And this book guides you to drawing and painting really well. So, yes, it takes time; it takes effort. But at least all your effort is focused and fruitful. This book gives you the fundementals in a series of exercise. It's like doing exercises at the paino before you can play a concerto. And there's nothing wrong with that.
If you want to apply yourself and become great, check this book out.
If you want a method to help you learn to "feel" your work and move you beyond mere rendering, I highly recommend this book. But along with that desire should come a commitment to practice the exercises with an open mind if you want to get the results. I have learned for myself that having a lot of head knowledge about art techniques hasn't made my work vital, nor his it given me the itch in my bones that I need to truly create. Even though this may sound silly, I used to consider myself a good drawer, but now I feel that the door to being an "artist" is opened to me.
If you are more interested in a book to help you practice techniques with less of a time/effort commitment, I recommend Bert Dodson's Keys to Drawing. It is more of a "how-to" book for beginning students. It takes a very different teaching approach, more practical, but I like it for the many visual examples, the broad range of fun exercises, and the sections on drawing faces and proportions.
Most recent customer reviews
Absolutely has changed the way I draw and think about art. A must have! Left side of the brain drawing book has taken these concepts but did not interpret them correctly.Published 8 months ago by Lana
This one is well known among art students. All the basics covered. Easy to read and understand. I have been through it several times and refer to it when I need a refresher or... Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2012 by wwcreations
"The Natural Way to Draw" by Kimon Nicolaides, 221 pages
Nicolaides book is often compared to "Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain. Now I understand why. Read more
After reviewing the other reviews there may be nothing to say. I first encountered this book while brousing in a book store after my art classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2004 by Thomas( Doc Savage 45)
I have used this book, both personally and in drawing classes, and I have to say, the author's approach is meticulous, well-thought out, and based on the best principles of... Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003 by Russell Collier
I browsed a copy of this book at the library and I looked at paintings done by Nicolaides on the internet. Read morePublished on Nov. 30 2003 by Sparkly Raven
So many books I have purchased approach drawing from an academic viewpoint. I felt that such books were a waste for me as they made drawing and art something foreign and beyond my... Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2003
Dont be thrown off by Nicolaides' insistence on following his rigid three-hour-daily schedules. His approach is otherwise brilliant, focusing on exercises designed to help you... Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2003 by raymond dejesus