Top critical review
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Not a bad "how-to" book........but it could be better.
on August 2, 2014
Technically speaking, the info in this book is okay. It takes pains to explain it's theories on perspective, shows examples.........but in the end I have to wonder about how much use it'll see--at least on my desk.
There's two hits against it: one being that the sample art inside is just so-so.
The artists contributing to the book may be working pros, but their work doesn't have a lot of appeal or pizzazz to it. As an artist, I'd rather have the highest calibre work showcasing the lesson rather than have mediocre work to "inspire" me.
Second is a quibble that comes from having taught perspective in adult-level art colleges and film schools; there's a flaw in the method. The author jumps into the lesson with all the technical aspects.......establishing the horizon line, the vanishing points, etc...and builds the drawing from there.
But THAT is the very flaw in teaching perspective, that ends up intimidating students, simply because they are at a loss as to how to visualize the object drawn at the outset.
The method in the book, like many other similar approaches to perspective starts off with the formula, and somehow......magically, the student is expected to be able to visualize the desired object along the way--inside the web of perspective construction lines.
It's like being taught how to ride a bicycle by being told to sit on the handle bars and face backwards.
And it's not how most pros do it.
The trick that the book misses out on is in composing the picture. The method put forth doesn't allow the artist to properly fit the construction into a given frame, certainly not without some trial and error.
The professional way to establish perspective is.........to eyeball it.
To draw, free-hand what the object or setting is, by eye, composing the picture with the main elements in place.
THEN, once the basic structure is there, the pro goes in and CORRECTS the construction for perspective--using the various methods outlined in the book.
The framing of a subject on the page is the first priority---because that sets up the parameters of what to draw. Depiction of perspective and technical accuracy is then secondary.
This slightly different approach is often the thing that strips away the fear and intimidation that perspective drawings bring to a lot of newcomers ( and some working pros!)--mostly because there's something already down on the page to work off of. It also helps build the visual strengths in the artist because it calls upon them to see the drawing subject in their mind's-eye an then be able to translate it to the page.
Those things aside, the book does present its material clearly and concisely. The illustrations ( while not to my personal liking) do get the points across well enough. It's a good enough how-to book, but not the best.