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Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and Techniques [Kindle Edition]

Margaret Davidson
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $35.00
Kindle Price: $16.14
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Drawing is experiencing an unparalleled surge in the art world. Passé notions that once defined drawing as being a preparatory stage for painting or sculpture have long since been cast aside. Drawing is now fully recognized as its own art form—in the biennials, art fairs, museum exhibitions, and beyond. Drawing has come of age.
Contemporary artists are increasingly discovering that drawing is something unique and different from painting. It is an intense, sensitive, compelling, personal, and utterly direct art form, one with its own concepts, characteristics, and techniques. In addition, contemporary drawing is not governed by any particular imagery, but rather encompasses a variety of approaches, including realist, abstract, modernist, and post-modernist.
Contemporary Drawing delves into the essential and far-reaching concepts of this medium, exploring surface, mark, space, composition, scale, materials, and intentionality in turn. Key techniques, such as using nature to induce marks and working with a checklist to determine a drawing’s problems, are introduced throughout. Plus, an in-depth chapter examines a number of artists, such as William Kentridge and Gego, who are breaking traditional boundaries that separate one artistic discipline from another.

Lushly illustrated by a wide range of highly accomplished contemporary artists, Contemporary Drawing offers a broad perspective on this expansive and energized field of art.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Margaret Davidson has a BFA from the University of Michigan and a MFA from the University of Washington. She is represented by Anchor Art Space in Anacortes, Washington. Davidson currently teaches courses in Beginning Drawing, Drawing from Modern Masters, the Aesthetics of Drawing, and various drawing technique classes at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, Washington.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Drawings are, in truth, flat things. Whether they are on paper or cloth or walls or floors, they are actually flat. Furthermore, even when the surface is a three-dimensional thing, a drawn image that is wrapped around it is made emphatically flat, by sheer contrast. Some contemporary drawing artists explore this flatness. To do so requires attention to the mark on the surface, and a constant awareness of the mark's relationship to the space implicit on the page. This is no easy thing, but the results, when this is carried out well, can be both austere and luminous. To focus on the mark and its realtionship to the surface and the space is something akin to meditation and focusing on one's own breathing. Both are so fundamental, so easily taken for granted, that it is difficult to sustain any amount of thoguht just for them. However, in drawing, when this is achieved, once the eye and hand have been successfully focused, the mind is free to open to a new sense of space and time.

Product Details

  • File Size: 102799 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; 1 edition (January 7, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D5BFDL2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,286 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring New Ideas in Original Ways April 22, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Margaret Davidson's New Book, "Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and Techniques" is an amazing work. It does something few books of this type do -- it explores new ideas in original ways. First, it elevates the status of drawing. Ms. Davidson shows us that drawing is not an art form second to painting, but an art form in its own right. Second, she talks about formal issues that, as far as I know, have not been covered in as much depth in other drawing guides. For example, the first two chapters of the book, "Surface" and "Mark", talk about the interrelationship between the paper and the drawing instrument used. I particularly liked her discussion of Georges Seurat as the first artist to fully employ the texture of the paper.

This is a book I will be enthusiastically recommending to all my students.

Subsequent chapters correspond to other formal issues contemporary drawing artists must think about, like space, composition, scale, and even intentionality. In so many places I am exposed to new concepts I had not thought about before: mark-making by fire (!), gravity, or propulsion; drawing on both sides of translucent paper, the modern compositional structure of "overallness"; or the truth of the flatness of the surface ... and it goes on. There is also very in-depth information about materials -- about every conceivable type of drawing media and drawing instrument, plus 14 pages on paper alone!

It should be noted that "Contemporary Drawing" is not a "how-to" guide that will teach you how to draw (angles, measuring, proportion, negative space, etc.,), as in the tradition of Betty Edward's "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" or Brian Curtis' "Drawing from Observation." Instead, we are shown how to think like contemporary drawing artists. Ms.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Narrowly Focused and Mistitled December 23, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I ordered this book because I thought it might really give a broad review of contemporary drawing. It did not. It emphasized the very narrow perspective of the author, focused on photographic realism and endless repetition. It was illustrated with many of her own drawings and those who draw like her. I would have titled it, "Boring Drawings by Margret and her Friends." If, however, you think there is something interesting about meticulously drawing a bath towel or skein of wool, showing every one of the millions of fibers and the shadow cast by each, you might be interested in this book,

My bias here is that I believe that art is more about exploring and discovering that which has not yet been discovered, and creating images that are intrinsically interesting and less about demonstrating the skill of the artist in photographic reproduction or a rational preciseness. So, I am looking for other books like Kaupelis, "Experimental Drawing," Steven Aimone, "Expressive Drawing," Maslen and Southern, "Drawing Projects," and the books by Bert Dodson.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good library book May 23, 2012
My local library had a copy that I read and studied. I buy books that I want to keep to re-read, to highlight ideas. This book might have made that level but was of mid-level interest. (Two of my favorite books which I pick up often to re-read are Steve Aimone's Expressive Drawing and Mitch Albala's Landscape Painting---two of the Amazon reviewers for this book.)

From this book, I am pleased that I picked up some new (to me) exciting artists to research and study: one being Jan Groth. I just ordered 4 of his books. Actually there are many exciting artists in this book. However, the repetitive use of the author's drawings does not advance the study or the themes of this book. The drawings are quite buttoned down. Author Davidson could have ended with her fine chapter on Breaking Barriers but concluded instead with Intentionality--perhaps her downfall.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
So very encouraging to see a book on contemporary drawing published by such a mainstream art-how-to publisher as Watson Gutpill. Davidson explores what modern and contemporary drawing can be and do in a very earnest and thoughtful manner. I might disagree with a point here and there... the focus is more left-brained than I might prefer...and the text could use a bit of additional editing... but this volume stands as an important contribution to the literature about contemporary drawing nonetheless. Highly recommend!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book. September 2, 2012
A few reviewers have commented on the author's use of her own drawings in this book and I did not find that a drawback at all. (It is, after all, her book.) I love any book which gives me a reason to reframe an idea or to think about something in a different way. This book did that for me. I have hundreds of art books on all levels and this is one I really appreciate and I think it is worth the cost.
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