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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2003
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
As a teacher of drawing, I have read many books on the subject. This book is the only one I would use as a textbook. I would agree with all the previous reviews but would only comment on the one review from the budding artist who felt the book is confusing and has too much art history for someone who only wants to learn to draw. I come to this book with over two decades of art experience so maybe that is why I find it so interesting, but even if the history is skipped and you read only the practical explanations and do the lessons in the back of the book, you will learn to draw from observation, as this book promises. The book is not meant to be read in two weeks. Learning to draw takes hard work and invested time.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
The simplification and clarity of the needed concepts to trascribe from a three dimensional space to a two dimensional plane are clearly eplained in this new book.
It has been a great experience to teach with this new text because the student is able to read the concept before he comes to class and therefore able to better understand the concept at hand.
The progressive format of the book from gesture to clock angles and chiaroscuro are well illustrated and clear.The perspective chapters are to me an addendum to what is done from the start with the square and rectangular forms. The historical aspects that are weaved into the text set the book apart for the student of fine art who is interested and needs this reference. I find that the materials chapter at the start of the book also set up a sequence of answers that are important to the beginning student of fine art. The section on "Drawing Assignments" is of particular interest to those didactic artists who will work on their own as well as the instructor who needs refernces for student exercises.
One suggestion on my behalf is the incorporation of a "CD" to augment the in class lectures and help the student visually.
I have been using this book for one semester and have adopted it for my College. Good work Mr. Curtis
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Best text, projects, and examples that I have ever seen in a text. A must have for schools and universities (chosen for Drawing 1 and Drawing 2 text).
Teaches you to really look at the object your drawing. Excellent for those who think that they could never draw.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
This text is the front-runner in our search for a text to teach visualization drawing for computer graphics students. Its methodology for perceiving and translating form and space into drawing very nicely parallels the principles used in computer modeling. The section on perspective clearly presents principles in such a way as to merge intuitive and analytical understanding. This is a hallmark of the book in general. In addition to practical clarity the text adds historical and theoretical perspectives to round out one's understanding of drawing. I appreciate this because, in the case of our program, it helps us to link the traditions of human visualization from ancient times to the computer age.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
As an art teacher at major universities, I have found that this book gives students the much needed principles that form the basis of an ability to draw from life. Many feel that drawing should be strictly intuitive and therefore no knowledge is needed. This is wrong. Without the ability to put what you see down on paper correctly, it is usually impossible to draw intuitively. This book gives students the needed basics to free up their imaginations to draw intuitively. I would recommend it to all beginning drawing classes.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
I knew from the beginning pages of this text where Curtis emphasizes the importance of developing sensitivity to the quality of the mark on the page, that this book should be in the collection of all student and visual arts professionals. It was exciting to find an intelligent text that is focused, well organized, generously illustrated (over 500 images), and so completely thorough in its presentation of observational drawing techniques and theory. It is packed full with instructive information and additional reference material that sets this book apart from any other drawing text that I have seen.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
I really like Drawing from Observation. It's nicely designed and has a ton of great illustrations. The student drawings are awesome and the technical illustrations really make it easy to understand the important stuff about how to draw what we see. Brian Curtis presents perceptual drawing in a way that is easy to understand. I wish this book had been available when I first started learning to draw. Would have saved me a lot of frustration if it had been. And where did he find all that information about the golden mean? Five thumbs up!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Wonderful book for any artist; should be a required for all artist's library. Great reference as well as instuctional guide. Well organized, each aspect of drawing is fully covered, well written and appropiately illustrated.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
With forty years of experience teaching basic drawing, this guide is probably the best I have seen for the beginning level university art student. It is clearly written and illustrated, thorough and pragmatic. Curtis does a very good job of explaining and illustrating linear and other perspective systems. The use of an imaginary clock face to estimate the angles of edges seen in perspective is very useful, and something I have done for years. (most students have difficulty comprehending a 45 or 90 angle, let alone something like a 27 degree angle).

I disagree with a previous reviewer's lack of interest in historical ideas such as the golden mean, and the Fibonacci sequence. While these certainly are not the only systems of visual organization, they demonstrate how some artists have designed their compositions. These ideas are about the relationships between various elements in a composition, and not just about perfecting a solitary object in the center of a blank page.

My only criticism is that the layout seems a bit cramped. It might look better with a larger page size, say 8.5 X 11 inches. This is a well done book and I hope it appears in a second edition.

Jim Nawara
Wayne State University
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I am not disagreeing that the book does not have some good information; it does for me as a seasoned artist. I was excited that it had lesson plans in the back. (After viewing them, they were not too exciting though.) I read the ratings before purchasing it and it sounded like I found the perfect book. However, after receiving it, there was one review in particular that came to mind and I must agree with that person who stated that in a nutshell, the book was too technical and not user friendly. I was intending to use this book with my students in a HS observational drawing class. That isn't going to happen. The key with high school kids is to provide as much information as possible within a reasonable amount of text so that they may get to work. The longer the text portion of the projects, the faster you lose them. I am interested in suggestions for a HS level text on observational drawing if anyone has any. I am glad I bought this book used!
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