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Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art Paperback – September 10, 2013


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Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art + Playing with Sketches: 50 Creative Exercises for Designers and Artists + Just Draw It!: The Dynamic Drawing Course for Anyone with a Pencil and Paper
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Best Books of 2014
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452119775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452119779
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Employing the formula of examples + explanations = inspiration, journalist and artist Birch presents the work of dozens of practicing contemporary artists, highlighting prominent techniques so that the reader can emulate and build upon them. Illustrations can be found on nearly every page, including many close-up views that break down for the reader what is happening in the more elaborate drawings. The book also contains category and visual indexes that will be helpful for those who prefer to skip around rather than read from start to finish. VERDICT There is something in this guide for advanced, intermediate, and beginning artists alike." - Library Journal

About the Author

Helen Birch is a journalist and artist based in the United Kingdom.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on September 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
Length: 1:25 Mins
Freehand is a book of sketching tips and techniques that invite you to experiment with them. The author Helen Birch is an artist and drawing lecturer based in UK.

There are more than a hundred ideas and techniques featured by different artists. There are doodles, collages, intricate pieces, realistic ones, illustrations and many more.

The examples are rather unconventional. I like them for the unexpected nature and surprise element. For example, some would like to draw on graph papers to make use of the grid lines and some like to wash their paper with colour before painting. There's one who draw on styrofoam cups, others create collages using paper and scissors. There are artists who talk about using subdued colour, bright colours, layered colours or even no colours such as the use of silhouettes.

Anyway, you can check out selected page previews on Amazon. And this book is available as a Kindle edition also.

Freehand is not strictly about art created traditionally. Some artists would use graphics software to touch up. There really aren't any rules, just that all the examples start off hand drawn.

At the back is a brief section on drawing fundamentals. They cover line, tones, colours and materials. It's all elementary stuff for the beginners.

This is an ideas book essentially, rather than a technical book that teaches you how to draw.

If you like doodling, sketching or drawing for fun, or looking for ideas and inspiration to get started, this is a good book to check out.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kamilah Gill on March 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got really excited when I picked up this book at my library. I wanted a book with contemporary artwork sorted by style, medium, and subject. This book does have the examples organized this way. So I went ahead and bought a copy. I pick pages at random to get inspiration for my daily sketches.

I should have looked more closely at my library copy, though. The text is unreadably bad and sloppy in a lot of places. I pretty much have had to skip over it. At least one artist is incorrectly referred to as male when she is female. I get the feeling that the author did not meet, interview or even ask the artists about their work in enough detail. She makes guesses about the artists' intent and use of materials. Some artists are given too many pages in the book. Some of the work is plain weak. I've visited several of the artists' websites (helpfully listed at the end of the book). Many of them have stylish but empty artwork, or, more annoyingly, the work style (especially digital and collage work, or repetitive doodle work), is probably a cover for a plain lack of drawing ability. This would be less of a problem if each artist were just given a two-page spread, but many individual artists pop up more than once in the book. That feels like filler and padding.

I think that the makers of this book have their hearts in the right place, and the book might be more helpful to some people who really enjoy this style of art. It will probably grate on your nerves a bit if you have had more exposure the art world in general, though.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Judith Hoffman on September 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This little book is interesting, lots of tips, unusual drawings. It makes me want to draw! I gave it four stars because it is small, almost 7 inches wide, 5 inches high. The vertical drawings suffer because they are too small to read. There is a teardrop shaped detail next to each one, but it doesn't help that much. Also there are a few errors in the text. On one drawing the description refers to lanterns in the sky, candles and snowflakes, none of which appear in the drawing pictured next to the text. Hmmm. These are not deal-breakers for me. I took some drawing classes years ago in school, haven't kept up with it. This book is very inspiring, that is what I was looking for.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chel Micheline TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 14, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm taking a Line Drawing class at the moment and the instructor recommended this book.

I was a little surprised at it- it's very small (even though I knew the dimensions, the fact that it's about the same size as my hand took me by surprise!) but very thick. Inside are lots of CONTEMPORARY drawings, illustrations, and mixed media work by many different artists. I have to admit, most the work isn't exactly my style (I'm drawn to more organic and playful stuff) but the author does a great job of pointing out why she chose to include the work and what the artist did to make the art piece work, via line, composition, shading, colors, etc.

For someone who has a basic sense of drawing/illustration, and wants to learn more and get a nudge in the right direction, this is a good resource to have. There's lot of good information in here re: the technical aspects of making a drawing work.

But if you are simply looking for eye candy, make sure you love the artists represented in this book. And if you want an instructional book that REALLY gives you the nuts and bolts of sketching, illustration, and line-drawing, this may not be the book to start out with.

I'd love to see another book in this series, with different styles of artists represented. Recommended.
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