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Illustrating Nature: Right-Brain Art in a Left-Brain World Paperback – November 1, 2004


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Illustrating Nature: Right-Brain Art in a Left-Brain World + Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You + How to Keep a Naturalist's Notebook
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Nature Works (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915965089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915965083
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Brady provides specific … exercises and techniques…tested and retested with a wide variety of ages and skill levels. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal, November 15, 2004

"This would be an excellent school or home-school text, as well as an excellent self-help guide to budding artists." -- Heartland Reviews, Bob Spear, Publisher and Chief Reviewer

"…exactly what I look for in an instructional book …for use in a homeschool program..." -- BellaOnline, Meg Grooms, Homeschooling Editor

"…students cannot fail to delight themselves and vastly exceed their own expectations… Perfect for...artists of all ages." --Fearless Reviews (M. Polonsky) December 5, 2004

From the Publisher

Finally, a book that shows you, step-by-step, how to get the artistic results you want. Other art instructional books show you the beautiful final product (and if you’re lucky, a couple of interim steps) but leave you pretty much hanging in the wind about how to get from point A to point B. And few of them give you any background about HOW and WHY it all works together to get you to your final goal. Have you ever seen a book that shows you how to draw moving objects with confidence and skill? Illustrating Nature, Right-brain Art in a Left-brain World does. And that's just the beginning!

This book is designed to make art logical, simple, doable and fun. Improving your artistic prowess can be as simple as picking and choosing from a lavish array of simple tricks to improve your skills, or as involved as going through the book step by step to arrive at a point where you can draw what you see with confidence and pride.

We’ve never seen another book like this. It is being used by homeschoolers to give their children the skills to illustrate their journals and assignments (and entertain themselves!). College classes are using it as a textbook to learn scientific illustration. And it’s being used by ordinary people to learn how to do what they’ve always dreamed of – to be able to draw exactly what they see.

If art instructional books that promised a lot but left you scratching your head and filling trash baskets with wadded-up sketches have put you off before, try this one for a refreshing change.

We think this unique book is going to give Betty Robert’s book, Drawing From the Right Side of the Brain, some heavy competition.


More About the Author

For the last twenty-five years of so I've lived in the Oregon madrone woods about three miles from the nearest town. Most of the time I write and illustrate nature books for kids (and adults who like lots of pictures and clear explanations like I do!). When I can find the time, I go exploring -- to the beach, the mountains, to the jungle and beach in Costa Rica and New Zealand with my friend, Dan, and into the woods to visit a hawk nest or down to the creek to watch for dippers (little gray birds that walk under water)right here around home .

Writing and illustrating has been a lifetime project for me. I started when I was 19, with my first book, AMERICA'S HORSES AND PONIES, published five years later, in 1969, by Houghton Mifflin.

I wrote and illustrated a lot more books for HM, Scribners, and several other publishers, won some awards, and illustrated articles for Audubon, Ranger Rick Nature Magazine and others.

For several years I was the Scientific Illustrator at the National Fish & Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon, doing graphics, illustrating papers, and making courtroom displays for such things as the Exxon Valdez (oil spill) trial and others. It was great to be able to help wildlife hands-on.

Now I'm back to writing and illustrating my own books full time, painting and inking art for Forest Service and nature center interpretive signs, and teaching scientific illustration at Southern Oregon University.

In 1999 I published the first in a series of books about the wild places of America -- The Redrock Canyon Explorer -- which featured the wild canyons of the Southwest. Writing and illustrating it took me about three years. It's carried in state and national parks and monuments, bookstores and trading posts of the Southwest -- Arches, Zion, Montezuma Castle, and Glen Canyon Visitor Center, to name a few.

Now I'm more than halfway through the second volume of the series. This one's on Southeastern cypress swamps, and I think I'll call it The Southern Swamp Explorer.

Between the two Explorer books (above) I got sidetracked writing Illustrating Nature ~ Right-brain Art in a Left-brain World to use in teaching my nature illustration students. That drawing book was a whole new direction for me, with marketing in areas I've never tackled before -- and the results have been astonishing....

Last spring I went with my bud Dan to New Zealand for a month. I spent the rest of the year writing up my notes and journal and sketches into an e-book. It's available as a .pdf, and is full of sketches and photos. It was a blast, and I love it, but it hasn't been a great seller. Of course, I'm not such a great promoter, either.

I love my work. My days are kept interesting by alternating writing and illustrating, watching wildlife out my studio windows, reading, teaching illustration classes and workshops (and all that entails!), working on my clipart collection, watching nature programs on PBS, promoting and distributing my books, filling book orders, and dreaming up ways to take more trips like the one to New Zealand.

My next scheme is launching a career in teaching nature sketching workshops on natural history cruise ships. Now that's a dream job to end all dream jobs. I think. And maybe I'll actually find out for sure. In the meantime, I'll keep drawing swamp critters and playing with the cat. Life is good.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
The book has step by step lessons and is also beautifully illustrated!
Amazon Customer
There are lots of exercises where she encourages us to draw what we see and to take as much time as we need to finish our drawing.
D. Spindler
I am very impressed by her book, Illustrating Nature, Right-brain Art in a Left-brain World.
Nancy Field

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Darby A. Morrell on July 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've looked at a lot of art instruction books, wondering if they'd perform

as promised. This profusely illustrated book is the best I've seen!

The first thing you notice when you leaf through Illustrating Nature ~

Right-brain Art in a Left-brain World is that Irene Brady has skillfully

constructed exercises to lead you by the hand at your own pace down her

well-marked trail to professional illustration. For instance, the book begins by

explaining that artistic skills are natural to most of us and that to open

the door all you need is the key - then she hands you the key.

Starting with right-brain exercises to help you access your creative

skills, she then shows you how to really look at things, noticing and

comparing shapes and angles. The next step is to convey that information to

your hand and the paper - and amazingly, out comes a picture you'll be

amazed you could create. While beginners can get started with this book,

all artists can jump in at their own skill level and proceed from there to

a stage of excellence they've only dreamed of. There are exercises to

advance the artist's skill in such different areas as shading; use of

pencil, pen, and computer; organizing and designing an illustration; field

sketching (and taking notes about the subject); and a multitude of procedures and tips, both large and small, that go into creating beautiful, professional

results. The heavily illustrated instructions for each exercise are clear,

concise, and lead the artist from elemental to complex in easy increments.
Read more ›
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
A great deal of this art instructional book deals with trying to see things and draw using the artistic side of the brain instead of the analytical left side. Subjects covered include sketching, texture, tone, line art, drawing techniques, design and layout, drawing fur, eyes, and other parts of animals, and botanical drawing. The appendixes include multiple projects, field sketchbook and portfolio creation, and career tips if you want to pursue illustration as a career. In addition to the common techniques you typically find in an art instructional book there are dozens and dozens of field notes specific to nature illustration work in the field. These make the book a best choice for anyone who wants to engage in nature illustration. Illustrating Nature is recommended for drawing in general and highly recommended for nature drawing techniques.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Field on July 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
Irene Brady is an expert, biologically accurate nature artist, but that doesn't stop her from creating (and teaching others to create) lively, interesting nature art. I am very impressed by her book, Illustrating Nature, Right-brain Art in a Left-brain World. From the construction of a leaf or a wing to the hairs in an ear and the fur on the body, Brady leads you to analyze the structure of plant or animal parts. Then she skillfully helps you understand techniques to illustrate these features. You learn how to pay attention to the details and illustrate the entire organism in a realistic and delightful manner. Brady wisely encourages the developing artist to use computer graphics as part of their toolkit. She also provides an appendix with many design ideas for book and magazine layout and design and promotional graphics, brochures and the like for museums and nature centers. This is a superb book for classroom use and the individual learner. I would have given my eyeteeth for this book as a child. Maybe there is hope for me yet!

Nancy Field

Nature Publisher, Author and Wildlife Biologist

Dog-Eared Publications

Author of several titles, including Discovering Sharks and Rays, the winner of a 2004 Ben Franklin Award for Best Juvenile-Young Adult Nonfiction
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Brown on February 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
Rebeccasreads highly recommends ILLUSTRATING NATURE as an important tool for every budding artist (no matter their age) with an eye for a career in illustration, scientific or otherwise, as well as an extraordinary assistance for elders wanting to keep their brains in tip-top shape!

If you're a bit confused by all this Left Brain/Right Brain stuff, then Irene Brady ably guides you in discovering just what your Left Brain does, & what your magical Right Brain can do. Amazing stuff, folks!

ILLUSTRATING NATURE is a superbly inter-active book -- you are in for an adventure in creating fascinating, realistic images.

ILLUSTRATING NATURE is a textbook you will keep coming back to, as your skill progresses - highly recommended for home schooling, elder art classes & anyone of any age who loves to draw.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Tanguay on January 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
Pleasantly surprised at how comprehensive this guide turned out to be. Layout and instruction are highly engaging and I feel motivated to practice the exercises. Perfect for homeschoolers using the Charlotte Mason method.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S.C. on July 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
I wanted to both improve my skills and have a book that might enable me to teach others. Most of the exercises are on one page, engaging for adults or kids and are the best of her class handouts. ( It even has rubrics with checkboxes ) It's much more exciting than the classic drawing exercises ( still lifes, basic shapes etc) and has some blocking-in ideas I've not seen before. Its also not just a series of demos you can't duplicate or transfer knowledge to other subjects. I am certainly excited to work my way through this. And snap up more copies for friends!
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