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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Drawing, 2E Paperback – July 1, 2003

15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

You will learn to unlock the artist within you so you too can draw and express yourself!! This book will show you how to use different basic mediums, such as pencils, charcoal, pen and ink. It will also teach you different types of drawing such as line, cartoon, figure, perspective and technical drawing. The book will include using shading, light, dimension, energy and mood techniques. Blank pages are included to serve as practice pages. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Lauren Jarrett, a naturalist, has collected, drawn, and painted from nature since childhood, encouraged by her grandfather and mother, who are both fine artists themselves. She cooks, gardens, draws, paints, illustrates, and teaches.

Lisa Lenard is the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Numerology (with Kay Lagerquist), and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Reincarnation (with David Hammerman), and other titles. She's also the author of three novels, including Here and Now.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; 2nd edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592570801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592570805
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Hochmann on February 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I bought /The Complete Idiot's Guide to Drawing/ on a whim, because it had lots of illustrations and a wide variety of topics contained within. I'm not at all disappointed with the book, but I feel I should warn potential buyers that this is not necessarily the best book to start with.
The authors start out with basic drawing theory, left brain vs. right brain, etc. and a few exercises to help you understand how best to approach drawing in general. They move on to talk about different types of paper, pencils, the picture plane, viewfinder, and other tools for drawing - very useful and well thought out information. Then the book jumps into various ideas for what to draw, what perspectives to try, etc.
If you're thinking it sounds like something has been left out, you're right. While /Idiot's Guide to Drawing/ covers a lot of tools and drawing ideas, it doesn't offer much in the way of exercises or practical advice for actually _drawing_. So while you may be inspired by, say, the section on still life drawings, you will find very little in the way to help you practice.
So what it comes down to is this: if you've dabbled a bit in drawing and aren't afraid of experimentation, this is an excellent book. Lots of good stuff in here, and great ideas for where you might want to point your creativity. But as I said, there aren't very many guided exercises in the book to help you explore the concepts you see and get any decent amount of feedback. Some would argue that lots of little exercises are silly or pointless, but I think they can be great confidence builders for those of us who tend to be overly critical of our own artwork... Or those of us who expect far too much from ourselves early on.
I highly recommend this book - but with a strong suggestion that you start with one or two more basic drawing books (like /Drawing for Dummies/), unless you want to do a great deal of experimentation on your own.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Smith on July 13, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most drawing books either get too advanced early or are written for young kids. This one contains useful exercises in every chapter at a pace that isn't boring but can be followed. This is the fourth drawing book I've started and the only one I've stuck with. By chapter 8 (or 12 at the latest) your drawings will no longer belong on the refrigerator door. Good luck to all the other adult beginners out there!!
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "selket" on October 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Well...stick people with depth! But seriously, I always though I had a drawing impairment gene but even after spending a few minutes with this book and the excellent ideas and advice on how to "see" objects I could actually sit down and do a drawing of my hand that looked dimensional. I am really amazed by the results so far and can certainly recommend it to those who want to have some fun and try a little drawing beyond stick people.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dawn Wexler on August 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What a great book! Thoroughly addresses every aspect of drawing for the complete beginner with plenty of room to grow for all levels. It is excellent in the way it addresses the issue of training oneself to see skillfully in order to draw skillfully. In the absence of that information most "complete idiot's" won't even begin, but once convinced most have the confidence to try...with exciting results. This book presents a very convincing case. The book addresses almost every imaginable area of interest to an aspiring artist. Great for classroom teachers, homeschoolers and others who would like to pass on their love of drawing in an organized fashion. Top notch!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Adams on June 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
At best, this is an oversimplified rehash of Betty Edwards', "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." As a much better alternative to both of these books, look into Brenda Hoddinott's, "Drawing for Dummies." Brenda's method is very methodical and step-by-step, not to mention fun and a little silly,(just like Brenda!) whereas this particular book calls for a "If you only look at what your drawing, it will be easy!" attitude. Nothing truly worth doing is easy. Check out Ms. Hoddinott's Drawspace.com website as well. You won't be sorry you did.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Bain on April 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is bargain-priced, but there are better "how to's" out there for beginners. It is a good reference book for the money, and full of useful general information. As an additional resource for your study, it has something to offer; but it's more of an "extra".
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By T. W. on August 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
I had the chance to use a copy of this book, so I sat down at the dinner table and read the chapter on landscape drawing at my leisure. It was useless. It amounts to an inventory of elements in landscapes, with a random assortment of completely uninspired drawings for each one, coupled with the sagacious observation that this element (be it skies or trees or whatever) presents different aspects and opportunities for you as you draw it. There are checklists of purportedly practical tips, but they could have been brainstormed by any hack writer over a cup of coffee & are not really demonstrated or explored.

So, if you have to buy a guide to drawing for the idiot/dummy, I feel pretty certain saying you're better off with the competing title Drawing for Dummies. I haven't used this book, but the author Brenda Hoddinott's online drawspace-dot-com instructional materials show her far superior ability to help you think about drawing.

If I may descend to the merely snarky (since the illiteracy and historical disorientation of artists is nothing new), I was pretty dismayed by the advice, "Don't draw a head of broccoli like painters used to before en plein air painting became popular..." Ummm, Leonardo and Dürer's botanical studies are a bit truer to nature than anything in this book! The author of this book declared previously at one point (mistakenly), "En plein air is a French term meaning 'full of fresh air.'" My verdict on her book: Full of hot air.
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