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The Drawing Projects: An Exploration of the Language of Drawing Paperback – August 2, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Both authors are artists and teachers and their 'contemporary approach to contemporary drawing', both in the informality of the conversations and in the 'projects' themselves (the projects encourage various techniques and approaches), means Drawing Projects forms a particularly rich basis for developing an understanding of the medium…" Scottish Art News

About the Author

Jack Southern has been a practicing artist in London since graduating from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2003. He is currently undertaking a residency with Acme Studios, East London, and he teaches fine art on the foundation course at the University of Gloucestershire.

Mick Maslen has taught painting and drawing to foundation students for more than 30 years. He is a former course leader of the foundation course in art and design at the University of Gloucestershire.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Black Dog Publishing; 1 edition (August 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907317252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907317255
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 8.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The scope of the content and detail of Drawing Projects is amazing!
The book is beautifully illustrated, a pleasure to hold and look at - a real book lover's book.

It presents drawing in an accessible way because it focuses on practice, process and individual development from the beginning. I like the way it does not claim to be a sweeping study of the field - it's all about making drawing work for the individual.

It examines a huge diversity of drawing practices. Interviews with practising artists are interspersed throughout, bringing the ideas/projects to life. It is just brimming with energy, activity and points of departure - I'm sure it will inspire a lot of people to start or revisit drawing, whether they are starting out or more established.

Each reader can use Drawing Projects in a different way - you don't feel like you have to plough through the book to get at a nugget of someone else's wisdom; you read for your self and own needs. It emphasises drawing as artistic practice: a personal, ongoing, evolving and pleasurable activity.

It's a book I can see myself dipping into and referring back to again and again. I have not encountered another book like it.
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This is a book for artists across the board from beginners to stuck professionals, as it replicates what was termed as 'experimental drawing' at my art school. Not only is it a massive boost to one's own art making capabilities, it overrides procrastination in the sense that all the 'projects' are totally achievable with time frames of approx. 20minutes, sometimes less. The suggestion that the need for high end & expensive materials is not necessary allows for the individual to jump into it here & now. It encourages us to see with fresh eyes, with exciting & contemporary methods without feeling the need to copy or imitate others, giving us what artists really want: The freedom to do what we do.
The text is a fantastic read, encompassing & digging deep into our psyches in a real & tangible way & the examples of various artists work here, nothing short of stunning.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Am currently working on the drawing projects in this book and find them innovative. challenging, and eye-opening - and I've been teaching drawing on the college level for nearly 20 years. If your drawings are good, maybe even excellent, but you feel they are formulaic or just uninspired, the "assignments" in this book will get you out of the rut. I'm exploring new media and ways to see things and am truly enjoying it - and better yet -learning. Feels like I'm a kid again, trying things I have never tried and thrilled with the results. May use a couple of the projects in my own classes.
As others have said before, the challenge for the artist is to draw what you see, not what you know. The ability to see like an artist is so much more useful than the knowledge of stylized symbols, or the technical specifications of all the different media, or art history and names and styles of famous artists. This book get's you out of all that the logical left brain garbage, and into that wonderful state of flow inside your right brain. While the projects include some of the pioneering strategies of Betty Edwards and Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain, "Drawing Projects" takes Edwards a few steps forward and offers more advanced and involved project to evolve your drawing.
Finally, perhaps one of the best things about this book, it treats drawing as valuable and finished media, not some sort of preliminaries to painting. Inspiring and useful book, with over 20 distinct and different projects. Even if you only gain from a single project, (and you will find more than one) this book is well worth the cost allowing you to take your your drawings in fresh challenging directions.
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Format: Paperback
As many have related in the other reviews, this is an amazing book, full of innovative ideas about the art and craft of drawing. Others have noted that it's superbly put together, made from nice paper and featuring great graphic design and beautiful photographs. I completely agree. My only problem with the book is that the text is riddled with errors that any copy editor should have caught and corrected. Misplaced commas and em dashes on almost every page, run-on sentences, apostrophes used with plural nouns (!)--for me this distracts from the experience of getting into a book's rhythm, and draws attention to the mechanical imperfections of the work rather than the ideas discussed.

On one hand, who cares, right? The book is about art, written by artists; nitpicky left-brained attention to written language in such a work fails to appreciate the spirit of what the book is about. I gleaned plenty from its insights and exercises regardless of the copy errors.

On the other hand, though, it's frustrating to enjoy something that's obviously had so much work, thought, and talent put into it, only to run into easily correctable mistakes. It's similar to curating a fashion show, but leaving faces partially unpainted and rough seams hanging from the clothing modeled. I'd go so far as to say the errors threaten to compromise the credibility of the authors--if the book isn't copy edited, are the ideas the authors put forth unrefined or amateur as well?

Again, I found this to be one of the most valuable books I've read on drawign. But if you caught the spelling error I made at the end of that last sentence, you'll understand how jarring it was for me to read each page in Drawing Projects. As we've heard in art classes so many times, craftsmanship is crucial to a finished piece--make your work as clean as it can be!
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