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The Zen of seeing: Seeing, drawing as meditation Paperback – 1973


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Paperback, 1973
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf : distributed by Random House; 1st edition (1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394488040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394488042
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,300,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A Dutch artist offers his concept of seeing and drawing as a discipline by which the world may be rediscovered, a way of experiencing Zen. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Keep it, read it to tatters, tape it up, read it again.
Sandra Kelley
Enjoyable, finished it in a few hours, the drawing in it are really nice and the font is interesting, it feels like reading into someone's diary as intended I think.
RYZ
It is not just a book about seeing and drawing, it is a book about truly living.
JOAN M KIND

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

197 of 199 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was overjoyed to see this book back in print. I bought, devoured, and used this book in 1975 as an art student. Have you ever been so interested in doing an activity that time seemed to stand still? When you stop, it's almost like waking up from a pleasant dream or coming home from a long trip. That's what Franck is writing about here: the process of taking a tiny element of nature, a leaf or a stick or a seashell, and getting to know it in an unbelievably intimate way by drawing it. It absolutely does not require artistic "ability" to do this. Nonartists will be astounded what an adventure it is to take an hour or two and do this activity. It is therapeutic. It feeds the soul on a level that is akin to meditation, hence the title. My drawing teacher said, "I am not going to teach you to draw, I am going to teach you to see." Franck does this, and weaves into the text Zen stories and koans that shed light on the reasons for doing this activity in the first place. Enlightenment can be found in the art of tea, in the art of archery, in chanting and meditating, and Franck has shown us that drawing is a very valid method to add to this list. Thank you to the person who decided to reintroduce this classic. When so many books focus on creativity as a way to succeed in business, it's refreshing to return to developing creativity for its own sake. Buy this book, but promise to also plop down under a tree somewhere and draw!
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69 of 69 people found the following review helpful By JOAN M KIND on March 12, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Where has this book been? I started drawing and painting a few years back and have bought lots of books, but none like this! I don't think of myself as a Zen person or a mystic, but this book really speaks to me. The drawings are beautiful, but go beyond a superficial beauty. Even if one is not interested in drawing, there is lots in this book to recommend it. It is not just a book about seeing and drawing, it is a book about truly living.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
Years ago when this book was in its infancy, I was enrolled in a philosopy class on Death and Dying. When asked what we would give to a friend who was dying, I responded, "The Zen of Seeing--Drawing as Meditation." Why? Because in a person's final hours I believed it could provide a peace that comes from seeing the world differently--more openly. Why wait for death to knock?
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nadja on August 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the whole `Zen and the Art of [fill in the blank]' shtick seems rather tired nowadays, this book was written back in the day before it had been done to death. And even though many of the insights in *Zen of Seeing* may now seem as trite as they are timeless, its hard to give this classic anything less than four stars, for it still manages to inspire, enlivened as it is by Franck's irascible spirit and sheer zest for life and the practice of drawing. What's more, this oversized trade paperback is filled with Franck's own uniquely beautiful pen and wash drawings--delicate, suggestive, almost calligraphic, they depict people, landscapes, animals, leaves, anything and everything that caught Franck's enlightened eye. And that's pretty much the point of *Zen of Seeing,* that all the Ten Thousand Things are worth seeing--and drawing--and by drawing even the lowliest insect or common weed, we see it and marvel at its inexpressible wonder for the very first time.

This is really not a book about creating "Art." It's a book about the reverence of life for those who would use a sketchpad instead of a prayer book. Franck doesn't teach you about perspective or negative space, anatomy or shading--he's not teaching you *how to draw.* He's doing something far more important. He's showing you the *why of drawing.*

You can draw on anything with anything and in the end it doesn't matter what your drawing looks like--or doesn't look like! What's important is the act of drawing itself, the quiet contemplation of the thing drawn that engages you fully in the moment and opens your eyes and your heart to the world around you. Have you ever seen--really seen--a sparrow, a turnip, your child's face?
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful By sm-kumta@cuhk.edu.hk on November 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book that stimulates one to observe the beauty of life's everyday processes and to record these experiences in the form of simpledrawings-- sketches that need not be exact, are often indistinct, yet capture some intricate details to reveal the beauty of nature. This is a very "warm and friendly" book with a very rustic, imaginative style, and is very readable. The expressions in this book have stimulated the interest of almost all who have picked it up- my sons aged 14 and 8, my daughter aged 4, a computer programmer, a cancer patient in the ward, a nurse, and therapist and others from all walks of life - the artist within all of us !
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I've studied many of the how-to draw books out there on the market. And, I must say that this book is quite well written and easy to understand(it is actually handwritten and not typed). It teaches the reader to be more concerned with what he/she is observing than what they are putting down on paper. The author uses many examples to illustrate his points he is trying to get across. However, this book will not be of any aid to those who are searching for actual techniques and drills (such as step by step exercises). The lessons taught are somewhat similar in substance to those taught by Dr. Betty Edward's Book "Drawing on the right Side of the Brain". I would recommend this title to those who are interested in drawing for the shear enjoyment of it. So, in that respect I give it 5 stars.
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