Top positive review
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All the Basics in One Place
on June 30, 2010
"Design Drawing" is a superb book, containing all the core essentials of drawing in one place. The clarity of the author's writing is superb, and his illustrations excellent (pun intended). However, it should be remembered that drawing and illustration are quintessentially kinesthetic. The techniques cannot really be understood, let alone mastered, without actually putting pen or pencil to paper. Each and every exercise should be completed, and not just once but repeatedly until they are mastered. Doing so develops the necessary eye for seeing what is to be illustrated, and also the eye-hand coordination required to transfer an image from the mind to paper.
Also necessary for design drawing is a firm understanding of the conventions used in technical and architectural illustrations. These conventions and mathematical constructions can seem bewildering to the newcomer. Many books on the subject have not made the subject easier, nor have they eased the newcomer's fears of the subject. This book is outstanding in presenting the various drawing conventions clearly and simply, thus reducing or eliminating the mystery altogether. The examples provided are clear and illustrate the author's points well (as they should in such a book!).
The book is divided into three main sections: The first section, "Drawing from Observation" (Chapters 1-4), which addresses illustrating what one sees, with exercises focused on training the eye and the hand. The second section, "Drawing Systems" (Chapters 5-8), describes the formal conventions used in technical and architectural illustration. The formal constructions are described clearly, and the exercises reinforce each point made and each technique. The final section, "Drawing from Imagination" (Chapters 9-12), takes the student to the next level. Again, the exercises are well chosen to develop and reinforce the ideas and techniques described in the text.
A final note: The disappointed (1-star) reviewer who saw insufficient information on shading cannot have read the book well, if at all. The information is there, but each artist must develop his or her own techniques for establishing tonal values. Mr. Ching discusses the need for and use of such tonal values succinctly and clearly. All the information required is present, and permeates the book. For instance, Chapter 2 spends considerable time on the subject of "Tone and Texture," and on developing a tonal scale -- shading, in other words. Chapter 4, on "Space and Depth," addresses the use of tonal values -- shading -- to lend volume to images presented on a flat surface. Chapters 6, 7, and 8 each have a section on the use of shade and shadows. The whole last section draws on and includes the lessons on shade and shadows and tonal values introduced earlier in the book. Quite simply, the 1-star review is not understandable, in light of the content of the book.
As with any book describing technique, there is no simple, easy way to acquire the necessary talent and techniques. This book will not instantly infuse the reader with certain skills. However, it will guide the student who follows the exercises and practices in developing a visually rewarding capability.