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Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil Paperback – March 15, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Contrary to the publicity on this book, it doesn't contain techniques "so easy that anyoneAfrom doodler to advanced artistAcan master in minutes." This is instead a highly challenging manual on achieving effects close to photographic with little more than a sharp pencil. Hillberry, an artist and teacher, offers splendid demonstrations on creating the look of metal, wood, hair, and even cracked glass. To his credit, Hillberry admits one needs to have already grasped shape, proportion, and perspective before approaching this level of realism. Highly recommended for collections that need more than the basics.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Hillberry has taught many one day mini-workshops at art fairs and art stores.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: North Light Books; 1st edition (March 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891348689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891348689
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Refining your pencil work starts here. Hillberry pushes his medium and he pushes it hard. If you love the subtle, moody, sensitive qualities of pencil drawings and are working to take yours from the realm of rough diamonds to stand alone works of art, you are going to love this book.
Very well photographed, Hillberry gives detailed, progressive steps of many of his drawings and is very forthcoming about the techniques he uses to get his results. Hillberry's work is photo-realistic, but even if that is not your goal he spends the first third of the book discussing how to develop the skill necessary to create the even, shifting tones of graphite vital to effective pencil work. The photorealistic sessions are important for everyone as they hone your awareness of what you are seeing and your ability to relay it. His finished examples are beautiful and inspiring.
I love pencil, and there isn't a better book on the topic out there (after 15 years of collecting, I may just have them all). If you feel the same way, get this book. Then quit shopping and get back to your studio and work.
PS--Another interesting book is Robert Zappalorti's "Drawing Sharp Focus Still Lifes" (Watson-Guptill) but it is out of print and you will have to search hard to find it. I feel Hillberry's book is superior, but it's always instructive to see how different artists approach their work.
Good luck, draw hard.
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Format: Paperback
I rarely read how-to books and think most of them are pretty lame, but this one is a clear exception. I hadn't read a how-to book on the pencil for decades (and I vaguely remember getting the basics from a couple of good books by Ted Kautzky and Paul Calle) and found this book by accident while looking for something else. I was instantly drawn to it (sorry...).
Seriously, though, this is one of the best how-to books I've ever read. Hillberry sets out to do, and does, exactly what his title says it's going do. I can't imagine someone working with this book and not getting something valuable from it. The author's prose style is like his drawing style, very clear and straight ahead. It's not verbose or vague and it's not too terse either. In chapters 1 and 2 he describes the basic tools and general methods of using abrasive media (not ust pencils but powdered graphite, charcoal, graphic blocks etc.). Then he moves on to some tutorials, well chosen to explain the problems of rendering general types of things - metal, wood, he human eye... There are many little gems within the tutorial that will reinforce the general technical points in chapter 2. Like all how-to books there is kind of a jump involved, a certain point where to the naive (most of the market for how-to books, probably) it seems like the author goes from point a, b, c... to point r. That's inevitable. How could it not be? If this stuff was easy, then everybody could do it. Drawing is not easy, but it's the most direct means of creating art, an irreplaceable core skill, useful to painters and sculptors as much as anyone else, and potentially a wonderful end in itself (think about it... think what Raphael and Michaelangelo did with a pencil; look at Henry Moore's drawings, look at... no, there's too many great works of art that are drawings to even consider listing them).
This book can help you with your drawing even if you're not a realist. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I had seen this book around (on websites) and even viewed JD Hillberry's website, but was finally 'sold' on buying it when I used the Amazon feature to look inside the book. WOW! Even the very first page, which lists the supplies - was a revelation! I have been working from home as an artist and illustrator for a few years now (I'm self taught, like Hillberry) and I was intrigued by his list of supplies.

You don't have to be a professional to get a lot out of this book. I wish I had found this book years ago. If you're like me and you've enjoyed Lee Hammond's books on drawing from photographs and you're ready to take your skills to the next level, then you definitely want to buy this book.

It is comprehensive but easy to read too - if you look at textures and tell yourself "I can't do that"...this book will break it down for you and you can realize that you CAN do this and it's a learnable skill. Hillberry takes you step by step in each process, and it's never boring.

My art has been transformed!

I would love for JD Hillberry to write another book!
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Format: Paperback
I try to avoid art books that read like cook books. The art books shelf at any bookstore is full of mediocre illustrations bound under titles like "Painting Realistic Waterfalls with Oil" or "Draw Spiderman Just Like the Pros". I was attracted to this book by the phenomenal cover rendering, but frankly I expected it to be another volume on how to paint an elephant's eyelashes in gouache.
That it is not.
Though it covers specific examples, the techniques illustrated by J.D. Hillberry can be effectively applied to pencil and charcoal rendering in general. Mr. Hillberry's rendering skills are incredible and inspiring. He illuminates mundane subject matter to the point of photorealism. This book is a must buy for a design student (or anyone fairly competant in rendering) who is ready to tackle the photorealism giant.
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