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How to Draw What You See Paperback – Deluxe Edition, September 1, 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 215 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rudy de Reyna is the author of many Watson-Guptill classics, including
Magic Realist Drawing Techniques.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; 35th Anniversary ed. edition (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823023753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823023752
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The beginning of this book and the idea behind it are simple and straightforward: behind every object you see there is some "skeletal" figure made of simple geometric shapes - the cube, the cone, the cylinder and the sphere. If you know how to draw these and string them together you can in theory make any drawing you want. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is. Only the book doesn't fully realize its potential.
The first part of the book which deals with these basic shapes, how to draw them, shade them, etc ... starts out well enough. But by the time the author reaches the more advanced subjects, such as drawing nature, portraits and the human figure the book degenerates into yet another book filled with the author implicitly saying, "look at how well I can draw!", filling pages upon pages with finished, beautiful drawing a beginner can never hope to achieve. For example: when discussing feet and hands, the author provides two drawings of the foot and briefly tells the student he should observe the foot and note its proportions. Really? And I thought I should stand on my head and sing the star spangled banner. Sorry for the sarcasm, but that is not an acceptable way of teaching how to draw the foot.
Another example: when discussing figure drawing the author does not explain the figure's anatomy. Rather he says how he has followed his 14 years old daughter around the house and drew her in various natural positions. The reader is then presented with the final sketches, which by the way are very beautiful sketches. How did he achieve them? What are the principles he followed? How should one go about practicing sketching people? That the book does not reveal.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a beginner. I jumped into pastels and immediately realized that you have to draw before you can paint. I bought a dozen books on painting and drawing, and this is by far the best choice I made.
The text is straightforward. The exercises are simple. And the book builds your skills from the ground up. You start by learning to draw a straight line freehand and finish drawing compositions and portraits.
This book won't make you an artist. But, I don't know how I could ever become one without these skills.
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Format: Paperback
"How to draw what you see" by Rudy De Reyna

I think many students of drawing look for a single book that covers just about the entire scope of drawing. This book is that kind of book. Most books that claim to be a "COMPLETE DRAWING COURSE" do not deliver on the boast. This book makes no boast, but it is the most COMPLETE book giving an overview of all aspects of drawing. This book is very good. It's as close to COMPLETE as you can get.

This book is now into its 35th Anniversary Edition printing, and is one of the longest selling books on the market. It is one of the best general references on TECHNIQUES & MATERIALS.

The figure drawing section is well developed and good for the beginner. The book covers Still Life, Landscape, Perspective and Composition, Lighting, and Materials and various strokes/charcoal, pencil, etc.

The foundation of the methodology in this book is its use of geometrical shapes (cones, cubes, triangles), reminiscent of Luca Cambiosa in the 16th Century. So the author is invested in what is called "the CLASSICAL TRADITION".

The book moves on to more advanced drawing/painting with Wash, Opaque, Acrylics and Ink. It's a good buy at this price, and a welcome addition to the artists shelf. [But if you're into Figure Drawing, also see books by Jack Hamm,
"Drawing From Nature" by Jim Arnosky
and also ***"ART OF DRAWING THE HUMAN BODY"*** by Edgar Loy Fankbonner, "Art of Drawing" -Willy Pogany, "How to Draw The Human Figure" -Famous Artists School, and "The Figure" -Walt Reed] Any of these figure drawing books, combined with "HOW TO DRAW WHAT YOU SEE" makes for an excellent combination in the home library.
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Format: Paperback
This book was written with me in mind. I am a begininng amature artist who wanted to learn more about drawing. The instructions in this book took me from drawing basic shapes, though shading to sketching full compositions. It even goes beyond drawining to introducing acrlics and washes. Even the simplist procedure is gone over in detail so I never felt lost on how I was to get from one set to the next. Don't be fooled by the price. This is a complete refrence book that I use more then other books that have cost three times more.
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Format: Paperback
I'm an instructor for digital art online and find this book to be a MUST for ANY artist. It has lots of illustrations and simple, well-written explanations! I would recommend it to any of my students who want to know theory and application, from perspective to tones and shading. Everything is in black and white, so you can really see the tonal changes in the renderings.
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Format: Paperback
The book provides excellent instructions to master the foundation for good drawing. I have a very competent and professionally successful instructor. He has pointed out to me the areas that I need to improve. The book has become my 'in-home instructor' now. I needed to work on my perspective(mostly for objects above eye level), tonal values (light and shadow, reflections within and transitions) and translating the local color to black and white(the author has done a great job explaining this). After completing just one exercise, I could see significant improvement in my drawing. I highly recommend the book.
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