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How to Draw: drawing and sketching objects and environments from your imagination Paperback – December 15, 2013
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About the Author
Scott Robertson has almost two decades of experience teaching how to design, draw, and render at the highest college level. He has authored or co-authored 11 books on design and concept art. In addition to books, he has co-produced over 40 educational DVDs with The Gnomon Workshop, of which nine feature his own lectures. For several years, Scott chaired the Entertainment Design department at Art Center College of Design. He frequently lectures around the world for various corporations, colleges, and through his own workshop brand, SRW. In addition to teaching, Scott has worked on a wide variety of projects ranging from vehicle and alien designs for the Hot Wheels animated series Battle Force Five, to theme park attractions such as the Men in Black ride in Orlando, Florida for Universal Studios. Some of his clients include the BMW subsidiary Design-works/USA, Bell Sports, Giro, Mattel Toys, Spin Master Toys, Patagonia, the feature film Minority Report, Nike, Rockstar Games, Sony Online Entertainment, Sony Computer Entertainment of America, Buena Vista Games, THQ, and Fiat to name just a few.
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I have spent time daily in it over the past 4 months, working through it with every bit of dedication I gave my previous mechanical engineering studies and I have benefited massively. If you approach it with your sleeves rolled up and constantly try out what you read on paper, you'll grow a lot artistically. It is also utterly essential that you go through the videos, from which you will learn as much, if not more, than from the book (a link and pswrd is provided in the book); here is where you actually see the author drawing, and can really analyze his movements and methods, and he drops a lot of hints and tricks. I took copious notes as I went through these, and worked along in parallel as I watched. The attached show some of the drawings I produced based on Scott's instructions (I clearly still have a long ways to go, but would never have believed could have created these several months ago!). There are certain themes that come up over and over again which you can't help but absorb, much like taking a class.
If this is your only reference and you are determined to rigorously understand perspective, I think you'll find the explanations to be less than complete, and the organize of chapters 2 thru 4 to be less than perfect. Broad principles are not so much stated as they are demonstrated; I didn't mind this challenge, though, and it made me go deep with the subject and extract what I saw as the unifying principles (this is in regard to understanding line convergence in general 3D space). I got to the bottom of this by working through my own derivations.
The author demonstrates really fantastic craftsmanship, artistry, and creativity, and is a very strong communicator. I wish he got a little more pumped up/energetic in the videos, but I suppose the quality and volume of his work speak to his profound underlying passion for it. He manages to break down complex constructions to be utterly doable. Amazing. Right now I am starting in on the sequel "How to Render". Overall, I think this is a simply fantastic track to get on if you are a beginning and want to massively improve your drawing skills; going this direction you are basically aligning with a top instructor from one of the best design institutes in the world (Art Center College of Design). We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mr. Robertson for this work.
Something to note is this book IS NOT for absolute beginners. You still need to know a bit about drawing, as well as understand the mental aspect of visual problem solving. In other words you should know things like "feeling it out" and how to get into that "art mode" where the words in your mind synchronize with the actions of your body and you loose track of time. Books like "Drawn to Life" and "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" can help you with that.
Also note this book is for TECHNICAL drawings, so while the draftsmanship and knowledge of construction and perspective will carry over into your figure/creature designs, you'll still need to study those "soft body" drawing skills seperatly
I think it's the most detailed book that exists on the topic of perspective. I'm only a quarter of the way through and I feel way more confident in understanding how perspective works than I was in the beginning. You definitely can't just read through and expect to become a perspective expert. You actually need to work through all the examples and ingrain these ideas into your brain so that when you start drawing on your own, you can draw from all the knowledge you've gathered. Excellent work by Scott Robertson and cannot wait for the next one!