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The Natural Way to Draw: A Working Plan for Art Study Paperback – February 1, 1990
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UPDATE: 12 years later: While I have not tried to make a living with artwork, my first oil painting was accepted in a gallery show and sold. I'm still enjoying my work and am now working on a watercolor portrait series as time permits. And while I don't have alot of time for my artwork, I actually have two apprentices I'm working with and they are both doing their initial study with this book. Can't recommend it enough. Through following the work in the book, you, like me, will find your "voice" in artwork, and each time create quality, if not brilliance.
I first read The Natural Way to Draw in 1983. In January of 1985 I began a self study course using this book as my guide. I followed every lesson plan and read and re-read until I could recite the book by heart. Too broke to afford a nude model for the lesson plans, I drew my neighbors chickens, cows, horses and sheep, supplementing those subjects with weekly attendance at a drawing group and borrowing the local science teachers human skeleton. Whatever the subject matter, Niccolaides taught me to understand the essence of gesture. A little over a year and a half later, I finished the book. I went on to earn a college degree (BFA)in Painting and to become a professional artist. When I look back at the past 18 years of my life as an artist,this book had the most influence of any that I have ever read or worked with. I highly recommend not just reading this book, but studying it. Devote a year of your life to studying this book and you will be a better artist.
This book (or manual, or workbook, or textbook or Bible) really works. Its like taking a regular intensive training program in drawing.
First, let me tell about 'Other' books:
Lots (Tons & Tons) of books are there in this subject. Problem is, they all have lots of drawings made by the author. Sometimes it is intimidating to take the first(important) steps because these drawings are so carefully made you just want to do the same. At the best, you learn to *Copy* an artist's art! :(
Result ... you learn NOTHING.
In this book, you hardly see a 'perfect' drawing. All(almost) are scribblings..Natural scribblings. they are the work in progress of a learner. There are no drawings in this book to copy or reproduce !! Only methods and techniques & more importantly EXCERCISES !! This book does not give you Fish, instead it teaches you how to Fish! You will be able to draw anything & everything...Confidently !
If you are going to buy only one book in your life time, let this be the book. You probably don't need another!
For me, it has given a new lease of life to the artist in me. I can confidently say that I have begun learning art now!...
Note: I wrote the above review more than a year ago. Been practicing the lessons in the book on and off, as I find time. One thing that amazed me was when I look at the drawings that I drew before this book and my recent drawings. I cannot believe it. There was never in all my years did I have such a sharp improvement and *confidence* in drawing. Though there is still a long way to go, it is now very fulfilling to know I am on the right track .