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Showing 1-10 of 116 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 147 reviews
on July 3, 2015
This book is a must have for any serious representational artist. Speed's talent for breaking the artistic process down and putting it into words is unrivaled. His illustrations are perfectly matched to the lesson and his incredible talent as a teacher is apparent in his explanations.

Where the book is most helpful to the artist are the sections on Line Drawing: Practical and Mass Drawing: Practical. In the chapter on line drawing, Speed sets out, in a succinct style, to explain practical methods of measuring, applying these systems to the figure, the mechanics of light, and foreshortening. He always supplements the technical knowledge he is imparting with a larger aesthetic insight.

The chapter on Mass Drawing: Practical is essentially a primer for painting. He simplifies the process by reducing it to drawing with charcoal and using two colors: white and raw umber. By isolating the process in this way, he allows the student to focus on brushwork, drawing, and paint quality. The highlight of this chapter is the excellent portrait demonstration where Speed illustrates his methods of drawing in charcoal, massing in the tones, and refining until the portrait is achieved.

The remainder of the book relates more to layout and composition with the exception of the extremely enlightening chapter on portrait drawing. In this chapter, Speed explains what it means to achieve a likeness versus a masterful portrait and details several different approaches in portraiture.

My copy of this book is dog eared, underlined, and worn. I've read it again and again and will continue to read it as I progress as an artist. This book is such a bargain considering the depth of content and quality of instruction. I would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone who truly is seeking to grow as an artist. Buy this book, read it again and again as you draw and paint to benefit from one of the most gifted art teachers in print.
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Enthusiast: Drawingon November 25, 2015
There are a lot of books on the fundamentals. A lot of art books say for both beginners and advanced artist. But honestly most are made for beginners to follow. And it’s understandable to a point cause, lets face it, they are trying to sell books.

But this book honestly delivers on the taking your skills to a higher level. It doesn’t do this by teaching step by step and honestly the book has very few pictures in it. it makes you better by making you aware of elements you might have not thought of before. cause at this point you should know your craft and know how to work a pencil. but knowing the subtleties that make one drawing look better then another takes a whole different form of understanding.

A wood caver can carve out a chair with perfect seamless precision but you still might not want to buy it. I think the book really is about analyzing style. Why one style speaks to you and another one doesn’t. Its about the mood or feeling the lines give you in an abstract way, aside from subject matter and composition. Which is important but when it all works together saying the same thing, Thats what separates a good drawing from a better one.

Cause you can learn to render photo real, like a camera would. But what are you adding? This book was very helpful in me finding that unique style.
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Enthusiast: Drawingon October 6, 2016
Maybe it should have been called "The Theory and Philosophy of Visual Art"...

TLDR; DON'T BUY. You can read it for free on-line.

The content of the book isn't bad, but very theoretical, philosophical and not what I expected from a book with "Practice" and "Science" in the title.

The design of the book is amateur at best. The photos are not as clear as they should be, the paragraphs are uncomfortably wide, there are weird font changes in the middle of words occasionally; the typesetting and layout are just really bad.

My advice:
If you think that you want to read this, then read it for free on-line. The publisher doesn't deserve payment, the book designer never should have been paid, and the author is deceased and won't benefit from your purchase. Realize that the good part of this book (the author's words) is free and the don't pay for the bad part (the physical book).

If you really want it as a printed book, then DO NOT get the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 4, 2011) edition.

I would give the book 4 stars if the typesetting and layout weren't as terrible as they are, and if the plates were more clearly reproduced. Maybe it's just the edition that I have, but there are too frequent instances of paragraphs finishing with the last half of the final sentence on the following page, and weird font changes in the middle of words; and the images are of just barely acceptable quality. It's also difficult to maintain your place as you read, as the small text spans the whole width of the very wide pages... and there are no page numbers.

Honestly, there are just too many simple design errors that never should have been allowed to happen.

As to the written content itself: The author expounds philosophically on the subject of art. There is nothing wrong with that but not what I was expecting from "The Practice and Science of Drawing". I assumed that this text would be somewhat more practical and so was taken aback. What I can say, however, is that I actually enjoyed the proffered philosophy, it is very good, well explained, and fitting to the subject of art.

It's much more theoretical, and much less practical than what I wanted. And while the content isn't bad for what it is, it has not helped me in the production of good drawings in any tangible way.
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on June 16, 2014
I'm a hobbyist (for the sake of your perspective). The author does a great job of explaining what this "art" is all about. Hint: It's not about copying what you see, but more about copying what you feel, or wish to attribute--the "essence". Over the course of 300 pages, or so, he revisits this concept from various vantage points.

To further illustrate how abstract/sophisticated the book is, the author simply explains, "Painting is just drawing with paint." If you are looking for an elementary book about "materials", this isn't the one.

On the downside, some of the illustrations were missing or poorly copied. Also, there is no bibliography (which disappointed me). The older English writing style may be a negative to some, but I was already accustomed to it and I find it warm (gentle reader).

I found the book refreshingly articulate and enjoyable reading because it contributed to my knowledge about art, in general.

I hope you find this review helpful.
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on February 11, 2017
Maybe I just don't understand, but it appears to me that this edition largely comprises poorly laid-out text analyzing and explaining drawings and diagrams that do NOT appear. I bought the book because it was recommended as a best book for those wanting to learn to draw, so I have no idea why the book is described on the back cover as "among [the] top 100 literary novels of all time." I now see that there are several editions of The Practice and Science of Drawing on Amazon and one even claims to be "illustrated," which might be of value depending on that publishers' definition of "illustrated."
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on September 6, 2016
Good text, though I think that some of it is a bit overly romantic for my taste. Occasionally he'll ramble about something somewhat unrelated to the chapter, like in one part of a chapter about line drawing he goes on to describe the shifts in direction of eyebrow hairs. But I suppose his enthusiasm is shown through these passionate outbursts, even if they are sometimes out of context.

The pictures are small and very bad, but the book is so cheap that it doesn't matter much. It isn't too hard to gather what Speed is trying to show through the images, and if you need to see a better image, most of them are easily available online.

Entertaining enough. Overly dramatic at points. A somewhat limited definition of what art is (my take on what Speed defines art as is a sort of conveying of the emotional content of the artist to the viewer through beauty). But it is a classic for a reason. It does have some great info in it, and some people might find the text inspiring, although I found it a bit stifling at points.
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on February 19, 2014
The photos of the art are tiny and pixelated, and some of the pages have lines running through them. Lucky that Amazon has such a strong return policy. They refunded my money right away.
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on February 26, 2013
This book is an excellent resource for anyone starting out in teaching themselves to draw. Those who just want a refresher on what drawing should be like in the mind of the artist would benefit. This is a valuable gem showing how the subject should be approached from an acquisition stand point. Guided practice makes perfect. His approach and suggestions for acquiring the skills to draw are isolated as his science by building off the blocks he previously laid down for foundations. These progressive steps should be noted. The theories or plans are presented with pictures of his own design and plates from other artists referred to. He even provides a good selection of reference suggestions that coincide with the discussions and lessons. I would highly recommend this book as one of many for the study without a master, yet a must have even with a teacher. It might open your mind up to the meaning and drive of individual art, or provide a new technique or approach that might have been looked over.
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on April 28, 2017
Written 1913 it is more criticizing art than instruction , it was a book about art before 1913 and has no real practical use now, there are no illistrations to learn from it is more of a period piece !
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on June 16, 2016
While written quite some time ago, and including some negative criticism of what was then new styles of artistic expression, this work is as valuable to the modern artist as it ever was.

While the title would lead one to expect it to be mostly useful to illustrators, print makers, or other artists who predominantly "draw" rather than other media, the author spends as much time on painting technique as he does drafting, and his commentary on composition, line, and colour is universal to all two dimensional art forms.

I strongly recommend this work, and expect to refer back to it often.
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