Saturday, March 22, 2008

Book Review: Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil, J.D. Hillberry

This is the book that got me set on my current path. Hillberry starts off by explaining the basics - what kinds of pencils there are, what kinds of blending tools to use, and what kinds of paper to choose from. He talks a little about light and shadow, and gives a few simple demonstrations. Then he delves right in to the good stuff: how to make your drawings look real (you have to know how to draw - he just shows you how to create textures). He does several examples of different textures: wood, leather, metal (shiney and rusted), paper, skin, and more. Then he presents two full drawings and shows step by step how he did them. One is a still life of drawing equipment (the image on the cover), and the other is a cat.

So given the summary, what do I think of the book? Even though most of my drawings are animals and most of his aren't, I still got enough valuable information from this book basically to do what I am doing. Before I read this book, my pencil drawings were mere sketches and I had never really used charcoal (it's messy). Now, I love charcoal (I use charcoal pencils) and my drawings have more depth and life than ever. And it is almost all because of this one book (the other reason is a change of attitude, described in a previous post). It is the only pencil drawing book I own.

Take some time to see Hillberry's website for lots more stuff, including his gallery, workshops and forums. You can even get an autographed copy of the book there.

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