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The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head [Paperback]

William Maughan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
Price: 13.84 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Sep 2002
In this innovative guide, master art instructor William Maughan demonstrates how to create a realistic human likeness by using the classic and highly accurate modelling technique of chiaroscuro developed by Leonardo daVinci during the High Renaissance. Maughan first introduces readers to the basics of this centuries-old technique, showing how to analyse form, light and shadow; use dark pencil, white pencil and toned paper to create full range of values; use the elements of design to enhance likeness; and capture a sitter's gestures and proportions. He then demonstrates, step by step, how to draw each facial feature, develop visual awareness and render the head in colour with soft pastels.

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The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head + Lessons in Classical Drawing + The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications Inc.,U.S. (28 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823003590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823003594
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 x 0.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

William Maughan has taught advanced head drawing, head painting, and landscape painting at both the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. He lives in Napa, CA.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When drawing a portrait, you are creating an illusion. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best book on this subject 21 Mar 2006
By Stephen Citynskyj TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I have many books on this subject, but this is by far the best. It is lavishly illustrated throughout, with page after page of delightfully competent examples by Maughan, demonstrating every aspect of the skill.

Maughan begins by explaining his methods and preferred materials. The Carbothello pencils he uses are wonderful to draw with. He moves on to explain chiaroscuro, value, form, shadow and so on, all of which I recommend you read thoroughly before taking on his extensive chapters on the subject of drawing the head.

He deals with the subject in ample detail, and to his credit he writes very well too. There is a lot to read but every word of it is useful. His examples (and there are very many) are not the unusably rough pieces found in other books, but are in large scale, often in close-up and annotated, so you can really see in detail what he's doing and how he does it. He also rather cleverly provides equally high quality examples of how NOT to draw - for example, showing what happens when the proportions are incorrect or the lighting is poor. You could use this book to merely ape the Maughan style, but I believe it has much more value than that if you take the time to understand his methods and apply them to your work.

Often with such books, the benefit you derive from them depends to some extent on whether you like the artistic style of the author. I happen to like it, but even if you don't, Maughan's tremendous skill and understanding of his subject is such that it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to learn from him. This book has improved my skill greatly.

Even if you don't draw, the book makes an excellent coffee table piece.

I've had my copy from Amazon for while, but at time of writing (21 Mar 2006) the price is an absolute bargain at 12.89.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommend without hesitation 30 Oct 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is very useful.

It really demonstrates how a good portrait is composed of lights and shades,
but not artificial outlines; for instance, the image of a nose is defined by the
shadows around it, not by a line that separates 'nose' from 'cheek' say.

For me, this comes at a similar time as I am grasping the idea that one needs
to draw what one sees, not what one thinks should be there - this is for me
the critical ingredient of portrait drawing. Probably all drawing, but I am
focusing on the portraits for the moment. What I read here dovetails nicely
with the 'Drawing on the right side of the brain'.

The bulk of the book discusses two-color drawing on tinted paper, using the
paper to provide the base color, and drawing in shades and highlights. This
suits me fine, as I am trying to grasp how the whole shape is defined. I also
like B/W portraits much more than color ones, for some reason. Towards the
end of the book, the author introduces color into the picture.

I have bought and read a heap of books demonstrating how easy it is to draw.
I'm still not finding it easy, but this book was an eye-opener. It is one of the
best I have bought, maybe *the* best. I recommend it without any hesitation.

I will add here that the reason I felt confident that this would be a good book
was the 'Look into' feature, which was almost as good as having a physical
copy to browse through. Buying books like this based only on the cover is
a lottery - a fine drawing on the front doesn't mean the reader learns anything.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on the subject 20 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have quite a collection of art books and videos, but for portrait drawing this is easily the best. The chiaroscuro technique Maughan demonstrates is a well regarded classical technique that yields beautiful results. Although the book is all about portraits, the principles are relevant whatever you are drawing, and since tonal value is the one thing that must be right for realist paintings, it is a good basis for painting, too.

The final part of the book is about colour, and using pastels, and here it is more a matter of taste - and certainly not mine, I'm not into green faces etc. There are better books (and websites) on colour theory than this. However, it is only a fairly short final chapter, and easily forgiven for the excellence of the rest.

One issue was getting the materials in the UK. I have now had the book for two years, but never been able to follow him exactly. He uses a carefully chosen tone of paper that is halfway between the dark sanguine pencil and the white pencil that he uses, which is Strathmore 500 charcoal paper in Velvet gray. Unfortunately, this isn't available in this country - or wasn't until now. I have just discovered that Castle Hill crafts in Stroud have started importing it, so have put in an order for some (I'm not associated with them, just delighted that we can finally get all the materials).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME! 24 Feb 2009
I recieved this book for Christmas this year and this has been top of my wanted list for ages:

Simply the best art book I've ever laid eyes on!

I can't say more than that, bar 6 stars wouldn't do it justice. Amazing artwork, clearly explained chapters. It almost forces you to grab pencil and paper and create yourself!

Worth every penny! Wonderful book!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The artists complete guide to drawing the head
I found this book the most helpful I have seen!! All is clearly explained. I am practising portraiture and have found a lot of help in this book
Published 5 days ago by Margaret Lonergan
3.0 out of 5 stars The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head. Kindle edition
Enjoyed first four chapters- having managed to (fairly easily) obtain the materials suggested ,which are pleasingly minimal in any case, and have been enjoying playing about with... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dr Roger John Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars My son said it is brilliant
I bought this for my son and he said he has learnt so much from this book. It is so detailed, but it breaks things down into easy steps so it is not overwhelming. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Patricia Irene Higham
5.0 out of 5 stars A very helpful book
The illustrations in this book are very helpful especially in the way that shadow and proportion are presented to create three-dimensionality. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Rosalie Patricia Fanning
1.0 out of 5 stars A weak book, lacking both knowledge and interest

Why you ask? It is yet another drawing technique book that doesn't do anything other than showcase the 'artist's' meagre skill. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Derelict Timkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Just fine
After a few days I have had this book in my place I was able to make very good head drawings.
The monstrous chapter good be ommited.
Published 13 months ago by Babis K.
5.0 out of 5 stars More time LOOKING than drawing!
I'd rate this book 100 out of 5 if I could. Since reading this my own portraits and likenesses have progressed at lightspeed. Great tutor, wish he'd write more! Read more
Published 13 months ago by Lilly Moll
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books on drawing
I have a few books on drawings, but this one has to be the very best. If your looking to learn to draw then this is the book. It has all that you need to know.
Published 14 months ago by Harry
5.0 out of 5 stars Portrait drawing/pastels
An exceptional book! I've read countless 'how to' books in my time and this has got to be one of the best. Each stage is explained fully. The concepts are very interesting. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Des Parry
4.0 out of 5 stars No lines!
Gives a good insight into lineless drawing. Helped more with thoughts on acrylic/oil painting though. Read more
Published 14 months ago by K. Wigley
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