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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden gem
This book is a hidden gem of art education. It took a while for me to get used to the language (written early in 20th century!) but, once I did, every page contained useful information and insights with the analysis backed up with visual examples. I'm an artist interested in figurative technique and "old school" techniques and my approach is probably more suited to a...
Published on 15 Jun 2009 by Mr. Malcolm A. Cudmore

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very academic but worth reading
I was amazed to find this still in print - my copy dates from 1913, and it shows. This is how drawing was taught at the art schools, for example under Profesor Tonks at the Slade. By "academic" I do not mean that it is hard to read, but that the techniques taught are those traditional ones championed by the academies. We are taught, predominantly, how to draw the nude in...
Published 21 months ago by Peasant


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden gem, 15 Jun 2009
By 
Mr. Malcolm A. Cudmore "Oil Painter" (North West England) - See all my reviews
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This book is a hidden gem of art education. It took a while for me to get used to the language (written early in 20th century!) but, once I did, every page contained useful information and insights with the analysis backed up with visual examples. I'm an artist interested in figurative technique and "old school" techniques and my approach is probably more suited to a century ago than today. Harold Speed considers line and mass drawing in detail (origins, uses etc.) without ever losing sight of what the artist is to express with the techniques - so, it by no means just a dry, academic tome. If you are looking for a coffee table book full of colour illustrations, you will be disappointed. This is a typical Dover reproduction of the original on cheap paper with a paper cover. However, it contains some really wonderful content. I found it inspirational.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very academic but worth reading, 24 Nov 2012
By 
Peasant (Deepest England) - See all my reviews
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I was amazed to find this still in print - my copy dates from 1913, and it shows. This is how drawing was taught at the art schools, for example under Profesor Tonks at the Slade. By "academic" I do not mean that it is hard to read, but that the techniques taught are those traditional ones championed by the academies. We are taught, predominantly, how to draw the nude in mass and in line. All is illustrated by reference to the masters, and we do come as far up to date as Manet's Olympia. Throughout, Speed is firmly wedded to the classical, and despite his protestations there is little room in his teaching for the spontaneous, expressionist artist.

It is worth learning these skills, and there is much in this book which modern art students will benefit from. However, drawing is the art form where the hand is in the most instinctive communication with the imagination and senses, and Speed is in danger of breaking that link with his emphasis on tight control. His musings are developed in the chapter on "Rythm", which betrays a distrust of "decadence", characterised by him both as the willful primitivism of modern art, and as the kind of over-blown pseudorealism seen in late Victorian art. Sadly, he seems unsure what the solution is to the over-sophistication in art which leads to both these errors. A hundred years later we do not seem to be any the wiser.

Your approach to this book will differe according to whether you are an amateur or an art student. Much of what Speed has to say would be anathema even to the most scrupulously figurative of modern draughtsmen - Grayson Perry springs to mind as an example - and to anyone who rates conceptual art it is all balderdash. In the chapter on "Procedure" he recommends "In commencing a drawing, don't, as many students do, start carelessly floundering about with your chalk or charcoal in the hope that something will turn up. . . Don't spoil the beauty of a clean sheet of paper by a lot of scribble. Try to see in your mind's eye the drawing you mean to do, and then try and make your hand realise it . . . " This is a million miles from the way drawing is often taught today.

In fact, judging by some of the rave reviews, I am led to understand that drawing of this kind just isn't taught in art schools any more. So for anyone seeking to draw accurately and elegantly in a controlled manner, the advice in this book is not only admirable but essential. There is also a lot about composition, tone and line which anyone can learn from. For all that it prizes orthodoxy above innovation, it is probably a very good antidote to the Tracey Emin idea of drawing, my opinion of which I had better remain silent on. Read it with care, attention - and just a pinch of salt.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best., 6 Jan 2008
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This book is one of the best on the art of drawing. It was written nearly 100 years ago so it is written in what would be considered now a fairly archaic style. It is not filled with loads illustrations but it is filled with some really essential information. It is not for beginners. It is , however, for people who want to acquire the knowledge that will help them to make better drawings.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 19 Jan 2010
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A. Shuttleworth "ali" (scotland) - See all my reviews
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Seems a bit dated in style in places, but nothing has changed in the subject matters he discusses. Lots of insight - too much for one reading, and already planning to read it again. For the price of a magazine it's a steal
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any serious draughtsman., 31 Oct 2007
This book presents much of the essential information the student requires to learn how to see and draw accurately. Such a delight to read that since I bought my first copy in the early 80's I have reread it many times, so many that I've had to purchase a second copy.

I agree with the other reviewer as well. Skip the hardcover if it's missing the illustrations. They are key.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must for the serious artist, 16 Jun 2008
I was thrilled with this book. I believe it is an essential read for the serious art student. For anyone trying to grapple with drawing Speed gives some memorable advice. A treat for those who are disappointed with the poor teaching coming from art institutions in this day and age.

Highly entertaining, very readable (I didn't think it archaic at all), with plenty of illustrations this book is definately good value for your money if you are genuinely interested in understanding the art of drawing.

Also recommended, if you are a painter: oil painting techniques and materials by Harold Speed which adds on further to this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for serious artist, 18 May 2012
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This is a fantastic book. It explains the importance of learning to draw accurately (technical) without leaving out the importance of drawing with feeling (rythmically). A must for all artists but especially for those who are serious about developing their art in the classical style. It will not teach you how to draw but it will tell you why! Along with Richard Schmidt's 'Alla Prima' this is the best book to read if you want to seriously develop your artistic understanding.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ART NOUVEAU UNREPENTENT, 3 Mar 2014
By 
Ernest Barton (LONDON UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Practice and Science of Drawing (Paperback)
This book is written by an artist working in the Art Nouveau style long after it ceased to be fashionable.. As a drawing manual it does not compare with the work of Andrew Loomis but neither does it convey anything of his commercial ruthlessness and American can do pragmatism. Speed was an Edwardian Englishman - reticent, kindly and gentle, even in his disgust at modern art. At one point he talks about Drawing from Life and says in effect Don't forget when you have finished drawing the model you will just have a drawing on paper and you will need to do a lot more to make this ART. The book is worth having for this sentence alone - since most life drawing teachers drone on endlessly about putting down what one sees as though neither memory nor imagination came into it at all. He actually says ALL drawings are memory drawings since one you look away from the model you are relying on your memory to draw the image. This kind of honesty in a world of unthinking dogma is worth having and reading when one is feeling low.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Practise and Science of Drawing., 25 April 2012
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This review is from: The Practice and Science of Drawing (Paperback)
The Practise and Science of Drawing arrived very promptly, I'm very pleased and it will be a great help with a course I am doing. You're not taught technique at art school.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old School, 17 Feb 2012
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If you are an artists, looking for some help with the theoretical and practical aspects of drawing (which you don't get taught now in art schools) then this is the complete deal.

Harold Speed writes with authority and you have o keep reminding yourself that this is a century old now.

Must buy for fine art students who want to learn in depth.
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The Practice and Science of Drawing
The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed (Paperback - 4 Oct 2011)
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