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Sketch and the City.
on 24 April 2012
This is an excellent little volume of work by the redoubtable David Gentleman, showcasing both his distinctive on-the-spot sketches and some his more finished studio works - hard to tell the difference sometimes - his style retains such freshness and immediacy.
I`m an artist myself; on receiving this book, I took it to pass around my painting students; "There you go, folks - that's how you should be keeping a sketchbook, look how easy it is!" Of course it isn't easy; Gentleman's ability to capture the essence of his subject in a few well-placed pen strokes are the product of both innate talent and years of practice in working from direct observation. Difficult three-point perspectives are rendered effortlessly in quite unforgiving media - dip pens, felt tips, watercolour. But the liveliness, the feeling of just "going for it" is inspirational - this is a book that will have wide appeal, but if you draw or sketch at all, you'll want this.
There is a short introduction by Mr. G. in which he reveals his materials and working practice and many of the notes throughout the volume mention the techniques used for specific illustrations - a couple of studies, for example on pages 354/355 are rendered using watercolour, wax resist and oil pastel, very reminiscent of John Piper.
London has long been a subject for Gentleman; I only have a tourist's knowledge of the city, but that hardly matters - his work captures the vibrancy, beauties and life of his subject admirably. The sheer amount of work, its diversity and execution packed into its 400 pages make this a highly recommendable book, whether you are a practicing artist or an interested layman.