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4.4 out of 5 stars26
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 6 April 2009
This book will appeal to all sorts of different people for different reasons. For the practicing artist, the book offers a range of practical exercises that are easy to follow but rigorous in their scope. It takes different aspects of painting that are easy to take for granted and provides you with thoughts, visual examples and exercises that encourage you to look again, reinvent the familiar and approach your work in a new way. That's all good you think, but what makes this book stand out from other practical art books? In two words: Emily Ball. It's the author's voice that makes this book so refreshing. Rather than a rather dry manual, the book describes the experiences of being an artist with humour, warmth and a real depth of understanding about what it's really like to draw and paint. It captures those moments of elation and utter despair with a perceptiveness that is honest and comforting. It's also great that the book includes contributions from several other artists, as this gives a richness and variety to the narration.

But it's not just practicing artists that will love this book - anyone with an appreciation for contemporary art should get a copy. It's an easy to read book with a clear structure to it, which makes it easy to dip in and out of or to work methodically through. And what's more, it's a beautiful coffee table book, containing loads of large images of paintings and drawings as well as photographs that document the process of making art - they make you feel like you're an artist even if you're just sitting with your feet up drooling over the pages! I've left my copy lying around the living room and have enjoyed watching a number of my friends get sucked into the book, regardless of whether they are arty types or not. So if you're reading this review because you're not sure whether to get this book, let me reassure you that you should as it will reward you on many levels. Enjoy!
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on 22 March 2009
This book draws upon the author's creative practice and experience as a teacher over many years and does indeed live up to the subtitle's promise of a 'fresh approach'. On one level, it's a practical manual offering unexpected and challenging approaches to painting and drawing, but it's also a fascinating portrait of the inner life, struggles and inspiration of an artist working today.

It is vividly illustrated with paintings and drawings by a range her contemporaries, by no means household names, working generally in the area of expressive figuration. The images are often extraordinary. If you're looking for a comprehensive academic manual of artistic techniques then you may find this book disappointing (or even disturbing!). But if you're an artist, at any level, seeking to produce work with greater expression, imagination and individuality, then I highly recommend it. I'd put it alongside Robert Kaupelis' excellent "Experimental Drawing" as one of the two best creative guides that I own.
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on 21 April 2009
I have just finished reading this book and my mind is buzzing. It is so different as an art book. Full of challenging ideas, exercises,encouragement and 'out of the box' thinking. If anyone wants to escape from doing mundane artwork,this book will propel you into new and exciting directions. It is not for the faint-hearted but for those artists who want to have their complacency seriously challenged, well here you have it! Read this book and you will be the better artist for it.
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on 25 October 2011
I return to this book again and again. I've shared it with artist friends who have all gone on to buy it. If you're into representational art, then this book is probably not for you. It's all about finding your own mark. The exercises in painting are exciting, inspiring and very good fun, particularly the face drawing one. On holiday four of us did the exercises together in our sketchbooks and returned home buzzing with inspiration. Emily Ball is a generous artist in sharing her original, inspiring ideas. She cites John Skinner as her inspiration and looks to some of his approaches which have helped her develop her style. Her own work is also fantastic.
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on 2 April 2009
This is a truly outstanding book. If you have the courage to try the experiments and are prepared to take a leap in the dark then your drawing and painting can only improve. Challenging and rewarding, as an artist I find her approach refreshing, encouraging and the best thing you could do outside of participating in a class. If you want something trite and ordinary that doesn't make you think about what you really want to achieve then buy a different book - this is so different that you won't be able to put it down.
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on 3 July 2009
This is a brilliant book which is indeed fresh, insted of those stuffy colour wheel start types. you want to get stuck straight in and I did.I recommend this gem and can't wait for Emily Ball to do another - landscapes maybe.
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on 1 March 2010
At long last, a how-to-paint book that doesn't patronise the reader or set impossibly tedious tasks. Against a backdrop of contemporary theory and rigorous knowledge, lightly worn, Emily Ball tells it like it is. Painting is presented as an activity that's intellectual, spiritual, cerebral, physical, everyday, random - all these things at once, accompanied by beautiful off-beat work that's never glib or sentimental. As well as focus and clarity of outlook, she isn't afraid to discuss technical issues as part of an artist's working methodology, never as dogma or preconceived 'correctness'. Studio practice is approached honestly and with permission-giving; it's okay not to know what you're doing in advance, and to use the medium of painting as a means of dialogue with the world.
A generous book - will be on my list to give to friends and other artists whenever possible.
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on 12 May 2011
To date I have followed just one of the exercises in this book. But this has led to a revised understanding of what those art lessons in college all those years ago were all about. A fresh lease of life and colour has been added to my palette. What you do with what you discover and learn is down to you, but the ideas behind the exercises made for a very enjoyable self indulgent afternoon in making art through making marks.
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on 27 February 2009
Drawing and Painting People: A Fresh Approach I do not have a copy but I have seen one of these amazing books and can't wait to get my mits on one. If you buy any book on the process and method of painting and creativity, this one is a must. Fresh, interesting and insightful, with fabulous illustrations most of which you will find nowhere else. wonderful to dip in and out of, or pore over at length...buy one...borrow one....get someone to give you one....
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on 9 September 2013
One of my favourite books on the art of drawing.......she includes others' work besides her own.........It is what it says it is....a Fresh Approach...........John Skinner is what you could call a mentor and his pieces that are included, I.E. the cover piece too, are worth the price of the book alone, even should it be pricier; I think he is a genius with his interpretations.......One never tires of the book as there is something new to think about each time reading it afresh........Just so happy that it appeared on my books to purchase site.......lcuky for me.......
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