Customer Review

93 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the most serious and most fun drawing book around, 28 Dec 2007
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This review is from: Experimental Drawing Techniques - 30th Anniversary edition (Paperback)
I randomly came across a frayed hardcover edition of this book as a young student about ten years ago and loved it so much that after extending the library loan 5 times I went on to photocopy the entire book (as it was out of print at the time and I was broke anyway). I still tend to think of it as instrumental in the development of my drawing, and am ecstatic it's available again!

Kaupelis' approach is to teach you how to truly engage with things as you draw them. At the beginning of the book he wants you to make marks in novel, fun and seemingly ridiculous ways (now commonly considered the 'right-brain' technique) that make you really look at/experience the subject you're drawing and dispel any notions of what might be a 'correct' representation thereof. He then focuses on aspects of shape, tone, composition etc. before moving on to abstraction and conceptual drawings.

His projects are consistently surprising, playful, adventurous and great fun (I thought), and you do see your drawing ability improve dramatically very quickly as you basically learn from yourself - you're bypassing received ideas and discovering something you've been able to do all along - before developing and shaping it. The 'discovering' part is especially exciting and inspiring as Kaupelis extensively illustrates his points using drawings by old masters, contemporary artists of the time and his own students, encouraging you to give your own work equal importance and learn from them as you would from peers.

Unlike the mass of books trying to teach people how to draw, it doesn't ask you to copy the author's style, to 'imagine things as cubes, cylinders and cones', to copy yet another tedious landscape or still life or supposedly 'proper' drawing. Instead, it wants you to experiment, to free yourself up as well as work hard on the classic elements that make up a great drawing. It's not a patronising 'quick fix guide for amateurs', but an invitation to take your work very seriously indeed while not taking yourself too seriously at all.

The fact that this book hails from the 70s (it's older than I am) might be a turnoff to some, but in my opinion doesn't matter in the slightest - even the later chapter about moving your drawing on and trying out new techhniques and technologies still applies.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Jun 2010 07:20:48 BDT
This review was useful to me because I have always resisted 'How to Draw' books purely for the reasons listed, so a book that tries to help me experience a subject (or subjects) differently through technique, is not only what I am looking for, but is a far more engaging approach.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2010 15:14:10 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Nov 2010 15:15:17 GMT
L. Hudson says:
I use some of these techniques with kids - the minute you feel that they will stop drawing often because they don't 'feel good enough' often saying they cannot draw as well as in a book or to make an object appear on the paper as it should then some of the techniques here are brilliant - drawing blind or looking at the object but not the paper - brings back a kids confidence and stops the fear of failure that can put a halt to their creative spirit. Great book very useful for artists and teachers alike.
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