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The Practice and Science of Drawing Paperback – 4 Oct 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Paperback, 4 Oct 2011
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Product details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (4 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 146640258X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1466402584
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 0.8 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 352,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Much of the learning to practice as well as to appreciate art is concerned with understanding the basic principles. One of these principles is what Harold Speed calls "dither," the freedom that allows realism and the artistic vision to play against each other. Very important to any artist or work of art, this quality separates the scientifically accurate from the artistically accurate. Speed's approach to this problem is now considered a classic, one of the few books from the early years of this century that has continued to be read and recommended by those in the graphic arts.
In this work, Harold Speed approaches this dynamic aspect of drawing and painting from many different points of view. He plays the historical against the scientific, theory against precise artistic definition. He begins with a study of line drawing and mass drawing, the two basic approaches the artist needs to learn. Further sections carry the artistic vision through unity and variety of line and mass, balance, proportion, portrait drawing, the visual memory, materials, and procedures. Throughout, Speed combines historical backgrounds, dynamic aspects which each technique brings to a work of art, and specific exercises through which the young draughtsman may begin his training. Although not a technique book in the strict sense of the terms, The Practice and Science of Drawing brings to the beginner a clear statement of the principles that he will have to develop and their importance in creating a work of art. Ninety-three plates and diagrams, masterfully selected, reinforce Speed's always clear presentation.
Harold Speed, master of the art of drawing and brilliant teacher, has long been cited for this important work. For the beginner, Speed will develop a sense for the many different aspects which go into an artistic education. For the person who enjoys looking at drawings and paintings, Speed will aid developing the ability to see a work of art as the artist meant it to be seen. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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By Jeff Walmsley TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Obviously this is a reprint of an old classic. Harold Speed, who died nearly 60 years ago, has much to say that is both thought-provoking and helpful, and is a worthwhile read - although he doesn't write terribly well, it must be said, and his syntax can often be convoluted; but I could have tolerated this had the publishers not made such an awful job of reproducing the original work.

There has been no attempt to retain the original page structure, most evident when grouped illustrations in the original are split across two pages. The titles of illustrations have been reduced in size to microscopic, unreadable dimensions. The original page numbers appear intermittently in the new text - obscured underneath lines of text in the middle of a page; no new page numbers have been printed to replace those lost. Blocks of text which have clearly been isolated in the original are run together here; and irritating short, meaningless horizontal lines, which may or may not have had a function in the original, appear at random throughout the text. This careless exploitation of classic works amounts to vandalism, and sadly becoming all too common.

If you could find a reasonably-priced second-hand copy of the original, whatever its condition, it would be worth reading. This tortured reproduction is not.
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