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on 27 March 2012
I always wanted to be able to draw and specifically portraits, but in my schooltime the artclass theachers made it very clear that I'll never be able to do it.
So I never tried again, but the wish to do it staid very well alive...
Now after so many years I found this fantastic book and my first portrait that I made with the help of the instructions was that of my father.
My amazement grew with the minute when I saw the very face of my father coming alive on the paper before my eyes...and "I" did it!!!
In my opinion this book is really helpful if you want to learn to draw portraits.
Thank you Carrie Stewart Parks !!!
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on 21 May 2006
This book did help me start off in drawing reallistic portraits...but only upto a bigginer level. Although tis book does give good information on scale and on the individual features of the face like the mouth...the skin doesn't have a good texture and a lot of the blending was rushed making the skiin 'liney' instead of smooth. There is a lot of wrong information like the very small chapter on drawing hair; she advises to draw it strand by strand in a big liney scribble making the hair unrealistic contrary Mike Sibley's approach to drawing it, an expert on fur and hair. although some of the drawings are pretty good, i would only recommend this book to absolute begginners of reallistic drawing.
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on 18 July 2006
I found this book a real must have for drawing faces, real or imaginary. within one hour you can draw perfect eyes, and not just ones from photographs. theres lots of very useful information in an easy to read and uncomplicated style- such as not to 'frame' teeth, to avoid harsh lines but to shade to them, to capture the light going through the cornea of the eye, how to draw a nose etc. I found it excellent.
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I used this book when I started sketching portraits but, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't recommend it. That's actually the first problem with this book: it fails to distinguish between DRAWING and SKETCHING. This book is definitely about the much less demanding business of sketching. I spent some 30 years in technical graphics, and two years studying classical figure and portrait drawing and painting in Florence, so I have a pretty good idea about this subject. If you want to see what "realistic" means, I suggest you visit the websites of "The Angel Academy of Art" and "The Florence Academy of Art" websites.

The book teaches a way of getting results when working from photographs, but precious little of it could be applied seriously to sketching portraits from life. Its method is essentially to scale off a photograph, to get each item in the correct place on the page, and then basically draw what you see in the photograph, bit by bit, until you have a finished picture. It advocates using tracing paper to trace around difficult shapes, so you can see where you've gone wrong. This technique has some merit, but it doesn't teach you how to avoid the problem in the first place. It also only works when you are scaling at full-size off a photograph. If you want draw something at a different size, you are done-for.

My biggest gripe about this book is that it teaches line-drawing, which is why none of the drawings look the least bit realistic, and why I think the book's title is incorrect. The drawings are not without artistic merit, but they don't really hold up as serious portrait sketches. Realistic portraits are simply not drawn this way.

If you are interested in learning to sketch portraits, this book provides one method for doing it. It won't turn you into any kind of artist, but you will get results with it. If it inspires you to delve further into portraiture, I would certainly ditch this book and use the infinitely better book The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head.
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on 23 July 2004
The scope of this book is very narrow, concentrating almost entirely on how to get a likeness in _pencil_ from _photographs_ . Very little of it will help you with drawing portraits from life, or working in other media.
Imagine that the title is "how to draw realistic faces _from photographs_", and make your descision on those grounds.
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on 22 December 2013
It's a very good book and I know will help me with portraiture when I get round to using it properly. It's on the pile of 'things to do' when I have the time/space. Excellent service.
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on 19 March 2013
I quite like this book but maybe I was expected more about it. I use it sometimes but it's not so bad! I really loved more to see the video of Carrie Stuart Parks explaning the book.
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on 2 July 2008
In my quest to learn to draw I have purchased twenty-seven instructional books in the year since I first started. Next to Betty Edward's "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" this is by far the best so far. Okay, the book is only about drawing realistic faces from photographs, but the author knows her stuff and she can teach. With her help my portraits have come alive.
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on 5 April 2009
I found this book very helpful in moving my limited ability forward.within a few weeks my quality of work was vastly improved.It only covers areas concerned with photographs so still life would require the purchase of another book. I have posted an illustration in the gallery this was achieved after having the book for a few months
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on 5 May 2016
A fantastic art book for anyone who wants to learn about portrait drawing.It provides basic guidelines and simple instructions for all age groups!
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