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Figure Drawing Step-by-Step (Dover Art Instruction)
Figure Drawing Step-by-Step (Dover Art Instruction)
by Wendon Blake
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Basics well explained and illustrated.


Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters
Renoir: His Life, Art, and Letters
by Barbara Ehrlich White
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly beautiful, 18 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Impressionism has brought us many great, great, highly inspiring artists: Monet, Degas, Manet, Morisot, van Gogh, etc. etc. and many, many great, great artworks. And far above all these great, great artists is the super grand master Renoir. This book offers an incredibly beautiful overview of his work. Excellent quality photo’s, large mostly ½ page, full page.
I won’t dwell on the text, others have commented on that.
For me copying works of Renoir, and this book is very well suited for that, is highly inspiring.
My model/portrait drawing/painting teacher, she is an extremely capable, famous artist, tells me “Jeroen, why do you copy Renoir, even I, with forty years of experience, don’t even try to copy Renoir; it’s so frustrating!” For me it’s not frustrating at all; on the contrary it’s extremely inspiring. There is at least a million light years between Renoir and the rest of us. If you copy Renoir, you know you won’t be close. Close? Not within a million light years! But knowing that, can give you a total relaxation (instead of frustration). Everyone knows they will never get close to Renoirs level, and at the same time you have the best possible, most inspiring examples to copy. If you want to learn from the masters, why not learn from the very best. It is such an extreme pleasure to enjoy his paintings, via these high quality, large pictures, and for those who dare, to copy them. Only these beautiful, large pictures make the book more than worthwhile. I have a great many model/portrait drawing/painting and art books. If I would buy only 1 art book, for inspiration, it would be this one.


Degas By Himself: Drawings, Prints, Paintings, Writings (By Himself Series)
Degas By Himself: Drawings, Prints, Paintings, Writings (By Himself Series)
by Edgar Degas
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful impression, 18 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Degas is by far the number 1 pastel artist of all times. This book gives you a beautiful impression of his drawings and paintings; pastel and other materials. This 300+ page book has many beautiful pictures of his work. The pictures are of high quality and large, mostly ½ page to full page. It is not a complete overview of his work e.g. I didn’t find the well-known Absinth, and no pictures of his sculptures. For me browsing through the pictures is a nice source of inspiration; his aesthetics, his style and his craftsmanship. The pictures alone make this book very worth wile. I won’t dwell on the text others have commented on that.


Bill Buchman "Zen" Sumi Brush 1 - Fine - Japan
Bill Buchman "Zen" Sumi Brush 1 - Fine - Japan

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Title: Does size matter ?, 17 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As with any tool the question is: what do I intend to do with it ?
On his DVD’s you see Bill Buchman working on large format sheets. I know the advantages of working on large format sheets, and working standing: you can use your whole arm, work more freely and this gives better quality lines, so I do that when I attend model/portrait drawing/painting courses. But, as a hobbyist, when I draw/paint at home I find the large format sheets inconvenient, e.g. your drawings take up too much storage space. So at home I usually work at A4 or A3 size (one or two regular book pages) so I can work sitting at any table/desk I want; simply for convenience (not for the best possible drawing conditions). Further, different from the drawings Bill Buchman shows on his DVD’s I like model drawings that have a head and hands and feet, and further I like to draw/paint portraits.
What does this have to do with the Zen brushes ?
In my opinion even the smallest brushes, the number ones, are too big to work on this A4 or A3 format; I know how to vary line thickness, but still in my opinion the lines are too thick/wide to draw details such as fingers, eyes, etc. on these sheet formats.
At my local art supplies shop I buy Chinese brushes that are roughly “one size” smaller than the Zen brushes nr 1. For the size I want to work on, and the detail I like, these brushes suit me better. Note I don’t mean those mini calligraphy brushes, I mean similar brushes as the Zen brushes but simply roughly one size smaller.
Regarding the quality of the brushes: I don’t notice a big difference between the brushes I buy at my local art supplies store; I am really happy with those, and the Zen brushes, and the price at the local store is lower and no delivery costs; so in the quality/price ratio the local brushes are better. I haven’t tried the extra fine Zen brushes; they are very much more expensive.


Bill Buchman "Zen" Sumi Brush 1 - Medium - China
Bill Buchman "Zen" Sumi Brush 1 - Medium - China
Offered by Sumi Brushes World
Price: £10.95

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does size matter ?, 17 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As with any tool the question is: what do I intend to do with it ?
On his DVD's you see Bill Buchman working on large format sheets. I know the advantages of working on large format sheets, and working standing: you can use your whole arm, work more freely and this gives better quality lines, so I do that when I attend model/portrait drawing/painting courses. But, as a hobbyist, when I draw/paint at home I find the large format sheets inconvenient, e.g. your drawings take up too much storage space. So at home I usually work at A4 or A3 size (one or two regular book pages) so I can work sitting at any table/desk I want; simply for convenience (not for the best possible drawing conditions). Further, different from the drawings Bill Buchman shows on his DVD's I like model drawings that have a head and hands and feet, and further I like to draw/paint portraits.
What does this have to do with the Zen brushes ?
In my opinion even the smallest brushes, the number ones, are too big to work on this A4 or A3 format; I know how to vary line thickness, but still in my opinion the lines are too thick/wide to draw details such as fingers, eyes, etc. on these sheet formats.
At my local art supplies shop I buy Chinese brushes that are roughly "one size" smaller than the Zen brushes nr 1. For the size I want to work on, and the detail I like, these brushes suit me better. Note I don't mean those mini calligraphy brushes, I mean similar brushes as the Zen brushes but simply roughly one size smaller.
Regarding the quality of the brushes: I don't notice a big difference between the brushes I buy at my local art supplies store; I am really happy with those, and the Zen brushes, and the price at the local store is lower and no delivery costs; so in the quality/price ratio the local brushes are better. I haven't tried the extra fine Zen brushes; they are very much more expensive.


Zen Breakthrough 2: Figure Drawing Techniques
Zen Breakthrough 2: Figure Drawing Techniques
Dvd ~ Bill Buchman
Offered by Sumi Brushes World
Price: £15.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just like Rocky II, a bit less then Rocky I, 14 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
See my 5 star review of Bill Buchman's DVD "Art is an attitude" and his book "Expressive figure drawing" (you could call this DVD Figure Drawing I).

Zen Breakthrough Figure drawing techniques: you could call this DVD: Figure drawing II.

As with most film sequels the original film I is great, and the sequel II is a bit less.
Alas also in this case. Let me tell you why this is my opinion.

- The sequel DVD II is primarily more of the "same", as the original DVD I.
Similar excercises with similar, in style, outcomes; drawings. No real surprises. This however doesn't really bug me, because I had expected it, and more, even similar, demonstrations were welcome for me. Buy the way the DVD starts pretty boring, but gets a lot better later on.
Primarily gesture drawing, line, line and wash, etc. In my view the drawings in this DVD are even more freer and looser then in the original; the counter side of that is they don't look like anyone (see further below).

- If you would say: the sequel II is a sales promotion DVD I would believe you.
Bill offers his own line of Sumi brushes and Reed pens, and there are a lot of demonstrations with them; they are heavily promoted.
Further it looks to me that other drawing material suppliers/producers are sponsor/producers of this DVD.
Yes the excercises work well with the materials promoted, but in my view similar excercises can work very well with other materials, brands as well.
To be clear I don't say the above is the case, I don't know, it is just the impression I get when I look at the DVD.

- The DVD works a little less convenient.
E.g. if you don't look at the whole DVD in one go, but look at in parts: every time you start the DVD you first have to go through "promotions", "commercials", this is not the case in the original. And the menu works less convenient then in the original.

- For me the most important disadvantage of this sequel, DVD II is the following:
As most figure drawing teachers emphasize it is very important to work with live, 3D models, and not with flat, 2D, photos. In the original we saw a live model, who moved (into the pose) and we could recognise as an individual person (e.g. recognise her face) this gives the impression of a live model as in a live model drawing class.
In the sequel, DVD 2 Bill appears to work from photos. I never see the model move (into the pose, or move a little while being in the pose, or move out of the pose), I can not recognize her face (she is on very large distance, out of focus), I only see a completely still figure, a photo. To me it doesn't look at all like drawing a live model as in a live model drawing class but it looks like drawing from a photograph.
To make things even worse: in my opinion the lightening of the model is very ugly (I have never seen lightening on a model like this): the torso is lightened far too much and you hardly see the head, hands and feet; they are in deep shade. This also highlights that Bill draws "no" head, hands, feet in his drawings. In my view Bill doesn't draw people/inviduals (based on his drawing you can't recognise who it is), Bill doesn't draw figures (whole people, with head, hands and feet) , but Bill draws bodies (torso with a large part of the legs and arms), which he calls gestures.
I think you might just as well draw still life's, made of meat (not my view on figure drawing, I draw human beings, individuals).
So if you want (creative) drawings where you recognise who is drawn (without making a portrait), or if you want to express the nonverbal communication (expression of mood, emotion, etc.) of hands (even a suggestion of a hand can say so much, as e.g. Rembrandt has shown), or the expressiveness of feet, you need to get that elsewhere.

- Never change a winning team. The original was well filmed/produced. In the sequel I see
an inconveniently working DVD, an unprecedented ugly lighting of the model, and then another big flaw in the bonus. Bill is interviewed, and on the background you obviously see people breaking down the film set where the DVD was shot; very distracting, very ugly, a very stupid idea.

Overall: the price of this DVD is very favourable, you get more than two hours of demonstrations, in a variety of materials, which for me was welcome, Bill is an inspired and capable teacher and artist, so good value for money, alas the sequel in my view is really a step less than the original, so four stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2013 4:38 AM BST


Art Is an Attitude: The Art of Drawing The Figure - Essential Exercises [Interactive DVD]
Art Is an Attitude: The Art of Drawing The Figure - Essential Exercises [Interactive DVD]
Dvd ~ Bill Buchman

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise, and six stars, for Bill Buchman, 11 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am not that easy to please as a customer. I've given a series of 1 star ratings lately (see my other reviews).
I'm very happy to offer a 5 star rating now, and I would offer a 6 star rating it that existed.

There is an enormous abundance of books that aim to teach you how to draw "realistic".
Often this means creating more of the same, dead boring drawings that all look more or less the same, futile attempts to create a "photo" by hand. It is like going out to dinner, to an Italian restaurant, and ordering a spaghetti Bolognese; you know up front, completely sure, that you will not be disappointed, but at the same time you will never be surprised. If you can not tolerate any ambiguity, if you want a futile result now, if you don't want to look further then your nose is long, and your most important priority is that you are completely sure that will not surprise yourself with outcomes you didn't anticipate, and your primary aim is to simply copy, and make another dead boring near photograph, "art" of the living dead; zombies, if the greatest pleasure in your life, you can think of, is eating spaghetti Bolognese on Saturday evening for the next fifty years of your life, then Bill Buchman may not be for you.

There are very, very little books/DVD's on the creative/expressive part of art/drawing; Bill Buchman is a rare exception. I graduated in college (not an art college, but psychology and learning processes), Master's Degree, with a professor in creativity, so I know a bit in this area. The bulk of art teachers are completely! ignorant of, and only have baloney to say, about creativity. What Bill Buchman says makes sense, compared to his colleagues art teachers, Bill Buchman is the maestro in creativity. I will not bore you with reviewing the contents of the book, dvd.

Creativity/self-expression is not for everyone. Some reviewers say that they do not particularly like the materials, or the drawings of Bill Buchman, and of course that is also a matter of personal taste; that's fine.
But, in my view, obviously it is not the intention to simply copy Bill Buchman (there is nothing creative, expressive or authentic about that) but to use his valuable suggestions as openings to your own creative, artistic, expressive process, materials and outcomes. The creative and expressive process in itself can give enormous! joy (have a go!), independent of the outcome at that specific point in time, there is always a new opportunity (have a new go!).

I first looked at Bill Buchman's video and then, having got curious, read his book, in one weekend, it was a joy.
I think you will appreciate the book a lot more if you start with the video, and first sea, hear, experience Bill Buchman in action, the joy and a lot more than that. After this the book still is very worthwhile studying.

Some extreme, complete, utter beginners "complain" that Bill Buchman only shows drawings of female models.
I can see no other option then to forgive their ignorance from our heart, and to pray for these apparently completely ignorant, simple souls; may the lord be with them; praise the lord.

Bill Buchman is, next to an artist, also a Jazz musician. I, alas, don't know anything, really nothing at all, about music, I simply like it; it is in my veins; just intuition and incredible joy. For me the following "Jazzy" music, at a little higher upbeat, energy, and joy, reflecting my own enormous joy and energy, available e.g. on YouTube, was a great mood companion while reading the book, and while making my own creative drawings: Shakatak - Dark is The Night [Extended Remix], http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yff58NaVZl8
Check it out, it is timeless. Do you like experimenting with a simple form? Do you like making something great even a lot better? if you like creativity and joy, flow, grace, rhythm, etc., you will love this; wow, boy these people enjoy making creative, enjoyable music, based on a simple theme, pffff !, this is music you love ! There is nothing more inspiring, then being inspired, and loving it. The start of any creative process is you loving it, you know love, love!, and then the highly enjoyable outcomes will follow!


Expressive Figure Drawing
Expressive Figure Drawing
by Bill Buchman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.58

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praise, and six stars, for Bill Buchman, 11 Jun. 2013
I am not that easy to please as a customer. I've given a series of 1 star ratings lately (see my other reviews).
I'm very happy to offer a 5 star rating now, and I would offer a 6 star rating it that existed.

There is an enormous abundance of books that aim to teach you how to draw "realistic".
Often this means creating more of the same, dead boring drawings that all look more or less the same, futile attempts to create a "photo" by hand. It is like going out to dinner, to an Italian restaurant, and ordering a spaghetti Bolognese; you know up front, completely sure, that you will not be disappointed, but at the same time you will never be surprised. If you can not tolerate any ambiguity, if you want a futile result now, if you don't want to look further then your nose is long, and your most important priority is that you are completely sure that will not surprise yourself with outcomes you didn't anticipate, and your primary aim is to simply copy, and make another dead boring near photograph, "art" of the living dead; zombies, if the greatest pleasure in your life, you can think of, is eating spaghetti Bolognese on Saturday evening for the next fifty years of your life, then Bill Buchman may not be for you.

There are very, very little books/DVD's on the creative/expressive part of art/drawing; Bill Buchman is a rare exception. I graduated in college (not an art college, but psychology and learning processes), Master's Degree, with a professor in creativity, so I know a bit in this area. The bulk of art teachers are completely! ignorant of, and only have baloney to say, about creativity. What Bill Buchman says makes sense, compared to his colleagues art teachers, Bill Buchman is the maestro in creativity. I will not bore you with reviewing the contents of the book, dvd.

Creativity/self-expression is not for everyone. Some reviewers say that they do not particularly like the materials, or the drawings of Bill Buchman, and of course that is also a matter of personal taste; that's fine.
But, in my view, obviously it is not the intention to simply copy Bill Buchman (there is nothing creative, expressive or authentic about that) but to use his valuable suggestions as openings to your own creative, artistic, expressive process, materials and outcomes. The creative and expressive process in itself can give enormous! joy (have a go!), independent of the outcome at that specific point in time, there is always a new opportunity (have a new go!).

I first looked at Bill Buchman's video and then, having got curious, read his book, in one weekend, it was a joy.
I think you will appreciate the book a lot more if you start with the video, and first sea, hear, experience Bill Buchman in action, the joy and a lot more than that. After this the book still is very worthwhile studying.

Some extreme, complete, utter beginners "complain" that Bill Buchman only shows drawings of female models.
I can see no other option then to forgive their ignorance from our heart, and to pray for these apparently completely ignorant, simple souls; may the lord be with them; praise the lord.

Bill Buchman is, next to an artist, also a Jazz musician. I, alas, don't know anything, really nothing at all, about music, I simply like it; it is in my veins; just intuition and incredible joy. For me the following "Jazzy" music, at a little higher upbeat, energy, and joy, reflecting my own enormous joy and energy, available e.g. on YouTube, was a great mood companion while reading the book, and while making my own creative drawings: Shakatak - Dark is The Night [Extended Remix], http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yff58NaVZl8
Check it out, it is timeless. Do you like experimenting with a simple form? Do you like making something great even a lot better? if you like creativity and joy, flow, grace, rhythm, etc., you will love this; wow, boy these people enjoy making creative, enjoyable music, based on a simple theme, pffff !, this is music you love ! There is nothing more inspiring, then being inspired, and loving it. The start of any creative process is you loving it, you know love, love!, and then the highly enjoyable outcomes will follow!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 5, 2014 8:24 AM GMT


Secrets of Drawing - Figures and Faces (Essential Artist Techniques)
Secrets of Drawing - Figures and Faces (Essential Artist Techniques)
by Craig Nelson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Less then half a book, below average quality; not a good deal. Selling old wine in a new bottle., 29 Jan. 2013
I already had the book "Secrets of drawing" from Craig Nelson and I was pleased with that (see my review of that book). So I hoped I would enjoy "Secrets of drawing figures and faces" similarly. Alas I was really disappointed.

You only get less then half of a book.
This book of 96 pages contains two chapters. The first chapter of ca. 55 pages (so far more then half of the book) is just a repetition and mostly simply a copy of what was covered in "Secrets of drawing". So if you buy both books, as I have done, this book gives you only ca. 40 pages, that's less than half a book, of new material; on drawing figures and faces. The two books together look to me as originally intended as one book, but torn apart to two. I understand that this is commercially interesting for the publisher: sell less then 1 ½ book for the price of 2 books, but as a paying customer I feel fooled by the publisher.

Little and below average
The second chapter, on drawing figures and faces, in my view covers very little, especially on faces. E.g. drawing nude figures (as most will do who e.g. attend a figure drawing course so you can see the anatomy instead of having to guess it) is not covered; only models with clothing. And the little that is covered, is in my view covered at a below average quality; very generic; not clear for the beginner, and nothing new, no added value, if you have some figure and face drawing experience. This chapter to me makes the impression of an author who ran out of time for the publishing deadline, rushed to complete his manuscript and failed in delivering similar quality as in his previous book.
There are books/DVD's available that cover figure drawing and portrait drawing far better.

In my view the publisher should stop fooling customers. Instead of offering two seperate books of ca. 96 pages each, with ca. 55 pages overlap, the publisher should combine them in one book of ca. 130 pages. I have the impression that that was the original idea of the author anyway since "Secrets of drawing" (also) has mostly figure and face drawings as examples/illustrations.

So overall: little quantity and below average quality, not a good deal deal, I can not recommend to buy this book.

Originally I gave this book a two star rating. Recently, going through my bookcase of drawing and painting books I by coincidence came across another book of Craig Nelson: "The drawing bible", which I already had for years and I had completely forgotten. "Secrets of drawing figures and faces" is just a small part of "The drawing bible". Nothing new, just selling old wine in a new bottle, for a higher price. It is not mentioned by the publisher so I feel fooled by the publisher. So I've changed my rating in one star.


Secrets of Drawing - Start to Finish (Essential Artist Techniques)
Secrets of Drawing - Start to Finish (Essential Artist Techniques)
by Craig Nelson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1.0 out of 5 stars The essentials of drawing well described in a compact way. Selling old wine in a new bottle., 29 Jan. 2013
This book is not very different in what topics are covered, but in how they are covered.
If foucusses on the essentials and these essentials are explained well, in a compact way, with fine illustrations. The illustrations, mostly model and portrait drawings, are not only good examples/illustrations and good renderings but in my view also artistically fine drawings.
This book is in my view a good companion for a drawing course, or for the more experienced drawer as a refresher of the key concepts, attention points to keep in mind, to further improve your drawing. If you are more a beginner and you are not attending a drawing course you may need a more elaborate explanation and illustration than covered in this book.

Originally I gave this book a four star rating. Recently, going through my bookcase of drawing and painting books I by coincidence came across another book of Craig Nelson: "The drawing bible", which I already had for years and I had completely forgotten. "Secrets of drawing" is just a small part of "The drawing bible". Nothing new, just selling old wine in a new bottle, for a higher price. It is not mentioned by the publisher so I feel fooled by the publisher. So I've changed my rating in one star.


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