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Customer Review

TOP 500 REVIEWER
25 November 2011
This is one of the all-time classics on drawing, and rightly so. However, I seriously doubt that many people have (or will) work through the course as it's set out in the book.

There's a lot of good advice and excellent material here, but if you're a normal human being, you're going to get VERY tired of reading a short paragraph, then being told to go and spend three hours doing the exercises - especially as they'll be almost identical to the previous four three-hour schedules that you've already slogged through - and that's before you even get to Chapter Two!!!

Kimon Nicolaides died before completing this book, and it was put together from his notes. The message of the book is clear and essentially simple - you learn to draw by drawing. All the exercises in the book break down into one of three distinct approaches - very slow 'contour' drawing, very rapid 'gesture' drawing, and tone studies.

Initially I loved the book, and was happy with the idea that I was going to be doing hours and hours of drawing. I can't honestly say I felt the same after the first 20 hours or so, when I discovered that the next 20 hours (and the 20 after that, and after that) were going to be much the same - one-hour contour drawings done without looking at the page, thirty scribbled one-minute gesture drawings, and all of them just 'exercises', done and thrown in the bin (because the exercise is about getting an 'experience', not about making a finished drawing.)

I certainly won't be working though every 3-hour session in the book. I may be the loser for it, but dammit, I'm only human, and I have a life. And I want SOME time to spend on producing REAL drawings of things that I like, rather than endless exercises for the bin.

So my three-star review reflects the book in its current off-putting format. Personally I feel that someone needs to re-edit it, to make it usable in the real world. It certainly deserves to be put into a more user-friendly format, because some of the teaching material and insights are absolutely wonderful.
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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