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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 31 January 2011
I have just re-started drawing and painting after 37 years so I have been looking for guides on the "new" medium of coloured pencils. This book is comprehensive and detailed, superb value for money. I haven't stopped reading and using it since it arrived.

One reviewer thinks it is just for "serious artists" and criticises the examples for lack of detail, but I disagree. The book starts with general topics such as materials, design, light, colours and mixing then it goes on to techniques such as strokes, layering, fusing, creating textures and graded tones. All of this is clearly explained and in detail. To make the point about the detail, I have another book that simply says to use a "solvent" for blending and smoothing brush strokes - but it does not say which solvent. Nickelsen has a full page on the properties of solvent and demonstrates techniques for using solvent in the examples. She uses Gamsol, which is American, and not as easy to get here so I am trying Winsor & Newton's Sansodor.

There are 12 exercises, all in sufficient detail, if you have gone through the previous chapters. An important feature of the book is that she discusses drawing techniques. In her examples she traces photographs and then uses graphite paper to make outlines of the subjects on the drawing paper. For purists and skilled artists this mya seem to be cheating but for anyone who is not a skilled drawer, this is a very good way to encourage them to try to paint.

The author uses Prismacolor pencils so if you want to copy the examples exactly you will need that make. However, in the UK they are sold by less stockists than e.g. Faber Castell and most only sell boxed sets. I have found only one seller so far the sells singles and that is (...). On the other hand, if you already have another brand you could use the nearest colours just to practice the techniques.
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on 20 May 2011
If you ever wanted to know how to render water, wood, cloth, glass, brass and any number of fruits and vegetables accurately in coloured pencil this is the book for you. Simply set out in a number of projects with clear breakdowns of the stages this is very helpful. I'm not entirely sure that creating photo realism is really 'art' but its amazing to see what can be done with such an oft-underestimated medium and a lot of patience!
I wouldn't exactly call it a bible because it only covers a few areas noted above. It does not cover animals, people or landscapes and also it's a shame that the author dismisses water colour pencils and concentrates only on coloured pencil. Other books (such as the Complete Colour Pencil Book by Bernard Poulin) combine them with watercolour pencils which appeals to me. Hopefully this will provide ideas that can be applied with other media.
Overall a good specialist book.
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on 5 December 2009
I can recommend this book to anyone interested in colored pencils - beginners + experienced artists. Never found so many helpful and interesting facts on the subject in another book (and I have quite a few). Try it out - you won't regret it!
Alyona covers all - comparison of material, techniques.. it is gorgeous!
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on 1 May 2010
This is well worth buying even if you have not tried coloured pencil. The pictures are wonderful, and the information is excellent. There are also exercise to try towards the end of the book.
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on 26 April 2016
This is not a book for beginners who want to improve the basics of colouring the adult books which are sweeping the country. If you are seeking the very basics of how to colour properly, then avoid this book. Try looking at the techniques on the internet.
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on 23 June 2011
I bought this truly amazing book recently and can only say that it has inspired me to take up art again after a long break.I had to drop art at school to do typing what a mistake! I have always admired the medium of coloured pencil and have found this book truly inspirational. It gives good practical knowledge of composition and colour theory etc which is helpful after such a long break. I have been practising the techniques in the book and contrary to other reviewers do not feel that allot of specialist equipment is needed. I have a limited pencil selection at the moment but have managed to produce some good results with practice. The projects are practical and detailed. It goes without saying that the artwork produced by Alyona is truly amazing. My young sons are even amazed at the ultra-realistic effects you can acieve with the medium and it takes allot to impress them. I would definately recommend this book to anyone who wants an in depth discussion of the subject and detailed practical advice on the techniques developed by Alyona. In conclusion I can only say thank you to Alyona for this wonderful book.
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on 7 September 2010
This book is excellent for any artist working with pencils, water soluble pencils and watercolours but there is also a lot of information which could be applied to other mediums. I have been amazed at the pictures I have produced by following these techniques, even though I am a complete novice. Instructions are clear and well presented, with lots of hints and tips and I have been able to source all the materials necessary from suppliers in the UK.
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on 25 February 2011
I was looking for a refence book which would help me master the basics but also help me to get better results. This book certainly does that.

As a hobby artist who is new to this medium (I usually work in watercolour or acrylics) I wanted something that was helpful to a "newbie" but didn't assume I was lacking in all intelligence as some books do.

Alyona's style, use of colour and explaination of how she achieves the finish are superb. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to be inspired.
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on 5 November 2012
This is, by volume, a showcase for the authors' technically competent but unimaginative pencil paintings of fruit and flowers.She tells you how to cheat your way to artistic mediocrity by using digital cameras,computer graphics programs and tracing paper.There are a few techniques that the beginner may benefit from such as using OMS washes and shading,but to be honest most of the tips are common sense and being instructed on how to hold a pencil was,I felt,insulting.
I found it amusing that she recommends you using perspex in frames for safety reasons when your works are being "air freighted" to exhibitions around the world.This ,I thought, was an inflation too far for anyone to handle effectively, particularly a struggling artist or middle-aged woman suffering from empty nest syndrome.
On the whole if you want a manual on how to draw colourful fruit and other vegetable matter and you don't posses much practical intuition this is a good book to start with.If on the other hand you already posses the knowledge on using mineral spirit washes and can actually draw without using photo-shopped outlines and coloured swatches to match colours, then I'd give it a miss.
note;If you're seduced by the cover then be aware that this is the best picture in the book,by far.
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on 5 March 2015
Comprehensive book on coloured pencil painting/drawing. Although it would be nice to also see how to create skin colour/texture, portraits and landscapes. The book mainly concentrates on fruit and a few household items. However it is a very useful book that covers a lot of techniques and use of various materials. There are some good step by step exercises that are easy to follow and produces good results, but you do need to have the same pencils as used in the book (Prisma Color).
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