The Big Book Review

The End of the Line, Attitudes in Drawing

  • Type: Exhibition Catalogue from The End of the Line, Attitudes in Drawing. a Hayward touring exhibition. 2009-10
  • Author/s: Collaborative (Haywood Publishing)
  • Publisher : Haywood Publishing (South bank Centre)
  • First Published: 2009
  • Accompanying Essay: On the Element of Drawing – Brian Dillon

This book shows a range of different drawing styles that are useful at the beginning of the corse to start to gage different approaches to modern day draftmanship. I must confess it is not  one of my favourites.

The artist that interest me most in the volume are Monika Grzymala  (pg 58-67) who really pushes the boundary in exploring the drawn line. Allowing it to escape from the confines of the page in to the realms of 3D media which sets it free to run root on the walls, floor, cycling and even cross the empty voids of doorways. Way to push a brief into the unknown!


Experimental Drawing

  • Type: An extensive look and brake down of drawing techniques
  • Author/s: Robert Kaupelis
  • Publisher : Watson Guptill
  • First Published: 1992

I referred to this book quite a lot fro the first three parts of this corse. I did seem to forget about it during part 4 figure drawing as I had quite swamped myself with anatomy and structural drawing books. I am glade to be reminded of it. Like being reunited with an old friend. I am glad it is back by my side with it’s helpful and easy to comprehend tips and suggestions. A useful book that does not tax the grey matter to much but deals with the safer subjects of techniques and skills. Rather than the some of the other books on the reading list that tend more towards the phycology and philosophy of drawing and art as a whole.

Drawing  Now, Between the Lines of Contemporary art

  • Type: ” Drawing Now is an attempt to identify activity that touches the limits of drawing, while conforming to a definition that confines it to paper and a certain traditional materials.” quote from introduction of book.
  • Author/s: TRACEY (online peer review journal, hosted by Loughborough University)
  • Publisher : I.B Tauris & co
  • First Published: 2007
  • Accompanying Essay: Introduction – TRACEY
 a bit like The End of the Line Attitudes in Drawing, There is some interesting stuff such as Juilie Brixey-Williams gestural smudges made with graphite powder on watercolour paper in various locations with parts of the body (pg  7-11). Then stuff that I will never get such as Anna Barriball ‘black Wardrobe, Tape on Wardrobe’ (2003) (pg 2).

Vitamin D – New Perspectives in Drawing

  • Type: A-Z of 109 drawing artist who have emerged internationally since 1990. A look at the importance of drawing in the modern art scene.
  • Author/s: To many to mention
  • Publisher : Phaidon Press
  • First Published: 2005
  • Accompanying Essay: To Draw is to be Human – Emma Dexter (Curator of contemporary arts at Tate Modern

Although not quite to the standard of Vitamin P that I have had for some years with loads of fantastic painters stuffed betwixt the covers. This coffee table book is a large volume with loads of images to look through. All in  modern style (as a posed to classical) here the similarity of the drawings ends. As always I am drawn towards the works that explore mark making on its own merit such as the drawings of Cai Guo Qiang (pg 48-51) who uses gunpowder as a drawing magian on large scale paper producing an earthy array of patternation across the picture plane.

also intriguing in the work of micro artist Daniel Zeller ( pg 332-335) who’s tightly drawn patterns look very OCD to me. with his painstaking dedication to detail he crates patters that would be more easily created through mark making with a more organic sense. In this way he concisely and slowly develops marks that we would usually associate wit being made though the element of chance.

Drawing Projects, An Exploration of the language of Drawing

  • Type: A look at modern approaches plus exercise to follow.
  • Author/s: Mick Maslen and Jack Southern
  • Publisher: Black Dog Publishing
  • First Published: 2011

I thoroughly  enjoyed this book. Finding it interesting, helpful, thought provoking and full of quality examples of pushing drawing media. as I currently can’t find the darn thing I will just finish by saying its a book I will continue to refer to.


The Art of Drawing , British Masters and Methods Since 1600

  • Type: An in-depth look into the importance of  drawing in Britain since the 17th C t present day.
  • Author/s: Susan Owens
  • Publisher: V&A
  • First Published: 2013

A book that looks at attitudes in British drawing from 1600 to the present day. Loads of grate drawings between The covers from the 17th C to current day artist such a Oldfeild-Ford. Haven’t got around to reading it yet but leafed through the pictures quite a few times.

Bridgman’s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life

  • Type: Drawing Manual for the human figure
  • Author/s:  George B. Bridgman
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • First Published: 1952

A must for any one series about improving there figure drawing. The figure deconstructed, simplified then put back together again. Beautifully illustrated through out and dead easy to follow. A great aid to have on the shelf.


Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters, Figure Drawing Fundamentals Defined

  • Type: Anatomy and drawing technique explained though old master drawings.
  • Author/s: Robert Beverly Hale
  • Publisher: Watson Guptill
  • First Published: 1952
  • Accompanying Essay: Forward by Jacob Collins

The great drawing master and teacher Robert Beverly Hale show us how the old masters used construction as well as drawing from life to add there practise. He then uses plates of master works to guide us through human anatomy. Not a stone is left unturned as the chapters tack us through every conceivable element that goes into a successful drawing.

Although I have read little more that the forward and introduction of this book I think it is one I need to start right now! I have found grate use for the wide range of anatomical drawing that show the skeletal and muscular system at work in many poses. very Helpful.


The Practise and Science of Drawing

  • Type: Successful drawing scrutinised and explained
  • Author/s: Harold Speed
  • Publisher: CPSA
  • First Published: 1900
  • Accompanying Essay:

I have hourly enjoyed dipping in and out of this book and am currently nearing the last quarter. I will then return to the beginning to start again as I think it’s one of those books that can be read quite a few times for every thing to sink in.

Harold Speed’s try, quite successfully, to dissect and put his finger on what makes great art great. He focuses on realism discus in in the early pages how he fears for the direction art is taking and notes his distain at the modern way of teaching. (This is around the turn of the 20th century when new art movements are emerging in dome force.)

He begins in the early chapters by examining Line drawing and Mass drawing, Explaining them both in depth. He looks at the historical use of Line in the west and mass in the east and how the marring of the two builds the illusion of volume.

along the way he uses plates of master works to demonstrate his points. With these he points out what he refutes to as the ‘Dither’. This is where artistic voice meets realism. It exists in the beautiful balance play  of line where such rules as straight and curbed lines complement and a concave line on one side must always be meet with with a concave one the other.

This sounds wired but study any master figurative painting and you will find it to be true.

He also discuses in some length the rhythm posed by a grate drawing or painting that holds it together. Like a grate symphony  that is made of each note being in the right pitch and arrangement so to a grate work of art bass masterful organisation of all the lines and masses so that they balance, comp lent and keep the momentum in he wok as a whole.

like I said I need to read this book a few more times for it all to sink in.. I have found it helpful to read small chunks and then bare them in mind as I draw.

Secret Knowledge, Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters

  • Type: Informative
  • Author/s: David Hockney
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • First Published: 2001
  • Accompanying Essay:

An entertaining instigate from David Hockney reviling some of the forgotten tools of the trade used by pre photography artists. Hockney puts a compelling case in this book which discusses optical tools that would reflect the landscape or portrait the artist was trying to recreate. the image would be reflected upside down on a canvas than traced in before painting.

This book is full of lots of loverly colour prints of some stunning works from the national gallery collection. It is also stuffed with feel good factor for any one like me who has felt very disheartened comparing there own sorry attempts with those giants of art. Its nice to know even though they are still exceptional visionaries of there age, they did cheat just a little bit. 😉

A Personal View, Inspired by the Light

  •  Type: Art autobiography form his earlier years
  • Author/s: Ken Howard
  • Publisher: Atelier Series
  • First Published: 1998
  • Accompanying Essay:

This was a fun and light read with lots of handy painting and drawing tips from one of my fave’s Ken Howard. He discuses in depart chapters drawing, water colour and oil painting. Lot’ s to learn from as well as enlightening on to his own personal artistic journey.



(I have also been browsing magazines and internet articles quite a lot)

Artist and Illustrator

The Artist

Turps Banana

Art of England

Art of the West










About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter

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