THROWBACK THURSDAY: REVIEWING A REISSUE
This book got off to a very slow start for me. Initially I wondered what sort of artist with OCD might find this book enjoyable? It reads like a technical manual. But I stuck with it and found quite a few gems of wisdom within the pages.
The book is a much older book, probably from the turn of the century (19th to 20th). At one point the author, Edmund J. Sullivan, mentions:
I remember about 1890 making a drawing in which the endeavor was to represent all that came within the field of vision at a given moment.
1890? Yes, this book is that old, and there is much within to remind the reader that we are reading something historical here. First, there’s the often now-inappropriate racial slurs. The terms Sullivan uses may have been acceptable, or even common, a hundred years ago, but today, the ‘N’ word is to be avoided. This bodes for a little editing of these older books.
Next, some of the topics Sullivan discusses no longer seem relevant, or at least it strikes this reader as surprising that the issues would be discussed. For instance, are there really people who question cross-hatching?
The question is often asked whether cross-hatching should be employed in drawing or not, as though there were virtue or the opposite in the mere employment of it regardless of all considerations of how and when and where.
And what would artists like Terry Redlin or Charles Wysocki, or any other artist who provides a lot detail in the work think of Sullivan’s comment:
Over-emphasis on detail detracts from the large simplicity of the whole, and should be carefully guarded against.
Which is not to say Sullivan is ‘wrong,’ but some artists have done quite well with detail.
The further I got into the book the more I appreciated Sullivan’s philosophic look at line art.
The purpose of a work of art will dictate which point of view the artist should adopt – whether stress should be laid upon the type or upon the individual.
A drawing rightly begun starts with the points and lines of the most vital significance; so that no matter how little time may be given to it, or what interruption may prevent its carrying to the intended may prevent its carrying to the intended conclusion, nothing can rob it of this vitality, arising from the artist’s energy of mind as well as from the character of the object.
This isn’t precisely a how-to manual. It is, as the sub-title states, a study. it is a philosophic look at the art of the line, as used in art, and it’s a beautiful book, providing you can over-look the century-old style of writing and the very incorrect racial references. This is highly recommended for those interested in art.
Looking for a good book? Line: An Art Study, shows signs of age, but is a beautiful look at the importance of ‘line’ in art.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
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Line: An Art Study
author: Edmund J Sullivan
publisher: Dover Publications
paperback, 208 pages