I really love this art book series!
As I’ve noted before, in the review of one of the other books in the series, there is no shortage of ‘how to’ art books. I’ve bought more than a handful myself, and rarely do I come away actually feeling enlightened in regards to a new technique or a new way of looking at something. But I do come away from this Urban Sketching Handbook series feeling as though I’ve picked up something new.
Spotlight on Nature, by Virginia Hein and Gail L. Wong, provides a number of tips and tricks for artists including the natural environment in their work. This isn’t just about landscapes or drawings/sketches of flora, but the inclusion of natural elements in a sketch.
The book isn’t really for the beginning artist (though I think a true beginner will still pick up some valuable tips here) but for the artist with some general art skills looking to build those skills. Rather than spending entire chapters with detail explanations and step by step sketches, the authors point to an included ketch and explain what the artist did well, sometimes highlighting the topic of discussion (“Paul conveys the feeling of rock surfaces bathed in light while building texture in the shadow areas.”)
In the discussion on sketching/painting water, I really appreciated the look at three different artists and three very different styles of depicting moving water in a sketch.
One of the real appeals to this series (and this book) is that many different artists are represented in all the explanations. Forty-two different names are acknowledged as contributors, and I think this really helps the reader/artist see the different approaches to a subject.
Something that I see in this book that I don’t remember in any of the others is a checklist of ‘challenges’. I like this idea of asking the reader/artist to now try the different things that had just been pointed out. I haven’t done any of these yet, but I definitely intend to do so.
My only complaint is that my ARC is a digital copy and I think that art books like this (really appropriately sized for carrying ease) need to be hard copies for looking at again and again.
Looking for a good book? The Urban Sketching Handbook: Spotlight on Nature by Virginia Hein and Gail L. Wong is another excellent how-to art book in The Urban Sketching Handbook series. Any artist looking to build on their skills, specifically in regards to our natural world, really owes it to themselves to get this book.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Urban Sketching Handbook: Spotlight on Nature
authors: Virginia Hein and Gail L. Wong
publisher: Quarry Books
paperback, 112 pages