Not too long ago I reviewed a different book in the Urban Sketching Handbook series and I was very impressed with it. I am equally impressed with this volume.
Artist and author Katie Woodward focuses on light in this volume with an emphasis on ‘portraying light effects’ as the subtitle indicates. In her introduction, Woodward writes:
The objective is to strengthen our observation skills and learn hot to translate those onto the page. While urban sketches absolutely do not have to be realistic (and it would be boring if all of them were!), this book is more geared towards realism as we try to understand what the light in front of us is doing.
The book is liberally illustrated, mostly with urban sketches and often by Katie Woodward, giving example to the topic. There are a few “Observation Checklists” and I found these quite helpful.
One of my favorite sections was on Reflected Light. Woodward writes: “Explore how much color and detail can be found in shadows!” And of course plenty of examples are provided.
This is not a beginners book, or a ‘how to’ book. This (and the other Urban Sketching Handbooks I’ve read) are for those who already have a decent understanding of how to draw and sketch and paint, but perhaps struggle with an aspect or maybe just want to improve on something.
I really appreciate that this series (based on what I’ve read so far) doesn’t over explain an artistic process and instead lays it out pretty simply and then offers lots of examples. Seeing what is explained I find to be much more hopeful. I’ve read plenty of art books (I have a few on my shelves) that spend pages saying the same thing with one or two examples. The brevity here, along with smart color-coding tabs, makes this perfect for carrying in a pocket or an art bag for quick reference.
Katie Woodward explains the presence of light well, and better yet, she helps the reader look at light in or on a subject to help create more interesting art.
Looking for a good book? If you like truly helpful tips and suggestions to possibly improve your sketching and painting, then consider including The Urban Sketching Handbook: Understanding Light by Katie Woodward in your must-have book collection.
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 Understanding Light: Portraying Light Effects in On-Location Drawing and Painting
author/artist: Katie Woodward
publisher: Quarry Books
paperback, 112 pages