Friday, 7 March 2014

Book review!

Urban Sketching
a complete guide
Thomas Thorspecken
Search Press £12.99 Paperback

The title certainly doesn’t lie. A warm, attractive cover invites the reader to join the new breed of artists, those whose work is the sketch, not just the pre requisite for some carefully orchestrated piece later on.

In four chapters, he shows the equipment and materials he uses, how the technical things like perspective and composition work and why it matters, a clear approach to putting in people and animals and finally on choosing subjects with plenty of visual ideas on what can be done.

He has roped in the work of 46 other urban sketchers, so there are loads of ways of working to inspire. If you have little experience of location work, this book is a great read to get fired up.  Alternatively, if you’ve been at it for years, there are loads of insights into the habits of other artists, all of which could confirm your own suspicions or addictions.

His coverage on perspective is excellent. It is a common sense approach, not a tedious course in technical drawing. There are people who prefer to understand before they create, and those who have to create in order to understand. I think Thorspecken has managed to cover both in one hit.

Good sketches don’t appear as if by magic. The book shows what goes on behind the scenes and that with a desire to learn from experience and mistakes, much is achievable.

There is a lot of work in here by some very able people but remember they only got there because they went out and did it.

At the end of the day, you can only draw how you draw. And any artist can only share what they do. As Thorspecken says “Learn what works best for you.”
At 128 pages, it is fat enough to be of use and thin enough not to lose the will to live.