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Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner, Revised: 15th Anniversary Edition by [Claire Watson Garcia]

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Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner, Revised: 15th Anniversary Edition Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 180 ratings

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Product description

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

How to Use This Book
Following this book’s methods, a beginner with no previous art experience can quickly gain enough understanding of the basics to draw recognizable subjects and give them the illusion of dimension. It’s important to start at the very beginning of this learn-to-draw process to build a solid foundation in basic concepts and techniques, and also to acquire the confidence that comes from understanding the fundamentals.
The book is designed as a cumulative learning experience. Each chapter builds on skills acquired in the previous; projects become increasingly challenging while staying within reach. The book maintains a linear sequence from chapters 1 through 4, which provide the necessary preparation to take on exercises in subsequent chapters; you can then pursue the remaining chapters according to your personal interests.
Along with basic drawing techniques, I’ve also included instruction in another important skill: the ability to evaluate your drawings constructively. This will allow you to accelerate your drawing progress, learn more about yourself and your art, and challenge obstacles to learning like performance anxiety and harsh self-judgment.
The Beginners Speak

I’ve illustrated this book with drawings from beginners who completed the same assignments on which you’ll be working. It has been fascinating to see that beginners show an innate preference for certain shapes, visual contrasts, and rhythms that show up immediately in their drawings. This personal style appears without conscious effort, and is integral to each person’s approach to drawing. You too will learn how to express your own unique style in the most fulfilling way as your technical skills develop.
Approach drawing as a magical activity to do, to learn, and to see—profound, mysterious, and gratifying. Guided by the sequence of instruction and wise words from fellow beginners, you’ll have an art adventure—full of challenges, yes, but discoveries and rewards as well.
Getting Organized 

Set aside time on a regular basis to exercise your artistic capacity. It doesn’t have to involve a relentless, rigid schedule, where you’ll feel guilty if you don’t abide by it. But recognize that this new part of you needs time to flourish, whenever you can find the opportunity to engage it.

Do you have a place to draw? Since the practice of art is new to you, it’s likely you’ve borrowed space in the kitchen or in a bedroom. However, to ensure that the people you live with respect your space, it’s a good idea to let them know what you’re up to and where, especially if the apple on the kitchen counter they want to eat is part of your still life!

Keep your drawings and art supplies within reach, and in one place. To protect your work, I suggest you buy an inexpensive portfolio, large enough to hold your largest sheets of paper. That way you can save your work easily for later review. If you assemble your supplies in a toolbox or even a cardboard shoe box, you can keep all of your pencils, pens, and other supplies out of sight. A card table and chair can provide you with a mobile temporary studio. Searching for the perfect work conditions can be a form of procrastination, so just remember: a drawing can begin with only a piece of paper and a pencil. --This text refers to the paperback edition.


“For the beginner whose artistic passion awaits awakening and direction you are in luck. Claire Watson Garcia, the eminent artist and art educator has created an extraordinary book for you.  Easy to follow step-by-step guidance through varieties of drawing techniques will take you from the uncertainty of beginning into a world of newfound self-confidence.   With Claire’s book, you are on the runway to a new fearless clarity to approach and draw any subject.”
—David A. Dunlop, artist, teacher, lecturer, and Emmy Award-winning TV host

"This wonderful new version is as much a labor of true love as was the original, and a beautiful roadmap that one can reference on the path to creativity."
— Angela Wood, Publisher, Blogger, Creative Director,, Circle Media Inc.

Praise for the first edition:

"This is simply the best beginners' drawing book available. Garcia gently teaches how to see like an artist and then leads the student from creative exercises (recording shapes upside down), through "turning edges into objects," and finally to detailed still life and facial drawings." --Library Journal --This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B076384JQH
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Watson-Guptill; Anniversary, Revised edition (3 July 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 166498 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 191 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 180 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
180 global ratings
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Top review from India

Reviewed in India on 29 March 2019
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Top reviews from other countries

Sally Collyer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book if you aren't very creative yourself and just want technical instructions and exercises
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 June 2020
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2 people found this helpful
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not helpful
Reviewed in Canada on 3 August 2018
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3 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars not for mutter beginners
Reviewed in the United States on 15 September 2018
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28 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Gets Even Better
Reviewed in the United States on 9 August 2018
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18 people found this helpful
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L. DeWaay
5.0 out of 5 stars Feels Like Magic
Reviewed in the United States on 14 September 2019
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10 people found this helpful
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About the author

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Claire Watson Garcia is an artist, writer, and teacher. She is an instructor at New England's renowned Silvermine School of Art, in New Canaan, CT, where her workshops and courses "for the Absolute and Utter Beginner" have been popular for over twenty years.

Watson Garcia combines her passion for creating, teaching, and writing about art in her books. Library Journal calls "Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner "...simply the best beginners' drawing book available." choses it as number one best instruction book, out of its Top 6 Beginner's Drawing Instruction books.

Its companion,"Painting for the Absolute and Utter Beginner" has received high marks as well. Included at the National Gallery bookstore, London its reviewer says: "this brilliant guide builds from the bottom to set realistic goals about each stage of learning. " Both books, available internationally as well as in the United States, are based on the successful methods Watson Garcia developed and tested while teaching aspiring artists in the classroom studio, as well on as on her own lifetime experience as a working artist.

Each book features the author's signature approach: an informal, supportive tone and a sequence of instruction which starts beginners at the very first step of the learning experience, where no previous experience is necessary. Accessible projects help the beginner gain confidence while slowly building the skills necessary for them to take on increasingly challenging subjects. Art work and commentary by beginners using the methods presented in the book are featured alongside the author's own instructional step-by-step illustrations and text.

An accomplished and recognized artist, Garcia's work has been exhibited in numerous national juried exhibitions including: Art of the Northeast; Faber Birren Color Show, CT; as well as at the Katonah Museum, NY; Stamford Museum, CT; Cheltenham Center for the Arts, PA; and the Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven. Among other juried shows,in 2010 her work appeared in Solo Shows at the Westport Art Center, and in Continuum Gender Identities 2011 at Ridgefield Guild of Artists.

Throughout her career, Garcia has combined her writing and artistic skills. As a founding member of Kids Can Press, a groundbreaking children's book publishing house in Toronto, she wrote and/ or illustrated three well received children's books: "The Peanut Plan", "Harriet and the Great Bike Robbery", and "The Green Harpy at the Corner Store" (Rosemary Allison, author). She was primary illustrator for The Women's Kit, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (publisher), a pioneering multimedia kit created to present positive gender issues to high school students.

Educated at Smith College and University of California, Berkeley, from which she earned a BA with a fine arts major, she received additional training at the Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, and California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts.)

Claire Watson Garcia grew up in CT and after living in CA, VA, and Toronto, Canada, returned to CT, where she lives with her husband Baxter, a computer consultant and director of CHART(Communities Healing through Art), a non-profit group that utilizes creative arts therapies in humanitarian relief, along with a variety of savvy cats who manage to find their house. Daughter Liz is a screenwriter and director(Cold Case, The Lifeguard)and lives in Hollywood with her husband, and writing partner, the actor Josh Harto (Dark Knight, Bridge of Lies). Their recent co-productions inclulde Memphis Beat (on TNT) and two beautiful baby boys, Wilder and August.

See Claire's artwork, find out more about the "for the absolute and utter beginner" books, classes, and upcoming exhibitions of her work at