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Of all Jake Spicer's other wonderfully informative instructional books, I can say that 'How To Draw.' is by far the best of the bunch. This seems to collect the most vital tips and exercises from his other books, presenting such varied subjects as still-life, tone, animals, urban sketching, and even instructional sequential narratives. Though the book itself may seem staggering for the absolute novice, rest assured that following the chapters in your own order, at your own pace, will help you grow as an artist!
In conclusion: For those who are considering buying a Jake Spicer book, 'How To Draw.' is probably the best choice if you want to learn and improve in multiple aspects. If, like me, you have purchased many Spicer books and have found a fair amount of overlap between them, keep this one! (personally, I find this and 'Life Drawing In 15 Minutes' invaluable to my own craft)
This book can really help you to draw from simple beginnings through to more elaborate pictures. Most readers should like this book because it is aimed at ordinary persons who wish to learn drawing; there is nothing "art schooly" about the treatment. The author is not trying to show to the reader his peculiar vision. Instead, there are just straight forward explanations of essential drawing techniques.
While it is true that most readers will find this book to be sufficient on its own, another option to start with may be the same author's book, "You Will Be Able to Draw By the End of this Book", which is an easier going introductory drawing course.
This was a wasted mistake purchase. I wanted to see what a 2018 publishing on drawing instruction looked like. I got it at a low price and so have nothing to complain about.
However, there are shelf loads of older, cheaper, second hand and new books on the subject that can be purchased for pennies that have a far greater level of depth, are far more inspiring and have better examples of the lesson to show the student.
Every single image/drawing within this book is poorly executed and very heavy handed indeed - horribly uninspiring. There is no subtlety and no joy of creation or joy of the interesting image or of the beautiful or of the complex.
There is only very brief instructional text and then the images have very little variance in texture and absolutely everything is black and white only. No colour is used what so ever. Yet, colour is so important in drawing and sets the artist free to create without restrictions very quickly.
I feel this is a very poor "300 pages of nothing" publication.
The author even has an eight page section from page 62 to 69 entitled "Drawing Light And Shadow" which does no more than very briefly describe setting up a still life study of three items.....to draw with charcoal. This particularly irritates me as clearly all drawing and painting right up to the very highest professional levels is about representing Tone, Hue and Mark. So, "Drawing Light And Shadow" either describes the entire world of all artistic endeavour or nothing at all.
There is a clear, concise and knowledge profitable way to actually pass on skills and experience and build expertise and enthusiasm. This book avoids it.