Sketch Every Day by Simone Grunewald

Cover of a good book.

The book Sketch Every Day by Simone Grunewald is 207 numbered pages, each 24.5 cm tall and 17.5cm wide. I mention the size of the pages because it’s large enough that the drawings don’t feel super shrunk-down as they can in smaller books and it’s not so large as to be unwieldy.

The book is broken up into seven sections of varying length. Starting with a page of introduction and three pages of the My Creative Life which is a short biography of the authors art career, we move on to thirty pages of Artists Advice. This sections makes such recommendations as getting into the habit of sketching, not being afraid of social media and not doing that thing that plagues every artists who reads book reviews online is guilty of; believing that this tool or that will make one a better artist.

We then get to the meat of the book with just shy of fifty pages on Art Fundamentals. She covers everything form using light and shade properly color theory and narrative construction. I particularly like that she doesn’t gloss over the importance of highlights and how to use them effectively.

Now, the bulk of the book is some eighty pages on Character Design, which honestly doesn’t interest me much. Don’t eat me wrong, it’s enjoyable to read and the artworks are lovely to see. It always a joy to read any author who’s writhing from a place of love and enthusiasm. I just don’t care about creating characters. The authors real life work experience in the video game industry is really going to make this section worth while for some people, just not for me.

Second to last is twelve pages of Family Life which is a peek into the authors day to day. This is nice to see as I do think far to many people who pursue art get the impression that people who make their living from art practice it to the exclusion of all else. She then wraps up with a page of Thank You.

I’m happy I picked up the book and it’s enjoyable to read and just leaf through. I don’t think I would have bought it if I knew before hand how much of it was devoted to a topic that doesn’t light a fire for me. I’ll definitely keep it but if I lost it I don’t think I’d buy it again.

Book Review: Urban Sketching Step by Step, Krause Meier-Pauken

So urban sketching is a thing. It’s a thing I want to do which for me means reading way way too much about it before actually giving it a shot. As a result I’ve got a stupid number of books about it, here’s one.

Urban Sketching Step by Step subtitle: Techniques for Creating Quick & Lively Urban Scenes is a 96 page work written and illustrated by Klaus Meier-Pauken. Klaus is a former architect and urban planner who is now a working artist and professor. I like that I’m getting a book from a person who’s trying to teach me something when that person is actually a teacher, it makes me feel like this book is going to have some solid structure as far as getting me from point A to B.

First impressions on flipping through the book are good. It’s good size, like A4 so things look a size that they could be drawn if you wanted to practice by copying some. There’s a lot of illustration but a fair mix of text as well. The drawings have a real sketchy quality that I love (clean lines and stuff can be nice too, but learning should be messy so I’m glad it looks a bit less neat). There’s a mix of pencil and pen for the line work and it looks like colors come from everything from pencils to pastels and watercolor. There also seems to be progressional drawings as well and they aren’t the stereotypical draw a line, draw a circle, finish drawing the horse type which is nice. It’s a little infuriating when someone trying to teach you something wont show you how to get from blank page to finished sketch so no worries on that front.

Reading the book it’s obvious it’s a translation but it’s still very readable. Klaus takes some firm stances early on as far as the paper you should choose goes but it’s not off-putting. I like that he doesn’t seem to feel you must use a sketchbook; that’s probably just ‘cause I like loose sheets.

There’s solid information about the usual things, composition and perspective, as wells as how to pick a view that’s going to be rewarding to draw. I love that he touches on the one thing about perspective that always seems to get left out, where people will be in relation to the horizon. I feel like everyone gets the lines stretching to a vanishing point right away so it bugs me when there’s no mention of how to position things that don’t follow those same rules.

All in all I say this is a pretty great book. Especially if, like me, you’re ready to start but haven’t got a clue where to start

The Urban Sketching Handbook: Understanding Perspective

So I guess there’s this series of books, from Gabi Campanario, the founder of Urban Sketchers, that’s all about inspiration and instruction for people who want to sketch or do already. I learned about the books from this guy, Teoh Yi Chie’s youtube channel. I picked up one of them, called Understanding Perspective: Easy Techniques for Mastering Perspective Drawing on Location by Stephanie Bower to start with. I like it.

Early on in the book it has an excercise suggestion that it compairs to playing the scales on an instrument. It’s about filling pages with lines. I gave it a shot and made some notes. Now I’m gonna sketch every day for like a long-ass time and see if the results of the exercise change over time.