'Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner' is a winner. 'Drawing is a learnable skill...' says the author, Claire Watson Garcia, who has successfully taught countless students in the successful program she teaches at the prestigious Silvermine school of art in Connecticut. This teaching is reproduced in this excellent book, with plentiful illustrations and minimal jargon. This book isn't for a quick thumb-through: to gain the most from it, you'll need to take your time and read the text carefully, working through each exercise and looking at the examples.
Many exercises are based on simple line-drawing technique, introducing the study of shape and form, value drawing (shading), drawing portraits and profiles, and still life composition. Mediums are kept simple - mostly pencil and fine-tip pen, with some pen and wash, charcoal and conte drawing, (the latter the most 'exotic' medium in the book).
One of the great strengths of the book is the use of a great many student works as examples - the reader immediately feels that the projects are achievable. These are balanced by many 'exemplary' drawings from the author. Each section also features pages on 'problem solving' where common errors are shown and corrected.
Art teachers will find valuable insight into the thoughts and feelings of beginners in the quotes from students, which feature on most pages. These comments also offer the reader a chance to identify with other beginning artists and feel the are not alone in their efforts.
There is a lot of text in this book, Claire Watson Garcia discussing the steps of exercises, how to evaluate work, and offering many useful tips and insights into the drawing process. Some readers may find this off-putting, but the author has a great deal to offer, and this book is best suited the keen adult beginner (or older teen) who wishes to spend time thinking about drawing and learning skills, rather than someone wanting a 'quick fix'.
As the title implies, 'Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner' is an ideal first book for someone taking their first steps in art, though will also be enjoyed by painters who might have bypassed drawing and want to improve their draftsmanship. Anyone who applies themselves to Claire Watson Garcia's program will develop a solid foundation in drawing skills that they can then develop in any genre or medium.