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A Foundation Course in Drawing - Stanyer and Rosenberg

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Cover image for A Foundation Course in Drawing by Terry Rosenberg and Peter Stanyer

Cover image for A Foundation Course in Drawing by Terry Rosenberg and Peter Stanyer

Watson Guptill

The Bottom Line

'A Foundation Course in Drawing' is an substantial and worthwhile volume, which I expect will be of great value to teachers and students of drawing at the tertiary level. Independant learners will also find it useful, if they can work around the early emphasis on figure drawing. Raw beginners may need to supplement this text with a more introductory volume, while hobbyists may find some material too esoteric. This book explores drawing in a thoughtful, expansive, yet well-organized way.
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  • Project-based, hands-on approach
  • analytical - encourages thought and exploration


  • omits some basic technical information
  • sometimes poor image reproduction


  • dives straight in: no wasting words on shopping materials shopping lists or elementary mark making
  • early focus on figure drawing using line, gestural line, silhouette and continuous line
  • introduces methods of measuring the figure, and basics of tone (value)
  • explores approaches to blocking in the figure using block, cylinder and ovoid 'puppets'
  • use simplified skeletal forms to express posture, and break form into simplified planes
  • explores line, tone, texture and negative space in the context of still life drawing
  • abstract and constructed drawing using flat plane, organic and inorganic shapes, space, composition
  • includes classical landscape, formal elements such as line, intuitive mark-making
  • introduces perspective grids and other projection systems

Guide Review - A Foundation Course in Drawing - Stanyer and Rosenberg

One of the strengths of 'A Foundation Course in Drawing' is its focus on project drawing: ideas are briefly introduced, but are developed in practical, hands-on drawings. Stanyer and Rosenberg's analytical approach makes this book well suited as a textbook for tertiary arts students, or for those who wish to deepen their understanding of drawing as an art form, exploring expressive, intuitive mark-making and understanding of three-dimensional form in space.

'A Foundation Course in Drawing' is less suited to those wanting to create photorealist drawings, as fine pencil technique (or charcoal for that matter) is not covered, and the various emphasis on analysis of three-dimensional form and expressive line may seem irrelevant to this aim. In fact, even for the tertiary student, I'd consider it worthwhile to supplement this book with one which covers in detail the fine manipulation of mediums and observation of detail, such as Mike Sibley's 'From Line to Life', in order to develop a full range of expressive capabilities.

That said, this is an excellent text with a great deal to offer the student of drawing who wishes to engage themselves in the art of drawing, thinking about our understanding of form and space and the means of expressing those qualities on a two-dimensional surface.

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