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Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art

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Creating stylish sketches by hand is easy and fun with this inspiring guide. Freehand breaks down basic drawing techniques into bite-sized chunks, and reveals their practical application in dazzling examples by today's coolest artists. Over 200 innovative works of art demonstrate all the fundamentals—line, tone, composition, texture, and more—and are presented alongside fr Creating stylish sketches by hand is easy and fun with this inspiring guide. Freehand breaks down basic drawing techniques into bite-sized chunks, and reveals their practical application in dazzling examples by today's coolest artists. Over 200 innovative works of art demonstrate all the fundamentals—line, tone, composition, texture, and more—and are presented alongside friendly text explaining the simple techniques used to achieve each stylish effect. The final section of the book offers aspiring artists essential reference materials to hone their drafting skills and practice what they've learned. Petite in size but comprehensive in scope, this hip handbook will teach artists of all skill levels how to find their personal drawing style and start making amazing sketches.


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Creating stylish sketches by hand is easy and fun with this inspiring guide. Freehand breaks down basic drawing techniques into bite-sized chunks, and reveals their practical application in dazzling examples by today's coolest artists. Over 200 innovative works of art demonstrate all the fundamentals—line, tone, composition, texture, and more—and are presented alongside fr Creating stylish sketches by hand is easy and fun with this inspiring guide. Freehand breaks down basic drawing techniques into bite-sized chunks, and reveals their practical application in dazzling examples by today's coolest artists. Over 200 innovative works of art demonstrate all the fundamentals—line, tone, composition, texture, and more—and are presented alongside friendly text explaining the simple techniques used to achieve each stylish effect. The final section of the book offers aspiring artists essential reference materials to hone their drafting skills and practice what they've learned. Petite in size but comprehensive in scope, this hip handbook will teach artists of all skill levels how to find their personal drawing style and start making amazing sketches.

30 review for Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    To me "freehand" and "sketching" both mean creating art with your own physical hands, in a minimally planned way (maybe you think about the result before you put pen to paper, but you aren't extensively planning and making drafts on graph paper and underdrawing. Or acquiring things to paste into your image). But I am clearly an old fogey who does not know what words mean these days. These are more like "finished art pieces with a hip, casual feel, often completed with digital software." As far as To me "freehand" and "sketching" both mean creating art with your own physical hands, in a minimally planned way (maybe you think about the result before you put pen to paper, but you aren't extensively planning and making drafts on graph paper and underdrawing. Or acquiring things to paste into your image). But I am clearly an old fogey who does not know what words mean these days. These are more like "finished art pieces with a hip, casual feel, often completed with digital software." As far as looks go, some were interesting, some were poor, most I could take or leave. I don't see this book as being helpful for someone who wanted to become better at sketching. The tips are either ridiculously obvious (composition makes a big difference) or weirdly specific (layer torn papers in different patterns to create depth). This was basically just a fun little book to glance through.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    As a newbie watercolour painter I found this one of the most exciting books I have read so far about drawing and painting. It's a small book, but it is packed with quirky and original contemporary artworks. There is a write up given on various aspects of each picture - on the methods used, the materials used, and an analysis of what makes each picture work so well. Most of all, this book can be used as an inspirational source book. I have marked a whole load of images that have given me ideas to As a newbie watercolour painter I found this one of the most exciting books I have read so far about drawing and painting. It's a small book, but it is packed with quirky and original contemporary artworks. There is a write up given on various aspects of each picture - on the methods used, the materials used, and an analysis of what makes each picture work so well. Most of all, this book can be used as an inspirational source book. I have marked a whole load of images that have given me ideas to experiment with in my own dabblings. It has also given me ideas that will hugely change how I work - for example... *There were several images that combined physical materials with using Photoshop. I have for years used Photoshop with my photography - but this book suggests all sorts of amazing ways it can be used with drawings and paintings too. I found the examples given hugely inspiring. * Collage - some wonderful examples were given. I can't wait to try some for myself. * How to make small intricate drawings. Draw them big, scan them, then print them small. (Why did I never think of this!) And there were loads of other suggestions too, including more traditional advice about things like stretching paper and the various mediums available. This advice was fairly cursory though. The main emphasis of the book is about really broadening your horizons and different and unusual ways of doing things. Finally, I just loved the artworks. What a wealth of marvellous images... Kaye Blegvad (Each cat head is drawn on different coloured paper) Kate Pugsley "Nerves" (Collage - the teeth are added in a different type of paper.) Caitlin Foster (Note the strobe-like, rippling effect of patterns like this) Sara Landeta (A painting within a painting.) As you can see from the last pic - where relevant, close ups are given of details. When I first saw this book I was disappointed because it was rather small (18cm x 13cm). But it was like the Tardis - as I read it, it grew bigger and bigger. It was packed with so many good ideas! The book has also given me the names of several artists whose work I want to explore further. Definitely a great read for people who want to experiment with different ways of approaching their art.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    Nifty little book that got me inspired to get out my colored pencils, but while some might find the instruction helpful I can’t say it had practical use for me. I think I just can’t learn art this way, and perhaps it’s just that I didn’t put any concentrated effort in trying. What’s lovely about the book is the art; I loved a lot of it. For artists or people who want to dabble in many artistic media, I think there are some good ideas and helpful tips. I did make note of the art apps mentioned an Nifty little book that got me inspired to get out my colored pencils, but while some might find the instruction helpful I can’t say it had practical use for me. I think I just can’t learn art this way, and perhaps it’s just that I didn’t put any concentrated effort in trying. What’s lovely about the book is the art; I loved a lot of it. For artists or people who want to dabble in many artistic media, I think there are some good ideas and helpful tips. I did make note of the art apps mentioned and I have started to check them out. Fun book! It’s a friendly size for carrying around, which I did. I was hoping for more pure colored pencils (only one example where that was the only technique used) and watercolors. For people who want to play with a bunch of kinds of art, especially in each art piece, this is a really good book for ideas and inspiration. 3 ½ stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    3.5 stars. This in my opinion is more a book to inspire you to maybe try a new medium or a new technique. The subtitle says "Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn From Art". They are drawn from art, and she shows you the art on the opposite page, but I'm not sure I'd call this a book of sketching tips and tricks. It's less about drawing and more about mixed media and digital art, and ways of combining the two. If that's what you want, then great, this book will inspire you to do that, but if you want 3.5 stars. This in my opinion is more a book to inspire you to maybe try a new medium or a new technique. The subtitle says "Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn From Art". They are drawn from art, and she shows you the art on the opposite page, but I'm not sure I'd call this a book of sketching tips and tricks. It's less about drawing and more about mixed media and digital art, and ways of combining the two. If that's what you want, then great, this book will inspire you to do that, but if you want sketching tips and tricks, try Sketch!: The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life. That is a great book about sketching. This one, not so much.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Good overview of a wide array of artistic tidbits, such as "Suggesting Time", "Negative Space", "Damp Ground", "Aerial Gaze", "Complementary Colors", etc. Feels more scattershot than I was expecting for some reason.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Teal

    I failed to see the point of this. And I can't imagine who the intended audience is. Not to mention that the title is utterly misleading, as there's an almost total absence of "tips and tricks." And with that, I've put as much effort into my review as it seems the author put into this collection of mostly uninspiring art and meager commentary.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    While I loved the small format and seeing all the art within, this isn't a how-to book in my opinion since the "tips and tricks" are really only related to the specific pieces of art featured. Still, it was fun to flip through.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Am Y

    This is a collection of inspiring art ideas and techniques - great for when you need inspiration on how to execute your next art project. The book is organised thus: a picture is accompanied by text explaining how the artist has done that work, the effect achieved, and how you could use this technique in your work too. I found myself thinking what a neat idea - why didn't I think of that?! on some of the tips, as I slowly ploughed my way through this small but thick tome. I also foresee myself g This is a collection of inspiring art ideas and techniques - great for when you need inspiration on how to execute your next art project. The book is organised thus: a picture is accompanied by text explaining how the artist has done that work, the effect achieved, and how you could use this technique in your work too. I found myself thinking what a neat idea - why didn't I think of that?! on some of the tips, as I slowly ploughed my way through this small but thick tome. I also foresee myself going back to this book time and again for inspiration, each time I feel like creating something. The only negative points for me were: 1) The misleading title - this isn't just about sketching, nor does it include detailed sketching instructions. Rather, the book features all sorts of art media (e.g. collage, paper cutting, painting, digital art, etc) that have some element of sketching in them. Sometimes the sketching bit is very minimal. 2) There was an error with one of the featured artworks. On page 90, the text accompanying the art piece describes a completely different artwork from that shown. I was left boggled before I realised that the wrong picture must have been used. This was such a major error - why wasn't this book properly checked before going to print? Still, gripes aside, this book is something I'd invest my money in, solely for its usefulness.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    I have to say this book was only okay. There were a few interesting things contained in it but for the most part it was kind of a disappointment. I got a few interesting ideas from it and there were some nice drawings. I was disappointed in the majority of this though and found it fairly remedial. I also was annoyed and the amount of digital drawings and manipulations in it. This would probably be a better book for the beginner and also someone interested in digitally manipulating their drawings I have to say this book was only okay. There were a few interesting things contained in it but for the most part it was kind of a disappointment. I got a few interesting ideas from it and there were some nice drawings. I was disappointed in the majority of this though and found it fairly remedial. I also was annoyed and the amount of digital drawings and manipulations in it. This would probably be a better book for the beginner and also someone interested in digitally manipulating their drawings in photo shop or illustrator. There were a few good tips though and it was a very easy book to read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    This is an extremely misleading title. From the title, one might expect a book about sketching. Problematically though, there's a lots of art in here that most people really wouldn't consider "sketching" including digital editing, collages, and paper cutting. On top of that most of the "tips" included with the artwork were not really helpful at all, more like just straight up commentary on the art. This is really a showcase of artists masquerading as a book that will teach you tips for sketching This is an extremely misleading title. From the title, one might expect a book about sketching. Problematically though, there's a lots of art in here that most people really wouldn't consider "sketching" including digital editing, collages, and paper cutting. On top of that most of the "tips" included with the artwork were not really helpful at all, more like just straight up commentary on the art. This is really a showcase of artists masquerading as a book that will teach you tips for sketching. And yes, some of the art was interesting (and some... not so much) but I really felt like this book had an identity crisis.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    A bit heavy on the digital drawings- which is fine, but I was hoping for more sketching and hand drawing examples. Loved the size, the photographs, and the simple instructions and text.

  12. 5 out of 5

    بيان

    Magnificent.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    This little book might be good for the absolute beginner, or in an art classroom, but in my opinion it is mis-titled. I expected to see art drawn "freehand", but much of the art was digitally manipulated in some manner. And while the art is fun to look at, the written blurbs that accompanies each piece of art is rather rudimentary and not really informative.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Not something to buy necessarily but great for inspiration.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    the writing itself was not perfect but I look forward to referencing the diverse means of drawing shown in this little gem of a book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Antoinette Perez

    Really neat little book packed with fresh, contemporary art inspiration. Each piece has a short analysis of composition, technique, and form.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sundry

    I love this little book. I first borrowed it from the library on my Kindle, then bought the paperback because I know I'll want to refer to it again and again. Helen Birch takes great pleasure in describing and celebrating a wide variety of techniques and styles. For me, this book is always inviting, never intimidating. It has encouraged me to push my self-taught art further, as I play with new media and mixed media. I liked it so much I ordered hard copies of both of Birch's other two books. Look I love this little book. I first borrowed it from the library on my Kindle, then bought the paperback because I know I'll want to refer to it again and again. Helen Birch takes great pleasure in describing and celebrating a wide variety of techniques and styles. For me, this book is always inviting, never intimidating. It has encouraged me to push my self-taught art further, as I play with new media and mixed media. I liked it so much I ordered hard copies of both of Birch's other two books. Looking forward to taking my time with them!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Great compendium of ideas for inspiration, techniques and general perusal of the different types/styles of art there are out there. It's also great to see what you can do with basic materials, adapting them in ways that possibly you've never considered. All round good, quick read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    3.2 Some good art, some bad art. Interesting to think about modern artists in a way other than What is this it doesn't even make any sense.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Some really big surprises are packed into this small book about drawing. The author fills the pages with drawing ideas and examples. I have spent the last few days drawing.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Korie Brown

    Loved this one! I go back and re-read or re-skim every few months.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Great art inspiration.

  23. 4 out of 5

    samantha brown

    Waste of money Terrible purchase. Very misleading. I learned nothing and thought the pictures in the book weren’t any good. Don’t waste your money!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeffery

    This would better titled as “Collage: A new definition of drawing”. The title “Freehand” suggests a very different book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Teeny

    This feels more like an artbook

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gerisgrltrl2

    Good reference book. Great addition to any artist's library.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Like several other reviewers, I first checked this book out from the library, and then decided to purchase a copy of my own. I love the small format -- it's a pleasure to hold in the hand and flip through, and it is chock full of visual delights. This is NOT a "how-to" book, and contains only minimal descriptions of the techniques used to create the widely varying works within -- so if instruction is what you want, look elsewhere. What it does offer is a boatload of inspiration to step outside y Like several other reviewers, I first checked this book out from the library, and then decided to purchase a copy of my own. I love the small format -- it's a pleasure to hold in the hand and flip through, and it is chock full of visual delights. This is NOT a "how-to" book, and contains only minimal descriptions of the techniques used to create the widely varying works within -- so if instruction is what you want, look elsewhere. What it does offer is a boatload of inspiration to step outside your own particular comfort zone and try something different. Most of the artists profiled go beyond traditional drawing media, using paint, collage, and digital tools, among other things, to stretch the definition of what "drawing" really might be. That's nothing new, artists have been doing it for millennia. The borders continue to expand. I'm currently using this book to insert some variety into my own practice; in between working on my usual projects (I'm a printmaker) I have set myself the *assignment* of doing a drawing each week that incorporates one or more of the concepts included in this collection. The results have been challenging, eye-opening, and pure fun!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lastoadri

    One of the best art books I've read till now. It is different and unique.. the kind of art books I am looking for to enrich my artistic consciousness.. It must not be read on a hast, but it must be taken slowly, till you digest every piece on it's own.. I am glad this book crossed my roads, and looking forward to start the other watercolor book by the same author.. Ps: if you are into realism and not into conceptual sketchy contemporary kind of art, then this book is not for you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karen A.

    Love love love this book. Very stylish drawings that inspire the viewer to try different things. I have always been a doodler - this book not only validates the art of small clever drawings but gives/guides/suggests ways to make your small idea BIG. My favorite is to take a smaller drawing - scan it - and repeat it to make a pattern. This may seem obvious to Gen Y and current art students who have technology ingrained as a third arm, but to those of us old school folks who look to William Morris Love love love this book. Very stylish drawings that inspire the viewer to try different things. I have always been a doodler - this book not only validates the art of small clever drawings but gives/guides/suggests ways to make your small idea BIG. My favorite is to take a smaller drawing - scan it - and repeat it to make a pattern. This may seem obvious to Gen Y and current art students who have technology ingrained as a third arm, but to those of us old school folks who look to William Morris as the last most revolutionary figure in getting distinct patterns multiplied (and he had a whole factory) - this is truly freeing. Drawings are also referenced to a visual index - an index of different techniques employed within each drawing. For a visual librarian this causes drooling - most exciting. I love this book so much - I finally returned the library's edition and bought my very own. My one misgiving is that stylistically the work is all very similar although done by multiple artists. This suggests the author/instructor has a great amount of influence however this is not enough to ruin or take away all the other great inspirational ideas the book offers.

  30. 4 out of 5

    patty ramona

    More inspiring, less instructional.

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