English illustrator and designer Andrew Davidson graduated from the Royal College of Art in London. Known for his traditional wood engraving and wood cuts, Mr Davidson also paints more graphic artwork using gauche and wood blocks. All of his traditional work is printed using a 1859 Albion hand press.
I noticed his work at the AOI Illustration Awards 2014. On display were his hand engraved Harry Potter illustrations. They were fantastic, the details and textures had me staring with my nose practically pressed against the glass. I was excited to see the application of the illustrations but after I found them online, I was sorely disappointed. Resisting the urge to berate someone’s work, I will let you take a look for yourself and make your own opinions.
Mr Davidson’s skill of traditional printing methods has kept him in high demand. His client list include HarperCollins, Penguin Books, Rolex, HRH Prince of Wales Duchy Originals. He has also created postage stamps for Royal Mail, and designs for the glass doors at Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
I’d Love to Draw is a collection of work by the innovative American artist Andrew Loomis, previously unseen by anyone outside the Loomis family and available in print for the first time ever. Having been held in the Loomis family archive for decades after the artist’s death, I’d Love to Draw has been restored by a group of devoted experts, including the globally renowned comic book artist and Loomis devotee Alex Ross.
Andrew Loomis started this book with the ambitious intention of bridging the gap between those who “can’t draw” and hobbyist. Before he passed away, he completed much of the writing, annotations, and sketches. Though some of the sketches are quite rough, they more than convey their point. Alex Ross plays co-author, and adds extra annotation where needed. I initially though his part would be quite small, writing a forward and maybe some extra thoughts, but Mr Ross actually has annotations throughout which are very helpful.
An important thing to remember is that this book is aimed at the absolute novice and so Mr Loomis pays careful attention to limit the art terminology, and breaks down processes to their simplest. Mr Loomis’ main focus is to change how a beginner thinks about drawing. He States that an amateur will focus on the contours of an object and attempt to draw them. This is of course very difficult even for seasoned illustrators. He goes into great depth to explain the importance of construction lines, and breaking down an object to its most basic shapes. Mr Loomis proceeds comfortably to reinforce this idea with a few examples of complex objects with their basic shape counterpart. The book is filled with some great tidbits, like this gem:
“We can only fake things we know thoroughly—otherwise we just put down the evidence of what we do not know.”
After addressing preconceptions and hopefully easing some of any initial fear, Mr Loomis proceeds to explain some of the most central areas of illustration including perspective, light, faces and figures. He spotlights cartooning and exaggeration, in attempt to convey the fun of drawing. Which actually did just that. I found it a really welcome section after the more technical information. The book concludes with different techniques of sketching: tonal, accent, scribble, block and more. This was definitely my favourite section as it pretty much doubles as a showcase of how inspiring and adept Andrew Loomis’ sketches are.
In all, I’d Love to Draw, is a worthy addition to the Loomis book collection and it is wonderful to see more of his work in print. I should stress that it won’t suit everyone. For those who already have a foot in illustration and draw regularly, this book may be a tad repetitious. Essentially it is a more accessible version of Successful Drawing. However, what it does do well and what it set out to do, to relieve the fear of having a go.
I will admit I have not sat to draw much lately, but as soon as I put this book down I picked my pencil up. Something about the “Getting the fun out of it” section really motivated me.
Published by Titan Books, I’d Love To Draw is out now, retailing at £29.99. I would recommend it mainly for beginners, those interested in illustration (and willing to give it a go), and definitely the Loomis enthusiast.
Based in Paris, freelancer Nicolas Delort produces spectacular woodcut inspired illustrations. The detail and effort put into his pieces is inspiring. You can get a better idea of just how much effort goes in, from this video. You can see more Mr. Delort’s work and process on his Tumblr and blog.
Justin Mezzell is a designer-slash-illustrator living in Orlando, Florida. I like the interesting way he uses geometry to create his work. The sun-blushed colours and gritty textures create a nice aesthetic. Justin is at perfectly at home illustrating weapons, buildings and complicated techy things (that I fear even attempting in my own work). He also creates user interfaces, which you can see more of on his website.
For those of you who like to delve a bit deeper, Justin has a humorous, opinionated blog which I enjoyed reading through and recommend.
Proko is a very inspiring resource of instructional videos by artist Stan Prokopenko. I have been watching heaps of it lately. Each video is filled with tips playfully presented by Mr. Prokopenko. Overall they serve as a great introduction to life drawing, and an encouragement to keep practising the fundamentals. What are you waiting for? Go subscribe to his YouTube Channel now!