The Artist’s Guide to Perspective – book review

Here is my second book review.  The book is called The Artist’s Guide to Perspective by Janet Shearer.  It is a large paperback with lots of photographs and diagrams, and step by step instructions like the felting book.

Artist's guide to perspective book

The chapter headings give an idea of what the book covers:

How perspective works

The picture plane

Vanishing points

Questions and answers

Aerial perspective

Foreshortening in figurative drawing

More advanced perspective

There are lots of exercises involving holding a pencil in front of you while looking at the horizon  and I can see that it would be useful for quilters who wanted to make realistic images of landscapes or street scenes.  The author does include lots of photographs and examples of what she is talking about.   However, I think it would take a lot to make me go and stand like a lemon in the middle of a country road with a number of large cardboard boxes as she suggests!  Although, to be fair, she does suggest an alternative exercise indoors..

vanishing point

I would imagine that this book would be useful to go through if you wanted to get a clear understanding of how perspective works (in order to break the rules, maybe?) but I must admit I prefer the approach of Betty Edwards in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  The author is a teacher and I found her style a bit patronizing at times, such as when she tells you to stand up straight and not slouch because it’s good for your health as well as good for the drawing!!   Having said that, it does seem to be very systematic and clearly explained and maybe if I actually went through the exercises rather than just reading through them I would change my mind.  She does have an interesting section on painting the sea and sky and mixing colours.  Maybe this is why I didn’t get on so well with the book – I am a colour and texture person rather than someone who likes shapes and mathematical exercises and I’d much rather eyeball things than be scientific!

painting the sea

A reminder: The  books I’m reviewing are called Self Sufficiency: Hen Keeping/ by Mike Hatcher (£7.99), The Felted Bag Book by Susie Johns (£14.99) and The Artist’s Guide to Perspective by Janet Shearer (£8.99) and New Holland Publishers are offering 20% discount plus free P&P if you buy them through their website – put the code Spiral at checkout (this lasts till 31st March 2011, UK customers only).

2 Replies to “The Artist’s Guide to Perspective – book review”

  1. Would you recommend this book for beginners, or is it better to read it when you’ve already read some basic info?

    1. Hi Harry

      Yes, I think it is suitable for beginners – it is very basic and has lots of step by step exercises and explanations, with photographs and diagrams to explain things.

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