Friday, 11 June 2010

Latest Acquisitions

The Variscaler

I don't have many books on pure drawing, the most important ones being `Keys to Drawing' by Bert Dodson, which was recommended by Charles Reid, `Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain'  by Betty Edwards and `Drawing and Sketching' by John Palmer. None of these are what you might term orthodox drawing books of which there are many. I have one or two others.

Recently on a visit to pick up a book at my local library I noticed the figure drawing book above on the `new acquisitions' shelf. On impulse I loaned it and after perusing  thought it worth acquiring permanently. On searching Amazon I discovered the author, one Barrington Barber, to have a whole range of books basically all on various facets of drawing. Amazingly Amazon list 67 although this includes some duplications, different editions of the same book, and also several translatuions in at least three other languages. I confess I'd never heard of him but he is obviously highly regarded in his field and currently combines teaching art with ` a successful career as a commercial illustrator and artist'. He is British and enquiries on Google bring up more information. These books are not expensive most retailing at around £9.99 and available on Amazon at a good discount. I ordered the figure and portrait books but Amazon, after initially accepting the order, e-mailed to say the portrait book was unavailable. On to the second hand internet mecca Abebooks . Sure enough they had several copies and I noticed the second supplier listed was Bookbarn in Somerset. As we intended to go to a farmshop the following week, and would pass Bookbarn on the way, I decided not to pay the postal charges but call in. To cut a long story short I bought the book for £2, in mint condition, not before querying why they wanted to charge me £4.40 when the internet price was £2.30! This confirms one of the rules from my days of selling which is `if you don't ask you don't get!  I am very much into the Charles Reid contour drawing system but I like the look of the above books and am sure they will be helpful.

On to my second recent acquisition which is a proportional divider. My drawing skills still need much polishing and while I usually get there in the end it can be a tortuous process. Anything that helps to speed up things and ensure a more accurate result is worth a try.  I initially bought a cheap one from the SAA, to which my local AVA group is affiliated. This was rather rough and ready and also quite large so after trying it a few times, and  deciding the principle was useful, I sought a better instrument. If you Google `proportional divider' the results are fascinating. The history of such things comes up and on offer are a whole range including very expensive antique versions. I finally settled on something called the Variscaler from Black Mouse . It cost £25 plus carriage and is a well-made instrument in brass in a nice wooden case. Full instructions came with it and while I have not yet fully come to grips with using it I hope to do so soon. My intention is not to produce highly detailed drawings but mark key points in the drawing to use as guides, aiming for a loose but accurate result. 

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