Drawing From Observation
An Introduction to Perceptual Drawing
by BRIAN CURTIS
CURRENTLY BEING USED IN OVER 240 COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
I began this text with the belief that it is of considerable educational value to learn to draw from observation not only in spite of but actually because of the limitations of perceptual drawing. First hand experience with the strengths and weaknesses of the synthetic nature of "realistic" drawing not only provides us with insight into the mechanisms of visual perception but also provides interesting insights into the motivations of those who have chosen to make art without it. While perceptual drawing has traditionally been acknowledged to be an effective tool for developing visual sensitivity, I believe it is equally effective as a theoretical baseline against which to compare and contrast alternative aesthetic and conceptual approaches. While I have a profound appreciation for Modernism, and am intrigued and engaged by the dialogues being carried on under the umbrella of Post-Modernism, I do believe that there is no more suitable vantage point from which to encounter the visual art of the past, present, and future than the perceptual platform that was constructed for us in the fifteenth century by Brunelleschi, Alberti, Piero, and Leonardo.

This book is different from the others that are currently available. It is more limited. It is meant to be limited, although focused might be a more appropriate description. This text focuses on the specific techniques, issues and concepts that are essential to anyone seeking to develop a practical and theoretical understanding of what it means to translate perceptual information to a two-dimensional surface.

Drawing From Observation weaves together two complementary approaches: one rooted in hands-on drawing mechanics and the other in background theory and/or explanatory material. Illustrating the text throughout, in addition to fifty master works are two hundred technical illustrations and two hundred student projects.

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