Choice of Books/How To Practice Loomis

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  04 April 2011
Choice of Books/How To Practice Loomis

Long time lurker, first time poster. I have a degree in digital art (production design/pre-press, etc) but have always wanted to be a better artist/illustrator. While I was able to graduate, I made the mistake of missing out on foundations of art lessons and am trying to catch up now. So I have a few questions:

First I have 3 books - and only about 10 hours per week free (young daughter/Hectic work schedule).
  • Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (both 1989 and 1999 Editions) - Betty Edwards
  • Fun With a Pencil - Andrew Loomis
  • The Natural Way to Draw - Nicolaides
So - assuming my working knowledge of illustration foundations is crap - which book would be the best to start with? If DotRS, is there a huge difference between editions or should I just grab the later one and go?

Also, as far as Loomis is concerned - how much do you practice? Is it just a matter of practicing drawing heads until you've mastered it?

Thanks in advance.
  04 April 2011
There is so much more to learning the foundations than just drawing heads, or even just drawing people. The foundations include composition, perspective, values/lighting, color theory, and then anatomy/figure. No single book will teach you all of that. The Loomis books do a pretty good job covering them, and the proper order (from beginner to advanced) of his books are something like:

Fun with a Pencil
Figure Drawing For All It's Worth / Successful Drawing (roughly same level, with different emphasis)
Creative Illustration
Eye of the Painter

Out of these books, the most essential three would be the middle three books. Fun with a Pencil was written for children, so it's a bit too simple for some, while Eye of the Painter is more about observation, analysis, deconstruction, and understanding, and is a bit too advanced for some because they haven't learned enough about the foundations to apply all that insight. The middle three books are the most practical and informative when it comes to the bulk of the essential foundations.

As for the other books you mentioned, I personally have never found those types of books of any use, because I never struggled mentally with drawing things as abstract shapes and depicting what I "see" as opposed to what I "know"--which is essential to draftsmanship, even at a very young age. But I know some people's brains just aren't wired the same way, so they really struggle with that most basic first step, and I've heard many good things about people learning this basic idea from Betty's book.
  04 April 2011
Thanks a lot for the thorough reply - It's not that I can't see the shapes that make things up, it's that I can't replicate it well on paper. It always looks flat or off-kilter. I think I will start with DotRS and then move onto Successful Drawing and Eye of the Painter. (I have all the Loomis books thanks to the members here)
  06 June 2011
Loomis books are fantastic.
I looked them over recently(really wish i had access to them 2 decades ago-some of the techniques were used in How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way but not enough).
  06 June 2011
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