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The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques
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The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  1,200 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Since 1940, when it was originally published, The Artist's Handbook has been indispensable for thousands of practicing artists and art students. The book has remained continuously in print through many editions and has some more than a quarter of a million copies. It is, as American Artist Magazine calls it, the "artist's bible," an invaluable reference for the painter, sc ...more
Hardcover, Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated, 784 pages
Published May 31st 1991 by Viking (first published 1940)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,747)
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Jan 23, 2013 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: artists
Ralph Mayer's Handbook is an excellent resource for practicing studio artists. I've referred to it many times over the years and would recommend to artists who want to expand their overall knowledge of art materials and their practical use.
Jan 04, 2009 H rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: artists, art students, art majors
This book is great for anyone with technical questions about art supplies, especially art students with shitty teachers.
This is primarily a reference guide for art materials. Useful info on brush types, how different paint colors are made, why use quality art materials. In depth information in areas I had no interest (like mixing your own paints using pigments). No info on art supplies like fiber paste or molding paste. It is very thorough but potentially out of date. I wound up donating this to the local library.
Dec 07, 2013 Joshua rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Serious artists working in paint
Shelves: reference-books
As near a "complete reference book" can be. This is a technical reference book not a "how to guide", but covers innumerable artistic disciplines, the bulk taken up by: Oil Painting, Pigments, Solvents and Gums, Basic Chemistry, Artwork Conservation Issues, Studio devices and tools for the painter.

Its left wanting in a few major area - principally of sculpting and Installation art. Which is obviously a subject so vast and varied as to require volumed editions unto itself: Drafting and engineering
Dec 06, 2007 Ruth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: artists
Shelves: art
Everything you ever wanted to know about the technical side of making art, and a whole bunch of things you didn't know you wanted to know.

katiev Veeninga
the only book you need to learn everything you need to know to make art. well, the technical stuff anyway. art & fear for the rest of it.
A venerable workhorse, but important parts of this book are seriously out-of-date.

This book is long overdue for thorough revisions.
Jul 17, 2008 Amyelyse rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Amyelyse by: thebooklist for an oil painting class
Text book from a college course that I added to my collection rather than seling back, it's okay, but not as good as my other one
Scott Sedar
It's great to have an explanation for many of the procedures and practices I've been taught. This is a manual of great worth.
Diane Stevenett
This resource book is a MUST in every artists comes in handy! More than you could imagine!!
Madeleine Finley
Good reference. Must get the fifth addition if you're living past 1980.
Old or new, an edition of this is a must have for an artist.
Feb 25, 2008 Zoe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Monica
Recommended to Zoe by: Claudia Hollander and Dave Nechak
Shelves: own-it
A must have.
Oct 24, 2014 Jean added it
Recommends it for: Artists
Shelves: art, classics, favorites
Excellent reference book for artists.
Jun 07, 2008 Lucas rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Artists
Recommended to Lucas by: I did
Shelves: reference
This book is probably the best reference book for making art and all it's technicalities. I do wish there could be a newer edition as this was written in '94 and many new developments have been made. Many things COULD be added. Over all this book is one of the top on my "comes in handy" list.
Mimi Wolske

If there is any technique or material an artist wants to understand better, this book will do the trick. Every artist should own a copy, and non-artists should peruse it as well. You can't open this book without learning something.
Aaron Berger
I haven't really read it but I own it now and it's just a reference book.
Aug 22, 2007 Edward added it
i have the 1949 edition.. "acrylic paints are as yet untested"...
Greg Tatum
I love this book. It's so technical but illuminating.
Feb 25, 2008 Rose rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: artists who want to know more about their materials than what color they appear.
Shelves: hobby-books
great source of info.
Warren marked it as to-read
Jul 01, 2015
Robert O'Bert
Robert O'Bert marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2015
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