Jess Scott's Reviews > The Elements of Drawing

The Elements of Drawing by John Ruskin
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Jul 05, 10


If you want to buy just one drawing book...

Make sure this is the one! I came across THE ELEMENTS OF DRAWING at the library on a random day, when I was a wayward 16/17-year-old (I am now 23). I had always wanted to draw, but found many of the drawing books to be not very useful/helpful (as the introduction states, in the "elements of drawing" copy/edition that I read).

Many modern how-to-draw books do not instill/nurture/teach/inspire one to develop their own artistic sense, and a keen observation/attention to detail, which are two things I managed to attain (and continue to attain), as a direct result of this splendid book by John Ruskin.

It's not an easy book to read -- in fact, I believe Ruskin himself states/warns in the beginning that some parts/activities will be quite tedious (such as the careful manual shading of gradients) -- he does say that if you really, really want to learn how to draw, you've got to be prepared to put your life into it (to that effect). He says something about having the diligence to put in 150-200 hours into learning how to draw (or how to do anything)...and since time = life, I guess that puts what he says into perspective.

John Ruskin's fine definition of drawing is as follows: "all art is but dirtying the paper delicately." I love the way he presented whatever he had to say/teach about art and drawing -- it's a real sharing/transference of knowledge.

Drawing's turned out to be a lifesaver for me. It's helped me to develop more confidence in myself and what I do...I'm very lucky to have had the good fortune to have been guided by THE ELEMENTS OF DRAWING.

P.S. I think I took a grand total of about 4-5 years to actually get through the book from cover to cover (I read it on and off from the time I was 17-22)...but I'm glad I took the time to gradually let my artistic senses develop (something that money and the average art class cannot buy).

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Quotes Jess Liked

John Ruskin
“All art is but dirtying the paper delicately.”
John Ruskin, The Elements of Drawing


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Anna Kenny I found it in my library too and loved it for all same reasons ..the depth of enquiry, the attention to details his conversational integrity and personable narrative make it completely absorbing very intimate a.he writes for the reader attentive to the task ..love it a handy companion for all time


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