Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner, Revised

15th Anniversary Edition

About the Book

This revised 15th anniversary edition of the bestselling beginning drawing book updates art and text examples to include new student pieces, up-to-date materials, and additional sections on drawing in 3D and travel sketching, along with refreshed and contemporary design.

Based on author and art instructor Claire Watson Garcia's successful courses and workshops for beginning and aspiring artists, Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner applies a positive, accepting tone to a progressive series of lessons in sketching and rendering. The book's step-by-step methodology and examples of student works from earliest efforts to completed drawings give novices the tools and techniques needed to make competent and eloquent renderings of still lifes, portraits, and more. In this revised edition, Garcia covers such in-demand subject matter as drawing-on-the-go, drawing in three dimensions, and drawing the portrait at a three-quarter view. The reinvigorated art and text ensure that this drawing instruction classic will continue to appeal to new generations of aspiring artists.
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Praise for Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner, Revised

“For the beginner whose artistic passion awaits awakening and direction you are in luck. Claire Watson Garcia, the eminent artist and art educator has created an extraordinary book for you.  Easy to follow step-by-step guidance through varieties of drawing techniques will take you from the uncertainty of beginning into a world of newfound self-confidence.   With Claire’s book, you are on the runway to a new fearless clarity to approach and draw any subject.”
—David A. Dunlop, artist, teacher, lecturer, and Emmy Award-winning TV host

"This wonderful new version is as much a labor of true love as was the original, and a beautiful roadmap that one can reference on the path to creativity."
— Angela Wood, Publisher, Blogger, Creative Director, inventivekids.com, Circle Media Inc.

Praise for the first edition:

"This is simply the best beginners' drawing book available. Garcia gently teaches how to see like an artist and then leads the student from creative exercises (recording shapes upside down), through "turning edges into objects," and finally to detailed still life and facial drawings." --Library Journal
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Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner, Revised

How to Use This Book
Following this book’s methods, a beginner with no previous art experience can quickly gain enough understanding of the basics to draw recognizable subjects and give them the illusion of dimension. It’s important to start at the very beginning of this learn-to-draw process to build a solid foundation in basic concepts and techniques, and also to acquire the confidence that comes from understanding the fundamentals.
The book is designed as a cumulative learning experience. Each chapter builds on skills acquired in the previous; projects become increasingly challenging while staying within reach. The book maintains a linear sequence from chapters 1 through 4, which provide the necessary preparation to take on exercises in subsequent chapters; you can then pursue the remaining chapters according to your personal interests.
Along with basic drawing techniques, I’ve also included instruction in another important skill: the ability to evaluate your drawings constructively. This will allow you to accelerate your drawing progress, learn more about yourself and your art, and challenge obstacles to learning like performance anxiety and harsh self-judgment.
The Beginners Speak

I’ve illustrated this book with drawings from beginners who completed the same assignments on which you’ll be working. It has been fascinating to see that beginners show an innate preference for certain shapes, visual contrasts, and rhythms that show up immediately in their drawings. This personal style appears without conscious effort, and is integral to each person’s approach to drawing. You too will learn how to express your own unique style in the most fulfilling way as your technical skills develop.
Approach drawing as a magical activity to do, to learn, and to see—profound, mysterious, and gratifying. Guided by the sequence of instruction and wise words from fellow beginners, you’ll have an art adventure—full of challenges, yes, but discoveries and rewards as well.
Getting Organized 

Set aside time on a regular basis to exercise your artistic capacity. It doesn’t have to involve a relentless, rigid schedule, where you’ll feel guilty if you don’t abide by it. But recognize that this new part of you needs time to flourish, whenever you can find the opportunity to engage it.

Do you have a place to draw? Since the practice of art is new to you, it’s likely you’ve borrowed space in the kitchen or in a bedroom. However, to ensure that the people you live with respect your space, it’s a good idea to let them know what you’re up to and where, especially if the apple on the kitchen counter they want to eat is part of your still life!

Keep your drawings and art supplies within reach, and in one place. To protect your work, I suggest you buy an inexpensive portfolio, large enough to hold your largest sheets of paper. That way you can save your work easily for later review. If you assemble your supplies in a toolbox or even a cardboard shoe box, you can keep all of your pencils, pens, and other supplies out of sight. A card table and chair can provide you with a mobile temporary studio. Searching for the perfect work conditions can be a form of procrastination, so just remember: a drawing can begin with only a piece of paper and a pencil.

About the Author

Claire Watson Garcia
CLAIRE WATSON GARCIA is an instructor at the prestigious Silvermine School of Art in New Canaan, CT, where her courses and workshops for the "Absolute and Utter Beginner" have been popular for more than 20 years. She is also the author of Drawing for the Absolute and Utter Beginner. More by Claire Watson Garcia
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