Essential Techniques of Landscape Drawing

Master the Concepts and Methods for Observing and Rendering Nature

About the Book

This beginner's guide to drawing in graphite pencil uses step-by-step exercises to teach fundamental methods for rendering all aspects of the natural landscape, with additional lessons on using charcoal, colored pencil, pastel, and other media.

Following in the footsteps of author, artist, and art instructor Suzanne Brooker's previous title The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting, this book pairs the most universally-pursued topic for artists (drawing) with the popular subject matter of the natural landscape. Brooker breaks down landscapes into their various elements--including the earth, water, air, and trees--to convey how the fundamentals of drawing are applied to capture each aspect. Using the graphite pencil as her baseline instrument, Brooker provides you with step-by-step lessons that help you improve your rendering skills and re-create the beauty of the world outdoors. Examples from art history and contemporary masters supplement these lessons. The end result is a drawing instruction book that provides artists with everything they need to render landscapes no matter their skill level.
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Praise for Essential Techniques of Landscape Drawing

“Suzanne Brooker’s book Essential Techniques of Landscape Drawing is extremely thoughtful and compressive, with beautiful examples of landscape drawings. She’s written a wonderfully detailed book covering the various materials, applications, and approaches needed to execute successful landscape drawings.” —Costa Vavagiakis, art instructor at The Art Students League of New York

"This book does a beautiful job of translating the visual complexities of the natural world into tangible concepts for artists, providing readers with the tools and techniques needed to achieve personal expression. Written in a language that is inspiring and easy to understand, Brooker’s teachings are essential for artists at all stages of their development." —Tamalin Baumgarten, professional artist and Master of Fine Arts
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Excerpt

Essential Techniques of Landscape Drawing

Chapter 1: The Basics of Landscape Drawing 

WHAT IS VISUAL THINKING?

Visual thinking
is a different, non-verbal mode of thinking as compared to those used for analyzing, reasoning or communicating with language. It is based on a visual language of line, shape, color, value, and texture—the formal elements that create all visual images. You can think of visual thinking as if it were a new alphabet, one made up of pencil marks that when assembled make up grass, clouds, and water, instead of words, sentences, and thoughts. Essentially, all drawings are made up of abstract marks organized via visual thinking to convey a sense of representation or realness for the viewer. After all, paper is flat but the world is filled with dimension. As a result, you can think of a drawn image as the art of illusion, of creating the resemblance of volume and space.

Developing our observational skills becomes important since what we draw is our perceptions of the natural world. The process of drawing opens your perceptions of the visible world through an active process of observation where what your eyes see-by-looking is melded to the mental function of noticing. Learning to draw is not only about seeing in a new way, but also translating what you see through drawing techniques and the visual traditions of Western culture. In the following chapters, you’ll learn more about specific techniques and how these skills are applied in landscape drawing.

The importance of drawing can never be overstated. Through drawing, you activate a connection between your eyes and your brain through to your hand that reflects your thoughts and perceptions revealed through drawing materials. In other words, visual thinking is the way you perceive the world around you and convert those observations via the drawing process.

Drawing as a finished product doesn’t even matter as much as the process of drawing itself does. One of the benefits of learning to draw is that it enhances your mental functions, literally building new connections within your brain. Although we consider communicating with language as the most important brain function, it is vision that dominates our senses. Drawing utilizes the right side of your brain, which perceives spatial relationships, patterns and shape relationships. Unlike the left side of your brain, it has no words/language as it perceives the world visually. For instance, without the right side of your brain you wouldn’t be able to drive or walk down a simple stairway! The left side of your brain however, is verbal and functions visually by symbol recognition. It gives verbal labels for what you see (grass, dog, tree) and stops noticing once an object is identified. A drawing practice focuses your mental attention on the present moment and quiets the verbal chatter of your left brain so you can see/notice what the right brain is observing. This opens your awareness of the natural world away from the concerns of daily life.

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About the Author

Suzanne Brooker
SUZANNE BROOKER has dedicated her life to art-making, both in studio practice and as an educator. She began her career as a teaching artist after receiving her MFA in figurative painting from California State University, Long Beach. She first began teaching at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle in 1999. Since 2013, she has focused her classes on landscape painting and drawing. She is the author of Portrait Painting Atelier and The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting. More by Suzanne Brooker
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Random House Publishing Group