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Drawing Essentials

A Guide to Drawing from Observation

Second Edition

Deborah Rockman

Publication Date - December 2011

ISBN: 9780199758944

432 pages
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $65.95

An exceptional, all-in-one resource on basic drawing, perspective, figure drawing, and color drawing, with more color and black-and-white illustrations by both students and professionals than any other drawing textbook


Ideal for introductory studio art courses in drawing, Drawing Essentials: A Guide to Drawing from Observation, Second Edition, explains clearly and in depth the essentials of depicting form and space on a two-dimensional surface, focusing on the cultivation of observational skills, increased sensitivity, critical thinking, technical refinement, and knowledge of materials.

* Written by an award-winning artist with thirty years of teaching experience
* Presents clear, direct explanations of drawing fundamentals including: the process of sighting; scaling techniques; creating meaningful line variation; methods for tonal development; creating effective still lifes; understanding the human figure, portraiture, and anatomy; color theory and application; perspective systems; using photos as references; and brainstorming to generate ideas
* Provides helpful pointers on both group and individual critiques
* Offers practical advice about traditional and nontraditional media and surfaces as well as alternative processes that can be combined with drawing
* Includes a comprehensive appendix featuring more than eighty illustrations by twenty-one contemporary artists, a bibliography, and a list of supplementary readings

New to this Edition

  • A Glossary of Art Terms
  • Contains 127 new illustrations, seventy-four of which are in color
  • Includes a new chapter on color theory and the use of color media in drawing (Chapter 5)
  • Splits the perspective chapter into two distinct chapters, offering step-by-step coverage at both the beginning and more advanced levels (Chapters 2 and 3)
  • Includes a new section on straight-line construction and planar construction (Chapter 1)

About the Author(s)

Deborah Rockman is Chair of the Drawing and Printmaking Programs at Kendall College of Art and Design, Ferris State University.

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 2011
March 2008

Table of Contents


    1. Essential Skills and Information: What Every Student Should Know About Drawing

    Sighting and the Use of a Sighting Stick
    The Principles of Composition: Theory versus Application
    The Golden Section
    Line Variation and Sensitivity
    Working with Value Structure
    The Illusion of Space and Depth on a Two-Dimensional Surface
    The Technique of Scaling to Determine Accurate Size Relationships
    Creating an Effective Still Life

    2. Spatial Thinking and Visualization: The Essential Principles of Perspective Drawing
    An Introduction to Perspective
    The Terminology of Perspective
    Perspective and Cubes
    Using Perspective Grids
    Increasing Complexity in the Perspective Environment
    Constructing Ellipses in One-Point and Two-Point Perspective

    3. Advanced Perspective Techniques
    Taking Perspective to the Next Level
    Mathematically Precise Cubes in Two-Point Perspective
    Using Measuring Lines for Equal and Unequal Divisions of an Area
    Inclined Planes in Perspective
    Geometric Solids and Transparent Construction
    Three-Point Perspective
    Suggested Perspective Exercises

    4. Essential Drawing Principles in Relation to the Human Figure
    The Human Figure
    Gesture Drawing or Rapid Contour Drawing
    Enhancing the Illusion of Volume and Space in the Human Form
    An Introduction to Portraiture
    Mapping the Figure in Space
    The Figure and Anatomy

    5. Color Theory and Application
    Understanding Color
    The Spatial and Volumetric Effects of Color
    Hints for Observing and Recording Color
    Drawing with Color Media
    Colored Pencils
    Oil Pastels
    Some Final Thoughts about Working with Color

    6. Developing Ideas, Resolving Problems, and Evaluating Results
    Ideation: Generating Ideas
    Diagnosing Problems in Your Work
    Intentions versus Results
    The Importance of Critiques
    Key Questions for Critiquing Work

    7. Drawing Materials and Processes
    Media and Materials for Drawing
    Transfer Techniques Combined with Drawing

    Appendix: Contemporary Art: A Gallery of Drawings
    Glossary of Art Terms