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The Fundamentals of Drawing Still Life

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The Fundamentals of Drawing Still Life

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Book Name: The Fundamentals of Drawing Still Life

Author: Barrington Barber

Publisher: Arcturus Publishing Limited

ISBN: 0760761906

Cover: Paperback

# of Pages: 208

Illustrations: B&W sketches

Experience Required: Beginner

Book Review

I really like this book Fundamentals of Drawing Still Life because it gives the reader confidence in knowing that whatever skills they do or do not have, they can learn to draw on some scale. The lessons in the book won’t make you an expert but give you an understanding of how to draw the basic shapes that form a lot of the images represented in the book.

The first chapter, First Steps is very important because it is an introduction to the materials involved in creating the art projects in this book including pencils, pens, brushes, paper and other tools. Instruction in drawing starts here with practice exercises on basic lines, creating shapes, dimensions, ellipses and cylinders, using pencil and ink to create tone (which leads to drawing simple objects with different media) and creating texture.

Following the practice chapter the author starts to Explore Textures (bones and shells), Combining Objects (encompassed groups), Themes and Composition (food and drink) and Expanding the View (moving from inside to outside). He goes on to take a look at Varying Techniques and Materials (using pencils, pen and ink) and examples from art (including still life by Diego Rivera and Matisse), Playing with Still Life (tactile qualities: the senses), and Unusual arrangements (pictures with a purpose, frescoes and surrealism– Salvador Dali).

Especially important is the chapter Bringing it All Together because this is where you compose a finished product based on what you have learned. The author takes your through a step-by-step process (find your setting, find your objects, how to light your objects, selection time, try different viewpoints, spread out or close together, the artist’s viewpoint, know your objects, know your objects/a rough composition, outline drawing and block in the tone) toward the completed picture.


  • Contrasting Textures – Paddington Bear
  • Unusual Combinations – Dolls and Teddies
  • Suggesting Larger Spaces – Still Life
  • Examples from Art – Renaissance Drawing
  • Unusual Arrangements – Rarities

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