Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekend Chat Line...Share your favorite art books.

"I don't know about you but I have so many books on drawing and watercolor that I would be embarrassed to list them all. In fact I did put together a short list when I first started my blog.

For me, it was an effort to learn all the things I didn't acquire by going to college. I had such a hunger for knowledge. I struggled to learn the basics so I would have the confidence to actually take a class or workshop. After all, I didn't want to look like a complete fool."

My favorite book on drawing is by J. D. Hillberry..."Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil". In fact I ended up taking one of the most valuable workshops ever from J. D. in Colorado. If you are interested in pencil and want a worthwhile class, I strongly recommend his workshops. It was here that I learned how to combine carbon, graphite, and charcoal in the same drawing and how to use various blenders.

EDIT: Don't know where my mind was when originally wrote this post, but Mike Sibley's book "Drawing from Line to Life" actually lays on my drawing table...and should be a part of any aspiring pencil artist's reference library. I've referred to Mike's book often when struggling with a subject and always found my answer.

My other love is watercolor...I'm constantly inspired by the way it moves on the paper. You're going to be surprised but I love the 'looseness' of watercolor. The way the color flows on the paper and mingles. I know...this is in direct contrast to the tight realistic pencil work I do. Perhaps the attraction is the contrast of style. Yet, I have to's my inability to achieve this looseness in watercolor that defeats and discourages me!!

My favorite watercolor books would have to be "Painting People in Watercolor" by Alex Powers, The Figure in Watercolor, simple, fast, and focused" by Mel Stabin, and "Paint Watercolors filled with Life and Energy" by Arne Westerman. Lastly, if we're going to talk loose you have to mention Charles Reid.
Cold weather is setting in and we are all going to be spending more time indoors. Share your favorite books on techniques, art history, or marketing...something that inspired your artistic juices.

So here's the question...What are some of your favorite books, or DVD's. Is there someone you studied under that sent you home to your studio 'filled' with excitement and inspiration? Is there an artist you look forward to studying under in the future?

The "Chat Line" is open...I look forward to your comments and please feel free to comment on what others have to say. Remember...when you share, others are blessed.

My Final Thoughts: There is always an art book laying on the ottoman beside my chair. Most recently they are about Watercolor. I've said many times...I'm a watercolor want-a-be. It seems like my painting always gets put aside for my drawing commissions. I need to work on this or quit wishing and dreaming for the time to paint.

You see, for me the problem is this...drawing is easy, painting is hard.


Website ...Marsha Robinett Fine Art
The Extraordinary Pencil...blogspot
My Squidoo ...Drawing Techniques

PS...make a point...leave a comment


Sheona Hamilton Grant said...

Great post.
Marsha we seem to have the same "problem": finding painting hard and drawing easy...!
I am fascinated by oils and have just bought "the encyclopedia of oil painting techniques" to try and understand the intricaties (or rather the jargon) of this beautiful media. So far, it's doing a good job at opening my eyes. My confidence is growing and who knows...? My favorite drawing book is Mike Sibleys' "from line to life". He's not only a fantastic draughtsman but also a darn good teacher. Highly recommended.

Diane Wright said...


I've just subscribed to your postings but have been following your work for quite some time!

My saying is "I haven't grown out of pencils yet!" It's the only medium that I love.

I have a whole library of art books but my absolute favorite drawing book has to Mike Sibley's "Drawing Line to Life". This is THE Drawing Bible. It reads like a novel, as each chapter builds upon the next, but it also is a great reference tool. AND it is a piece of artwork itself - beautifully illustrated. Mike is not only a talented artist but an excellent writer.


Jeanette said...

I think many artists have similar books on their shelves, dependent on what medium their love is.

I have the same as you, JD Hillberry's book and Mike Sibley's as well. I consider Mike's my 'bible' for drawing and refer to it frequently.

I also have a number of books on painting going back 30 years that I collected when I started drawing and painting in earnest. I can't bear to part with any of them so lugged them across a continent with me when I moved back to Canada.

Diane Edwards said...

If you love to draw and find painting difficult, you should try painting with pastels. I love to draw and paint and this fulfills my needs perfectly. You can draw to your heart's content and in the end, Eureka! A beautiful painting just evolves. Try it, you'll love it.

Karen Hargett said...

Hi Marsha,
I don't know any artist that doesn't have a full library of books!

Mine includes JD Hillberry's, Mike Sibley's and Diane Wright's drawing books. For pastels I absolutely love Lesley Harrison's book "Painting Animals that Touch the Heart" - I started painting with pastel using her book. For watercolors I have Susan Harrison-Tustain's book and DVDs. She paints such breathtaking watercolors - you should check her out. For oils I have Richard Schmid's Alla Prima. Books by Kevin Macpherson, Harley Brown and gosh too many to mention. They all inspire and teach and delight my soul.

Did you know that you can rent DVDs by quite a few artists on It's great.

BTW I agree with Diane Edwards about pastels and drawing.

Dianne Poinski said...

My favorite art books include some that are not about technique but I find them valuable just the same. Two great ones are "Art and Fear" by David Bayles and Ted Orland and "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. Both of these deal with some of our "inner demons" and some days this is the help I need.

Quilt Knit said...

I have never been able to make a JD Hillberry workshop. Mike Sibley is new for me. I remember, I did belong to a Drawing Society. I received some wonderful work from them. I was in awe. Then no more. It had such a wonderful magazine. Sadly, no more. The first book I purchased for art was the wonderful- World Art History Book. Books, and their cost have always intimidated me. The first one I ever bought not recommended by a teacher -required for a course was Bet Borgenson's Colored Pencil for the Serious Beginner and The Colored Pencil, Revised Edition. It was not Revised when I owned it.
Then I tried to find more wonderful books. I now have them both again in my selection of books.
For Drawing I could not help myself. I finally purchased a "Dummy Book" - "Drawing for Dummies": by Brenda Hoddinott , I also have my original book by Lee Hammond "Drawing Protraits from Photograhs.
Guess I need some new ones.

Sherrie Roberts

Marsha Robinett said...

THANK YOU EVERYONE...what a wonderful list of books you have contributed to this post.

It has certainly stimulated desire to 'purchase' as I'm sure it has others. One never has enough books on ART.

Thanks again for taking the time to share.

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