Top Ten Books for Realism Students

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Top Ten Books for Realism Students

From Virgil Elliott

Published before 2005


Ngaire Winwood wrote:
[...] I am hoping that all working successful pro's here wouldn't mind me asking "What are the Top Ten Books or more" a student realist who is seriously dedicated use for self education to carve the path to success with???? I am only interested in the classic 10 or so that are paramount to studying in this field or art.

I imagine Bargue would be close to No. 1 or is it? Maybe Harold Speed??? Andrew Loomis??? These books title would need to cover all including techniques, fundamentals, perspective, colour, etc., and be available.

Come on guys with all your experience you would have your favourites wouldn't you? Is there a common list of books most suitable to GOODART ARC style. Thank you to anyone who contributes.

Ngaire,

Here are a few that you'll find helpful:

The Practice and Science of Drawing, by Harold Speed; Perspective for Artists, by Rex Vicat Cole; The Painter in Oil, by Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst; Figure Drawing for All It's Worth, by Andrew Loomis; Creative Illustration, by Andrew Loomis; Color Structure and Design, by Richard G. Ellinger; Hawthorne on Painting (?not sure of the title or author, as it has been a long time since I read it, but there are some good points made in it, whether the book was written by Charles Hawthorne or one of his students. I can't remember).

I'm sure I would recommend the Bargue book if I had seen it, but since I haven't seen it, it would be irresponsible of me to recommend it.

In general, I would say to read when the situation does not allow you to be drawing, but otherwise, don't spend time reading that you could be spending drawing. Drawing is the key that will open the door to everything else you will need to learn. There is no way around it. I haven't seen your work, so that comment is no reflection on you or your current level of development, but rather it is one of the few Absolute Truths in art: one cannot learn the things one must learn in order to become a good artist until one has learned to draw well.

Drawing = seeing. The biggest mistake many people make in modern times is proceeding to painting before they have put enough work into learning to draw.

It isn't realistic to expect to be able to find everything you will need in books. There are a great many more books I could mention that have bits of good information in them along with varying degrees of bad information, which could just as easily prove harmful as helpful if the reader had no way of distinguishing the good from the bad.

There is an unbelievable amount of bad information in print. I've explained this to my students over the years, and their response was always, "Then you have to write The Book," which I have, but as yet it remains unpublished. I'll be meeting with a publisher next month, and we'll see how it goes. I'm not getting my hopes up.

Virgil Elliott