Drawing From Photos by Patrick J. Jones (book review)

July 22, 2022 | By | Reply More

Patrick Jones in his introduction to this book, ‘Drawing From Photos’, acknowledges that doing live model posing has become problematic since the covid crisis. Using material originally used in ‘ImagineFX’ magazine, he’s reworked it for this book showing how to use photographs as the starting point. He quite wisely points out that the camera lies, often with distortions in the perimeter of the lens. From his ten lessons here, he shows it isn’t just a matter of copying the photo but making sure it makes sense in the sketch and then moving it on into some element of fantasy to make it his own. A lot of this I’m familiar with because that’s often how I work so its great to see a master artist work.


Anything new I’ve learnt? Pastel paper has a finer tooth on the reverse side. Keeping a piece of paper between you and the drawing paper to keep your fingers from smudging is always handy. Mind you, using non-pencil pastels, you’re still going to get dirty hands, so keep a cloth handy.

His descriptions of how the natural human breast moves relative to the ribcage should help out those of you keeping up with the various appearances they can have. Equally, it should also enable you to make the next step and how easy it is to recognise the silicon (other materials are available) version for their lack of movement.

art (c). Patrick J,. Jones/Korero Press 2022

I do tend to agree with Jones about the problems of capturing motion in a picture and its not always something achievable with a model, be it live or photograph. All you can really do is suggest it by the action. I like a lot of his comments, especially like ones that lines on paper that the brain interprets as people. I think in many respects, art is a communication language that transcends audio language because it conveys something we can all identify.

(c). Patrick J,. Jones/Korero Press 2022

As to whether drawing the figure upside down so as to appear on the ceiling, I’m less sure about. A lot depends on what the eye perceives and what muscles are in play.

Jones not only reminds you that chiaroscuro is the contrast between dark and light but a new one on me, sfumato: the blurring of edges and form making them indistinct, a sort of fade-out if you will. A note in that it is not always necessary to complete a sketch if it means missing the focus of the illustration.

Something else unusual is Jones shows an illustration he did and realises he made a mistake foreshortening the arm and his efforts to save it rather than start again. If you ever had thoughts that artists were perfect all the time, this should help dispel that notion. Although its not stated here, I do know from personal experience that if I’m drawing and layout some lines and not happy, I’d rather stop and go onto a fresh page than confound my mistakes and waste time. If you do continue an illustration in such a state then it can still be a learning experience. There will always be some picture you’ve started where there are some good elements and attempt to rescue.

art (c). Patrick J,. Jones/Korero Press 2022

Even though I’m only picking out some of the various elements from this book here, there’s a lot of tips for the novice and experienced artist to grasp. He only strays into the colour sanguine once in his examples. I’ve used black only once in the past couple weeks and it can be less forgiving. Read, learn and draw.

GF Willmetts

July 2020

(pub: Korero Press, 2022. 160 page illustrated large softcover. Price: £22.99 (UK), $36.95 (US) $49.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-9127-4017-0)

check out website: www.koreropress.com

Category: Books, Illustration

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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