Drawing Masterclass: Clothed Figures by Lucy Swinburne (book review)

July 16, 2022 | By | 2 Replies More

Looking at the indicia for this book, ‘Drawing Masterclass: Clothed Figures’, its author Lucy Swinburne not only draws professionally but also teaches the subject. She’s also another artist that doesn’t rely on doing the typical layouts before putting on the details, relying on putting angle lines on paper and matching points to where the detail has to laid out. It would be interesting to see how this works with greater perspectives.

Don’t expect this book to be solely about how to draw clothes on a figure, Swinburne goes back to the basics of the tools of the trade, not only pencils but pastels and pens. She also uses ballpoint. The lesson quickly learnt is it’s the artist in control and you can use whatever you’re comfortable with, just being aware of which ones are harder to correct, although she points you in the direction for those tools as well.

From there, Swinburne runs you through her techniques and how to achieve them. It’s rather interesting seeing her relying on a thin line drawing than less layout. I do wonder how much she relied on a lightbox and got her initial lines from the photographs. She doesn’t rely on it and where she sees problems is not afraid to correct, a lesson you artist who favour a similar technique need to take on-board. Likewise, when she adds the details and shades, as with the four people on a bench in the last sequence, she completes each one before moving on. I tend to rely more traditional way is to build them all up as a collective to ensure the tonal levels are similar.

I’m not discrediting Swinburne’s technique. It’s good for any artist to see different techniques and some people will see it as a means to get started or refine something they already do. I do think there needs to be better awareness in later artists’ books that there are other techniques than their own. Saying that, Swinburne’s approach to detail and using a ballpoint for some illustrations also means that she isn’t afraid to try different tools. I think we all use ballpoint for doddles but I do wonder if ballpoint manufactures can come up with a sepia or sanguine ink that can give a tone similar to pastel.

GF Willmetts

July 2020

(pub: Search Press, 2016. 96 page softcover. Price: I pulled my copy for abut £ 4.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78221-079-5)

check out website: www.searchpress.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.

Comments (2)

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  1. Rod Fielding says:

    The Clothed Figures book is nowhere to be found at the site you mention (searchpress.com)

    Amazon do have it, but I would have preferred to get it from Serarchpress

    • UncleGeoff says:

      Hello Rod
      It’s also 6 years old as I noted in the indicia. I only gave a link to the publisher not if it was available that way. Sometimes, I’m just grateful the publisher is still out there. If we do a review and it garnishes interest there’s always the possibility of a reprint onee day. You’d be amazed how many books never get a review.

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