How to use art books to their potential? ( Hogarth, etc. )
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Thread: How to use art books to their potential? ( Hogarth, etc. )

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    How to use art books to their potential? ( Hogarth, etc. )

    I've been going through the Hogarth and Bridgman books, but I'm not sure how I should be using these for study.

    Should I actually read the text? I don't want to waste time on what's not necessary.

    So far, I've just been copying the images straight from the book. Is this fine? Should I be trying to duplicate the basic shape forms before just copying the complex form? Or should I simplify even further and start with lines and mapping?

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    Ummm, yeah its a book so reading is definitely recommended. What exactly do you think can be gained from mindlessly copying the images? You need to know what those images are there to illustrate. Do you just copy the little arrows that Hogarth uses to show the rhythm of the figure? Did you know why they were there? READ THE TEXT - IT’S IMPORTANT.

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    You are approaching it strangely like you are doing something for the sake of doing it. What is it exactly you want to gain from studying from the book? Is it wanting to construct humans from simple forms (for examples sake)?

    If so, you start with:
    - I want to learn how to construct humans
    - Bridgman shows a way of using cubes and interlocking forms to construct humans
    - He explains about interlocking cubes for the major masses
    - The text says why and what to think about
    - Look, he has drawn these cubes to represent things so I will do that, I could copy his or just do my own and see if I can do what he is doing. I will keep trying to describe the major masses using cubes like he is and then see what he does next and try to do that.

    You want to learn HOW to do what he is doing.

    Its NOT:
    - Bridgman is a good artist
    - This drawing looks good I will replicate the lines
    - Maybe I should read it too. I'l ask.

    Thats why the question seems silly.

    Start with a problem to solve and use the book as a tool to solve it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chas View Post
    Ummm, yeah its a book so reading is definitely recommended. What exactly do you think can be gained from mindlessly copying the images? You need to know what those images are there to illustrate. Do you just copy the little arrows that Hogarth uses to show the rhythm of the figure? Did you know why they were there? READ THE TEXT - IT’S IMPORTANT.
    Wow; let me explain. I was thinking that Hogarth books were good to copy because there are many angles, and odd ones at that, and there's very clear detail of hand anatomy. By drawing hands from photographs or my own hands, I might not be able to get quite the same results. This is why I thought Hogarth was used for study. When I took Drawing I, my professor told us that we need to do what works for us and that every process is different. I asked said professor if I needed to do simplified shapes first, and she told me to only do it if I need to. Going by this, I feel like my drawing is better if I do it straight forward than if I try to lay it over some shapes. Also, I already feel like I've learned a lot by doing it how I'm doing. Hogarth really emphasizes a lot of curves and how they're aligned which is harder to notice through real life study.

    I'm not arguing that I shouldn't read, but I wanted to state my thought process for what it's worth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pancakebear View Post
    Wow; let me explain. I was thinking that Hogarth books were good to copy because there are many angles, and odd ones at that, and there's very clear detail of hand anatomy. By drawing hands from photographs or my own hands, I might not be able to get quite the same results. This is why I thought Hogarth was used for study. When I took Drawing I, my professor told us that we need to do what works for us and that every process is different. I asked said professor if I needed to do simplified shapes first, and she told me to only do it if I need to. Going by this, I feel like my drawing is better if I do it straight forward than if I try to lay it over some shapes. Also, I already feel like I've learned a lot by doing it how I'm doing. Hogarth really emphasizes a lot of curves and how they're aligned which is harder to notice through real life study.

    I'm not arguing that I shouldn't read, but I wanted to state my thought process for what it's worth.
    If you just wanted to state your thought process, why ask a question?
    Where you looking for a pat on the back? a cookie?

    Sorry if that's rude, but you ask in your first post if you should read the text. If you are going to continue doing what you are doing anyway, you waste everyone's time by asking.
    Look; yes you should read the text. It helps you put one and one together. If you are learning through recreating pictures, imagine how much more you can learn by understanding the pictures, and the processes you can take to make the pictures.
    If you learn best by redrawing the image, go right ahead. Do what ever helps. Most people find that reading the words help too.

    If you are asking if anyone else learns best through pictures, and picture recreation, rather than just reading- I know I do. But I know that reading helps me understand better what I'm doing.

    As whirly seems to say you really are approaching not only the process strangely, but also your question asking. what is it you want to know?

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    Quote Originally Posted by themegagod View Post
    If you just wanted to state your thought process, why ask a question?
    Where you looking for a pat on the back? a cookie?

    Sorry if that's rude, but you ask in your first post if you should read the text. If you are going to continue doing what you are doing anyway, you waste everyone's time by asking.
    Look; yes you should read the text. It helps you put one and one together. If you are learning through recreating pictures, imagine how much more you can learn by understanding the pictures, and the processes you can take to make the pictures.
    If you learn best by redrawing the image, go right ahead. Do what ever helps. Most people find that reading the words help too.

    If you are asking if anyone else learns best through pictures, and picture recreation, rather than just reading- I know I do. But I know that reading helps me understand better what I'm doing.

    As whirly seems to say you really are approaching not only the process strangely, but also your question asking. what is it you want to know?

    I'm not sure what you're getting at. I didn't say I would continue what I was doing. In my last statement I clearly wrote, "I'm not arguing that I shouldn't read." I AM going to start doing the reading. The reason I stated my though process is because the first poster ASKED me the question, "What exactly do you think can be gained from mindlessly copying the images?"

    I then responded with what I THOUGHT I could gain. Yes, you're being rude. I don't see where my logic is flawed at any point during this. I was asked for my thoughts, and I gave them. I asked a question and I accepted the answer. Am I so wrong?

    The reason I asked this question in the first place is that, even though I feel like directly copying is helping me, I don't want to form BAD HABITS. If directly copying is a bad habit, I want it pointed out to me. If the text is just extra help that most people ignore, I want that pointed out to me too.

    I really don't think my thread is so out of this world.

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    Man, what a waste of reading.

    Instruction art books normally explain goals and method in the introduction.
    It would be counterproductive to explain all tips and important bits with drawings only.

    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."
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    Depends on the book, but in Loomis or Vilppu for instance, the text has some extremely valuable insights into anatomy. If you're starting out, read everything, later on you will have the ability to pick just what you need (you can copy images of hands because you know what you want to learn, but first you have to know about it).

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    Quote Originally Posted by pancakebear View Post
    I really don't think my thread is so out of this world.
    Perhaps not, but it's only the latest in a long line of "how do I use a book?" posts (including this almost identical one from today). You may be suffering some collateral damage from people's exhaustion.


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    It's hard do give one definite universal answer for all art books beacause each of them has it's own instructions. In that case you have to follow them carefully from page one till the end and read every description. If you copy then try to draw the same thing from slightly differen angle to test if you actually paid attention to the structure, not just flat shapes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pancakebear View Post

    The reason I asked this question in the first place is that, even though I feel like directly copying is helping me, I don't want to form BAD HABITS. If directly copying is a bad habit, I want it pointed out to me. If the text is just extra help that most people ignore, I want that pointed out to me too.

    I really don't think my thread is so out of this world.
    Anything out of line- let me apologize for. I do have a tendency to speak a bit, bluntly.
    As you may have gathered by now, the text is often very important.
    sometimes the pictures are only there to help you understand what you read.

    Unless it's a how to draw- follow my instructions to draw this, style of book, the words are very important.

    I'd say directly copying is a bad habit, and the text could be vitally important to many ideas.

    Your thread may not be out of this world, but it does seem a bit odd to ask if you should read a book or not.
    I may be simplifying what you are actually saying, but that's what it reads like to me.

    again, anything I say that is outlandish, or rude. I apologize.
    I feel I misread your ideas, and responded "wrong".

    still be sure to read the text.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Perhaps not, but it's only the latest in a long line of "how do I use a book?" posts (including this almost identical one from today). You may be suffering some collateral damage from people's exhaustion.
    It is funny to me because books were a luxury item. Then it became poor man's Internet for those that could not afford a computer to research. Now people have to go online to research how to use books apparently.

    Makes one wonder what people did before the Internet caught on when books were available...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pancakebear View Post
    Should I actually read the text? I don't want to waste time on what's not necessary.
    It is a BOOK. I think you can assume the text is necessary.

    If you actually READ THE TEXT, it might answer your questions as to what all those pictures are about and how you should understand them. The pictures are there to illustrate the concepts described in the text. Without the text, you're missing the point.

    And seriously WHY WHY WHY does nobody seem to know how to read a book in this day and age!? It's not that hard. You open the cover. You read from the beginning. When you get to the end, you stop. You can even go back and read it again. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A BOOK IS IN THE BOOK, all you have to do to find out what a book is for is READ. IT.

    ...........sorry, two of these "how do I use a book" threads in a row make me testy. I'll go lie down and take deep breaths now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    It is a BOOK. I think you can assume the text is necessary.

    If you actually READ THE TEXT, it might answer your questions as to what all those pictures are about and how you should understand them. The pictures are there to illustrate the concepts described in the text. Without the text, you're missing the point.

    And seriously WHY WHY WHY does nobody seem to know how to read a book in this day and age!? It's not that hard. You open the cover. You read from the beginning. When you get to the end, you stop. You can even go back and read it again. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A BOOK IS IN THE BOOK, all you have to do to find out what a book is for is READ. IT.

    ...........sorry, two of these "how do I use a book" threads in a row make me testy. I'll go lie down and take deep breaths now.
    I'm going to have to disagree here. I think there are more efficient ways to study and use books. It's an economical principal. I want to get the most return for the least amount of time because my time is finite.

    Here's a for instance - I'm a biology major, and I found that a great trick for me is to only look at the images and their subtext in my bio textbooks. If I read each page word for word, I'd fall behind. We move too quickly for that. I need to study effectively and efficiently. I think a lot of books are like this. There's extra fluff and then there's the core solidity that you really must absorb. The Loomis books seem very text based, so I definitely read the text on these. To me, the Hogarth books seem image based with text as an afterthought. This is why I thought to ask the question.

    On another note - sorry about the repeated threat. I did a search, but I got a lot of people's sketchbooks talking about their studies with books. I'll be more careful in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chas View Post
    Ummm, yeah its a book so reading is definitely recommended. What exactly do you think can be gained from mindlessly copying the images? You need to know what those images are there to illustrate. Do you just copy the little arrows that Hogarth uses to show the rhythm of the figure? Did you know why they were there? READ THE TEXT - IT’S IMPORTANT.
    Actually, the Hogarth books are all pretty badly written.

    Writers like Loomis and Walt Reed do a good job of explaining concepts that Hogarth utterly fails to communicate.

    Hogarth presents a lot of ideas that are better understood through the work of better writers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pancakebear View Post
    I think there are more efficient ways to study and use books.
    Posting threads on internet forums asking "what do I do with this book" is definitely not one of them...

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    Figure Drawing: Design and Invention hardly has any text i think that's a book meant more to copy from the drawings in the book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Posting threads on internet forums asking "what do I do with this book" is definitely not one of them...
    Very true!

    But, here's a great book for the autodidact of any subject: http://www.amazon.com/How-Read-Book-.../dp/0671212095

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    Quote Originally Posted by creeptool View Post
    Figure Drawing: Design and Invention hardly has any text i think that's a book meant more to copy from the drawings in the book.
    Mmm, actually no. But then maybe you didn't read the book?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamber Parrk View Post
    But, here's a great book for the autodidact of any subject: http://www.amazon.com/How-Read-Book-.../dp/0671212095
    That's rather horrifying...

    Skimming the table of contents in that thing makes me eternally grateful that nobody tried to tell me How To Read A Book Correctly when I was a kid. I just read them. And if any book was stupid or boring, I read something else. End of story.

    Not all books are going to be useful to all people. Really, if someone isn't getting anything useful from the Hogarth book just by reading through it and looking at the illustrations... maybe try some other books?

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    I do think certain books are more helpful once you have some additional knowledge. I had Stephen Rogers Peck for years (since I was....11?) And never understood the significance of the text. It actually ended up being a required textbook for one of my drawing classes - and we actually covered insertion/attachment points. It was like 90% of the book I hadn't understood before hand suddenly not only made sense, but was actually useful.

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    Queen G, I could see Adler having that affect on people!

    But, it has its uses. . .

    "Reading" is a skill that doesn't seem to be taught so much nowadays. . .

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    I love this person for the review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1S26WV...wasThisHelpful

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    Mmm, actually no. But then maybe you didn't read the book?
    have you read the book? not one page is completely dedicated to text..every page has a drawing with some text on the side of the page..compared to books by Loomis.. and Bridgman..Hamptons book is weak when it comes to text if you ask me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by creeptool View Post
    have you read the book? not one page is completely dedicated to text..every page has a drawing with some text on the side of the page..compared to books by Loomis.. and Bridgman..Hamptons book is weak when it comes to text if you ask me.
    Yes I have read the book. He does not tell you to copy the drawings like you said. He is telling you to look for landmarks and how to use them when studying from life to help construct again from imagination.

    Seriously people need to fucking read. Just because there isn't as much text doesn't mean "hey copy my piccies hur hur hur"

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    Quote Originally Posted by creeptool View Post
    have you read the book? not one page is completely dedicated to text..every page has a drawing with some text on the side of the page..compared to books by Loomis.. and Bridgman..Hamptons book is weak when it comes to text if you ask me.
    Last I checked, the quality of text is based on what it says and how it says it, not on how much of it there is...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    I like how "AMart" writes a supportive comment about their illiteracy, and advising them on how to get help. The thing is, If this person were unable to read, how would they know to pick up this book?
    Better yet, how would they have been able to write their eloquent response.

    I'm not sure if AMart was just being a very advanced troll, playing along, or if perhaps the whole concept went right over their head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pancakebear View Post
    I don't want to waste time on what's not necessary.
    How do you know what's going to be necessary to get to where you want to go? What if you're passing up something amazingly informative because you can't be buggered to spend a few days reading a book or blog or forum?

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    Quote Originally Posted by creeptool View Post
    Figure Drawing: Design and Invention hardly has any text i think that's a book meant more to copy from the drawings in the book.
    I think maybe you should spend more time thinking about this. Its very a common train of thought. I mean its easy to just sit and copy the drawings and yes you can even get a lot out of it but its a little strange if you think about it a little longer.

    For example page 34 of Hampton's book is a favourite of mine. It shows using boxes to describe the ribcage and pelvis. Now you can sit and copy this page. I have, it WAS useful, I was able to getter a better grasp of the general proportions of them and how much you can twist them. It DID kind of happen automatically when I copied them. But what exactly is it that you want to achieve?

    You want to be able to describe the ribcage and pelvis from life and imagination using cubes YOURSELF.

    There is text on the previous page telling you what to think about for this. For example "When drawing the back always show the ribcage from above and pelvis from below."

    To really actually learn what it is you want to learn you need to grab some human reference and try and translate what you see into those box forms. Its a little more natural when doing it from life because you tend to see form more than from photo where you tend to see shape but both are viable as long as you are keeping that in mind.

    So do that!! Use his examples to show how you go about it. You might need to copy a couple or not copy any but the point is you are learning how to do it for yourself. So you get his examples and his EXPLANATION.

    Dont approach a learning book as something to do so much as approach a technique as something to do and use the book to figure out how.

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    Every book I've encountered on the subject of figure drawing deals with different ways of thinking about the structures, forms, and volumes of the figure and presents different ways of abstracting these in order to construct a 2D representation of the 3D form. Each book accomplishes this task to varying degrees of success. The point is: unless it is a straight anatomy book, there is some system, or method of how to think about the figure that is being presented. The images in the book cannot communicate this on their own. Without reading the text you will not understand what the author is showing you in the illustration. Tthe images I L L U S T R A T E what the text explains. By simply copying the illustrations you cannot and will not know what those images are showing you.

    How well do you think you could understand a documentary film if you turn the volume down and just watch the pretty pictures?
    That's about how much you will learn (of what the book is trying to teach) by disregarding the text.

    Last edited by Chas; November 29th, 2012 at 09:40 AM.
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