Art: I need a reference book on how to use materials.

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  1. #1
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    I need a reference book on how to use materials.

    Hi everyone this is my 1st post on this forum.

    I'm a 1st year SCAD student and an illustration major.

    I have been having some trouble with my assignments. I'm asked to do projects and use certain materials for the project. For example, I had an assignment which was an optical blending self portrait in chalk pastel.
    I never worked with chalk pastel and the assignment turned out very muddy looking and impossible to correct even with fixative. Basically the problem is not being familar with new materials and there proper usages and how my assignments should look after finishing and executing my work. I'm sure that a homework assignments from an art college should have some standard examples for me to base the results and the execution of my work. And some standard instructions on achieving these assignments. My professors are not always interested in helping to the degree that they should most students feel rather left out while the professors become the groupies of students that are doing very well, as do most art teachers do.

    This is my question is there one book that has information about how to use materials and what to expect from things,inks, graphite, charcoal, pastels etc. And I would like to know if such a book has examples of how work should look when it is finished and has examples of things like optical blending and other potential assignments. I need something with a broad amount of knowledge that can be my reference book for all of my assignments in the future.

    Last edited by TrevorDemented; September 2nd, 2005 at 11:29 PM.
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  3. #2
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    wow, dude, sorry you're having this problem. don't know of any offhand, but if i come across any ill be sure to let you know. in the meantime, you could maybe take 10-30 minutes each day trying out a new medium as a warmup, and then jotting down some notes on it and create your own reference book. warmup time is good time to experiment, cause youre just trying to get into the mindset of drawing and getting your arm loose and stuff. hope this helps and again, g'luck finding what you need.

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  4. #3
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    That is pretty goddamn sad that these professors are swooning over the people that need the least help.

    I've never heard of chalk pastel - or do you mean chalk AND pastel?

    If so, I don't think you will need a book on how to apply it, this comes with using it daily and regularly, understand how it applies to a piece of paper, how to apply different strokes.

    Personally, I use new materials all the time and I can pick them up fairly fast, it s a matter of experience, the more you understand the meidums individual properties the easier it is to use it to create what you need.

    Now, from my understanding, optical blending is blending method of creating tonal grades via color placement in certain amounts next to each other in a way that confuses the eye and causes the brain to see it more as a blend rather than individual color dots - like in the color reproduction in a printer book.

    I think the reason is to practice the understanding of color theory - I'd be more inclined to look up art styles rather than application methods.

    Try looking up impressionist or pointism work to understand the principles of optical blending.

    One thing about college - no one is there to hold your hand, you either sink or swim - it wll make you stronger, learn how to learn on your own accord is a skill that you never learned in school, college will teach you this.

    Good luck.

    EDIT: I have one book on my shelf that does go into some detail about different mediums - its called the Collin Artist's Manual. Go into a book store and have a look around the art book section, you should be able to pick up something similar.

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrevorDemented
    Hi everyone this is my 1st post on this forum.

    I'm a 1st year SCAD student and an illustration major.

    I have been having some trouble with my assignments. I'm asked to do projects and use certain materials for the project. For example, I had an assignment which was an optical blending self portrait in chalk pastel.
    I never worked with chalk pastel and the assignment turned out very muddy looking and impossible to correct even with fixative. Basically the problem is not being familar with new materials and there proper usages and how my assignments should look after finishing and executing my work. I'm sure that a homework assignments from an art college should have some standard examples for me to base the results and the execution of my work. And some standard instructions on achieving these assignments. My professors are not always interested in helping to the degree that they should most students feel rather left out while the professors become the groupies of students that are doing very well, as do most art teachers do.
    That's a pretty harsh assesment based on what, two weeks of classes, tops? On the one hand I'm dissapointed if your teachers really are being that lax in terms of explaining technique, etc. On the other, you can't expect to sit back and be spoon fed your education. If you don't understand something, ASK!
    This is my question is there one book that has information about how to use materials and what to expect from things,inks, graphite, charcoal, pastels etc. And I would like to know if such a book has examples of how work should look when it is finished and has examples of things like optical blending and other potential assignments. I need something with a broad amount of knowledge that can be my reference book for all of my assignments in the future.
    Short answer: no, there no such thing as the Giant Book of Everything You Need to Know About Art and Illustration. However, I assume SCAD has a library, which should be filled with something far more useful: all sorts of books about all sorts of subjects and techniques, both general and specific. For a start, you can see if they have the Pro-illustration series, three books (Advertising, Editorial, and Children's Book) put out by the Society of Illustrators in the late '90s. You could also check out Rob Howard's the Illustrator's Bible, which comes closest to what you're looking for, although it's technically outdated (pre-digital) and aimed at a more advanced audience. But really, if you want to learn about pastel technique, say, the best thing to do is check out as many different books on pastel technique as you can.

    One last thing: you're at the beginning of your first year of school. You're supposedto be confused, and your work is supposed to be crappy. That's why you're there.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell
    That's a pretty harsh assesment based on what, two weeks of classes, tops? On the one hand I'm dissapointed if your teachers really are being that lax in terms of explaining technique, etc. On the other, you can't expect to sit back and be spoon fed your education. If you don't understand something, ASK!

    Short answer: no, there no such thing as the Giant Book of Everything You Need to Know About Art and Illustration. However, I assume SCAD has a library, which should be filled with something far more useful: all sorts of books about all sorts of subjects and techniques, both general and specific. For a start, you can see if they have the Pro-illustration series, three books (Advertising, Editorial, and Children's Book) put out by the Society of Illustrators in the late '90s. You could also check out Rob Howard's the Illustrator's Bible, which comes closest to what you're looking for, although it's technically outdated (pre-digital) and aimed at a more advanced audience. But really, if you want to learn about pastel technique, say, the best thing to do is check out as many different books on pastel technique as you can.

    One last thing: you're at the beginning of your first year of school. You're supposedto be confused, and your work is supposed to be crappy. That's why you're there.
    I find myself agreeing with you far too often Tristan...

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    If you look only in one volume, you'll find too little about too much. There'd be more info in specific books, but that means collecting several. That said, the basic principals of individual mediums is generally a rather short list. I mean, how much can one say about how to use a pencil?

    Magazines could be a good resource. I was cleaning out the closet recently, and came across "Drawing Highlights" published by American Artist. It's a pretty decent series of articles about different drawing mediums and techniques with some good illustrations. I bought it off the shelf several years ago, but you can still get it from their website.
    http://www.myamericanartist.com/amer...highlights.jsp

    -David

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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell
    If you don't understand something, ASK!
    That I have done and the hold class has done that with one professor in particular but this professor was not interested in anything except banter with
    certain students. During that assignment the professor tried to teach us how to draw a face but the demonstration was very complicated and I could see that most of the students didn't understand her. Since I had experiences with drawing faces I demonstrated how to draw faces simpler to my classmates which they understood it more from me but she was offended. And she is an admitted failure at drawing faces since she says that all of her faces look alike.
    Most of the classmates in that class felt the same way in two different classes.

    I understand that its put up or shut up but with such expensive tuition I decide to force certain issues with all my professors but this one professor really doesn't like answering questions at all. There have been times when I just cut corners to get high A's and B's from her.

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