The Natural Way to Draw (Nicolaides)

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  1. #1
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    The Natural Way to Draw (Nicolaides)

    I have this book but haven't attempted it yet, because of such dedication needed for it, from what ive heard. "Lots of spare time basically". I was wondering, has any one completed this book, if so, has it really helped you?

    I hear this is the way Justin Sweet learn't. Is this true? The book seems like it would be good, but id like to here others opinion before i head into it.

    heres a link
    http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASI...913843-0397161

    Thanks guys!

    JB



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  3. #2
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    I see the book every now and again, and he taught Norman Rockwell for a while at...dammit, my mind isn't working...the school bridgman used to teach at also. I am also wondering if it is a worthwhile read.

    On another note...a self taught journey? Why would you want to do that?

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  4. #3
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    i looked through the book and it was quite inspirational. HMm i think you could tailor it to yourself though, but im sure youre already aware of that. Id go for oh 2 hours on this, 2 hours on that etc. Though i had wish i got that book into my hands earlier in my drawing career. is justin sweet self taught?

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    Don't be so lazy, just start! All the thinking just keeps you from drawing. The book is good at one thing, which is making you draw, and whats more draw from life. So don't chicken out and you'll get out what you put in. Not more, not less. If you use the book you'll have an aim, and some useful things to concentrate on while drawing.
    Don't just read the book, that won't help you at all. It's meant to be used, not read.
    One piece of advise. Don't tailor your own schedules, the schedules are the way they are for a reason. Skipping or rearranging lessons will cost you more time than they save you.

    Use the search function, there are a ton of threads on this book already. The school he taught was the Art Students League in NY.
    If you put in the time you get out some nice drawing skills. No book is a substitute for a good teacher, see it as a bonus.

    Edit: despite the artsy illustrations the book will help you draw realistically. If you have questions while using the book on how exactly to do the exercises post them in a thread. I'll have a look at them. There are others on this forum who used the book and can help you out. I had a couple of problems with the open ended nature of the exercises sometimes. Make it clear that you are asking for advice by ppl who have experience with "The Natural Way To Draw" or the help you'll get won't help you much. I think both Mentler and briggsy@ashtons have experience with it.

    Last edited by John; June 7th, 2006 at 06:26 AM.
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    LEntz: Cool, never new that man, thx for the info. Why a self taught journey. Well for one i cant find any good art schools around me. The majority of them all teach expression abstract crap, and im not into that. And the game design schools well, they do have good 2d teaching, although the majority of the course would be based on 3d computer modelling. Sooo. I figured it would be best to teach myself, by regularily attending life drawing, taking some courses/workshops here and there, reading and learning all the info from books i can. And constantly drawing. Everything. I figure its better this way, if i had a good school around here, i would definetely attend though. I hear there is a school around me that is gonna get an instructor from art center, possibly next year if it even happends, and teach all the good stuff that im looking for. Soo that would kick ass. Lets hope so anyhow.

    LadyLioness, yes it does look like a good book. Justin Sweet self taught, umm i didn't think he was... i donno though. I heard he studied the way of the teachings in this book. I dont remember where i heard that though.

    John: Cool thanks alot man. I will keep that in mind. Well as for starting the book, im not being lazy, i will eventually do it. Maybe even soon. I was just wondering if anyone has used it before i start, because like i said and even in the book it says, it takes many hrs to do the exercises. And there might be a better book. So i wouldnt want to start and it not be very benificial. So i was just wonderin if people have used it before. But thanks, thats cool, mentler and briggy used it. Both great artists. Interesting to know.

    JB

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    There are a number of things you can do. You could start doing bargues, that helped some of the members on our forum. You could just draw a lot, that works for some. Taking classes is never a bad idea, but i don't think taking classes alone will make you a fantastic artist. And you can learn with Nicolaides book, and i don't think there is another one like it. None of these things will be a waste of time.
    As far as the enormous amount of time goes, if you break up the book into, say, two years, you end up with 12 (1/2) chapters a year, that means 15 hrs of drawing a month. That doesn't sound like an awful lot to me. You can do an hour of exercise each day and you're well off. Think of it as a supplement.
    I'm not sure if Mentler and briggsy used it, but i know they recommend it.

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    I wouldent bother with that book for one second - i remember having it recommended to me, and i knew by turning the pages that it was going to be a total waste of time. but thats just me.

    I would recommend speed,vilpuu, bridgeman coupled with some serious study of master drawings. Oh yeah and dont forget the Hale books. Hogarths quite good aswell - but his drawings feel a bit bendy. And of course Loomis too - but i assume that folk have that already

    If your doing a lot of drawing as you've already said, i dont see how you'll need the nicolaides book really. but of course its your decision man.


    hope that helps

    oh yea - do sculpting too.

    g

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    The folks at artrenewal.org hate it. But i don't see why it shouldn't be recommended. Just read it man! I think it's good.

    "Nihil est in intellectu quod non prius in sensu" | SB | Portfolio | FJGC (blog) | DA (Profile) | EJERCICIOS DE COLOR
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    Quote Originally Posted by GNL
    I would recommend speed,vilpuu, bridgeman coupled with some serious study of master drawings. Oh yeah and dont forget the Hale books. Hogarths quite good aswell - but his drawings feel a bit bendy. And of course Loomis too - but i assume that folk have that already

    It seems inconsistent to me to recommend Vilppu, Loomis and Speed but not Nicolaides. I don't know if Vilppu acknowledges the influence of Nicolaides, but there are strong connections, both to Nicolaides' basic idea of a progressive series of exercises, each focussed on a single aspect of drawing, and in many of the exercises themselves. To take one example, compare Vilppu's "indirect lighting" with Nicolaides "modelled drawing". As for Loomis, if you've read The Eye of the Painter you'll know that he recommended The Natural Way to Draw as "a wonderful book". The importance of training visual memory is something that both Nicolaides and Harold Speed are very strong on, actually to a greater extent than either Vilppu or Loomis. My advice is to devote plenty of effort to working through all of them - Bridgman, Nicolaides, Hale, Loomis, Hogarth, Vilppu, Mentler.... They're all brothers, and they have a way of each making up what the others lack.

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GriNGoLoCo
    The folks at artrenewal.org hate it. But i don't see why it shouldn't be recommended.
    Some would consider that a recommendation in and of itself.


    Tristan Elwell
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  13. #11
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    Last edited by briggsy@ashtons; June 14th, 2006 at 04:41 AM.
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    Hi JustinBecket heres some thoughts from an amateur on the book.

    I've started using the book by the letter...meaning I won't be reading ahead before I've done the exercises as they are stated. I just finished the first two schedules and would say that they are not in vain and have improved me in the aspect it's said to help you with. Since he focus each exercise on one aspect at a time (as far I gotten) the drawings will look ugly, but it's good practice.

    Doing the exercises takes a lot of effort... like the contour exercise is like stabbing yourself in the head repeatedly with a knife since it takes so much concentration and focus. I think the exercises has a great deal of contemplation of the aspect you're to focus on, which adds up to even more intensity when doing the actual excerise which of course adds to the feeling of stabbing yourself in the head with a knife.

    On the minus side of the book is that it's centered on drawing from a model. My approach has been to do the gestures from photos and the contour drawings from objects in my appartment (since in that exercise you are suppose to "feel" the object as you draw), etc. So the minus side is just a parenthesis all in all.

    So far I like the way he reason and will continue to follow his exercise schedules. If you had asked me maybe two years earlier I probably would'nt have liked it.

    Of course this book cover just some parts of drawing/art, so as Briggsy says work through different books to make up for what another book lacks.

    My sketchbook flawed to the max page 5
    Ps:Hope you understand my English.
    Remember my advices taste best with a grain of salt.
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  15. #13
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    Doing the exercises takes a lot of effort... like the contour exercise is like stabbing yourself in the head repeatedly with a knife since it takes so much concentration and focus. I think the exercises has a great deal of contemplation of the aspect you're to focus on, which adds up to even more intensity when doing the actual excerise which of course adds to the feeling of stabbing yourself in the head with a knife.
    Just quoted for emphasis, the book means solid work. (Btw the contour exercises well be easier for you later bc you know more about the figure, and you don't have to force yourself anymore). I often feel like it is looked at as some kind of esoteric "find yourself" drawing course. It is not. If there is one bad thing about it, it's the editing. The name of the book for instance is misleading. It's just a good, working method to learn how to draw well. Also, the illustrations are often badly chosen. Nicolaides didn't chose them personally - he was dead when his book came out. So flipping through the book gives you the wrong impression.
    You should see this book as one of Bridgman, Hale, Loomis, Vilppu, Speed caliber. You won't find this information anywhere else, and you won't get the information unless you do the exercises the way they are supposed to be done. Which means you can't just read the book and expect to try out this and that.
    I like to think of it as, while the other books teach you "how" to draw, this one teaches you "to draw". Many many ppl skip this part, and i personally know how hard it really is to sit down and work. You can only draw from life with a good teacher a lot, do bargue drawings, or do exercises like the ones in Nicolaides book to really draw well. There is no way around it. Do you see i try to make this as clear as possible?

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  16. #14
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    Smile Just a little question

    Hey people!

    I too started studying The natural way to draw by Kimon Nicolaides.

    Im confused with the gesture drawing exercise. Is it supposed to be drawn without looking at the paper, like you do the contour exercise?

    Or can you look at the paper when you are drawing?

    I really want to understand this because the gesture drawing seems to be very important part of the training program.

    Thank you.

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  17. #15
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    Hey Kuo,
    I'm still on schedule 1 and am not reading ahead, so I don't know if Kimon addresses this directly later in the book. From seeing other artists do gestures: you definitely look at your paper. Do what is "natural" i.e. look at what feels right when it feels right. Gestures are supposed to be a spontaneous reaction

    Hope that helps and good luck!
    -Alex

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