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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

HOW TO DRAW PEOPLE (article first published : 2005-09-8)

“It’s not impossible”, was my first reaction. No art classes needed? “This step-by-step guide for beginners will unleash that hidden creative talent you never knew you had”? The introduction plainly expresses that anyone can ‘learn’ to draw well, and the more you draw, the better you become.

Susie Hodge’s How To Draw People all starts with the tools and materials you use. These are explained in detail, allowing you to forecast what and how you draw. Pencils, graphite sticks, chalk and charcoal are explained with their general uses and what they are best used for. Then there are the papers and supports, easels, drawing boards and erasers that are diligently listed with similar purposes.

Once you are familiar with the tools used, you begin with the basic techniques; line, tone, structure, anatomy and proportion. Beautiful graphic examples are given, taking the magic out of a drawing, but allowing you to study its mechanics.

Hodge goes on to dissect 10 projects by selecting the ideal tools and explaining the techniques used. She begins with the end project as the target and then goes on to analyze the subject, breaking it down into simple lines or shapes. From there on, shading gives the subject depth and a sense of being.

Based in the UK, Susie Hodge has taught practical art and art history for many years. She has written a number of books on drawing and illustration and produces booklets for teachers and students for the Royal Academy, the Tate and the V&A Museum. In How To Draw People, she provides tips along the way that will help refine your drawing, assisting in getting it to resemble the end product. But, like they say, “practice makes perfect”.

I would suggest Susie Hodge’s How To Draw People ISBN 1 84537050 3 for any school student who has an interest in art, and for any other person wanting to learn how to draw. Published in softcover by New Holland Publishers, this book retails at R129.95.

How To Draw People was released in tandem with Ian Sidaway’s How To Draw Landscapes by the same publisher and retailing at the same price. - Ruby Bernard




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