Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Urban Sketching Handbook Understanding Light: Portraying Light Effects in On-Location Drawing and Painting


The Urban Sketching Handbook Understanding Light is a volume in the Urban Sketching Handbook series, this volume on light treatments and techniques by Katie Woodward. Released 28th Dec 2021 by Quarto on their Walter Foster imprint, it's 112 pages and is available in flexibound paperback and ebook formats. 

This is a well written, accessible, and useful book for intermediate to advanced artists who are looking for guidance to improve their technique, especially with regard to painting light and reflection. The book begins with a very short introduction. Specific tools and very basic techniques are not covered, but can certainly be found easily elsewhere. The author instead concentrates on six key concepts in depth: value, color, skies & atmosphere, reflections, foliage, and night scenes. Each chapter contains multiple examples by several different artists to illustrate key points. There are checklists to prompt students to better observations and technique development.

The author's entire process is well documented with photo and drawn illustrations. The book also contains a useful tutorial and tips collection in highlighted text boxes as well as a resource list and artists' links for artists whose work is featured in the book. There is a short list of challenge/learning prompts also: sketch a body of water, sketch a shiny object, sketch backlit translucent bottles, and others which will provide students with many hours of enrichment practice.  

Five stars. Definitely a worthwhile addition to the artist's reference library.  This would also be a superlative selection for public and school library acquisition, classroom instruction, and group studio use.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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