Book Review: Foundations of Drawing by Al Gury

As an artist I am always on the lookout for comprehensive guides to drawing and painting. I love learning from the experts and Al Gury, chairman of the painting department at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia is just the man to get this kind of advice from. His newest book is Foundations of Drawing: A practical guide to art history, tools, techniques and styles. 


The book is probably the most comprehensive guide I have come across so far. It is split into five sections. First section talks in depth about history of drawing. Part two reviews materials, I greatly appreciated the meticulousness here, some materials I was really curious about, but found hardly mentioned in my previous studies. Part three discusses essential drawing skills with a large discussion on composition, which was probably my most favorite part of the book – so clear and valuable it was to me. Part 4 discussed the esthetics and various styles. Part five focused on a few drawing demonstrations- still life, interior and human form, again with some interesting bits of art history.

Overall impression: Wonderful addition to my collection, tons of valuable information to go through and ponder. I think this book will be most interesting for someone who is serious about drawing and art history, there are no immediate instructions and how tos, I see it more as a very detailed drawing encyclopedia. Probably best suited for adult artists due to the amount of information. 5 stars.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review


BOOK REVIEW: Doodletopia Fairies by Christopher Hart

We adore fairies in this household. And we adore art. Kids love books that teach them how to draw and Doodletopia Fairies by Christopher Hart came into our house just in time. I have heard of Doodletopia books before, but haven’t had a chance to look into others before.


The book is full of cute fairy characters  and there are 8 sections on each little feature: Heads and Faces, Fairy Bodies, Magical Clothing and Accessories, Wings and Poses, Fairy Personality, Magical Powers, Musical Instruments and Fairy Dwellings. Each section contains very clear and easy to understand directions on how to draw this or that feature and then an exercise is offered to help develop your own characters.  Readers are eased into each new lesson with the skill they have acquired on previous pages. Initially I thought of this book as a kids’ book, but as an illustrator I found I can learn from it as well. We will make it a family activity book, I say.

Overall Impression: Enjoyed looking through this book quite a bit, children are very excited about learning more about drawing fairies and elves with this book. Instructions are straightforward and easy to follow, exercises are fun and helpful. 5 stars.

I received this book via Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Book Review: Pop Painting by Camilla d’Errico

I am a huge fan of Camilla d’Errico‘s work- her paintings have this fairy tale like quality to them, yet subjects’ emotions are wonderfully expressed. Her book “Pop Painting” is out and I was amazed to find how much of the creative spirit of the artist is captured there.



This book covers everything from materials and studio set up to details of creating a painting. The book is split into two parts. The first part discusses the nature of pop surrealism, inspiration behind d’Errico’s work, tools and working space, as well as technique. The details on each subject discussed are amazing- d’Errico touches on everything that an artist can possibly encounter- a desire to get better, artist blocks, various technique issues…I am truly amazed by how much care was poured into this book. Second part is so much fun- it includes step by step demonstrations on how to create various paintings– people, animals, how to work with color to create surrealistic effects.

Overall impression: Awesome book, super valuable for an experienced artist and a must have for a beginner even non-surrealism minded. Tons of valuable advice, gorgeous artwork throughout. 5 stars.


I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review

BOOK REVIEW: Just Add Watercolor by Helen Birch

I have a great passion for art (even if I’m only a beginner myself),  that’s why I was excited to receive Just Add Watercolor by Helen Birch. Watercolor as a medium is great, but somehow it always seemed intimidating to me. Hopefully, this book will help me learn how to make my watercolor paintings more magical.

Just add watercolor

The structure of the book: The book is not big in size, slightly larger than a postcard (approx. 7,5 inches by 5 inches/ 15×10 cm), it has a very simple layout- there is a painting on the right side and short analysis of the technique on the left. The analysis includes tips on how to create similar effect and information about medium used. The mediums explored include Traditional Watercolor, Guache, Digital, Mixed Media, Other water-based media, and  non-paper media. All of these sections are color coded, which is helpful for a quick search. There is also section on watercolor basics at the very end.

I enjoyed going through this book very much. If I have to have one complaint it would probably be the size of the book. While it’s convenient to carry around, some paintings have tiny details that I’d love to explore if they were a bit larger. This book is very pretty, so many inspiring projects! Information on how each painting was created straightforward and easy to understand. I went “Aaaah, that’s how” a few times already, and I’m still reading it. I have started using it already and I’m sure my art will get better and better with this book’s help.

My attempt to create wet-on-wet monochrome painting

My attempt to create wet-on-wet monochrome painting

Overall impression: This book is lovely to look at,and is absolutely helpful for a beginner like me, I imagine it will be useful for an experienced artist as well. Excellent gift for anyone who’s interested in art. Five Stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.