Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Creative Illustration

Creative Illustration is the best of the Loomis books, although they are all excellent. I began discussing the Figure Drawing book last night because it related to the question that had been asked. If I could have only one of his books this is the one I would choose.

Other books have similar information on figure drawing to the Loomis book on the subject. But this book "Creative Illustration is unique. The information in this book is pretty singular. Written in a time when there were illustrations in a ll of the magazines, this book was aimed at young artists who needed the particular set of skills necessary to make it into that trade. Much of what they needed to know then, is the same as what artists need to know today .

Loomis lays out his principles in clear drawings and his explanations are easy to follow. Above is a difficult concept made readily understandable. I like that his books are "simple". There is a place for dense tomes that require careful study, but the basic ideas a young artist needs to know should be gained first from easily aproachable material. The illustration above for instance shows the same scene in a number if different keys, and it can be understood at a glance.

Above is a drawing explaining the steps of difference in different intensities of light. I referred a reader of this blog to this chart some time ago. Again I don't know where else I have seen this concept well explained.

Here Loomis explains ways to generate thumbnails for a painting. Some of the pictures in the book are dated, but most of the ideas are timeless. Creative Illustration is long out of print and the copies that are available bring a high price generally. Evidently they occasionally come up on
EBay, and sell for more a reasonable sum. You can read them online though, here.
You could save them to a disk and take them to a printer if you don't like reading on a screen.


Walter L. Mosley said...

Invaluable resource, and the illustrations are wonderful.

Gregory Becker said...

I personally believe that this is the best art book ever written.
The value scale page is the biggest of all eye openers for me. I think I was the one you refered to this a while back. It absolutely confirmed what I couldn't articulate at the time.
Thank you for that.

willek said...

This one has a nice section on Howard Pyle, too.

willek said...

Jack Faragasso's book, The Students Guide to Oil Painting, which outlines Frank Reilly's teaching methods explains his system of value distribution using charts of local values as they relate to adjusted values in different lighting situations. While not an anser to all situations, they are well worth becoming familiar with. I can't find my own copy right now.

Frank P. Ordaz said...


We were just talking about this book in class yesterday. The entire book is online for free. I hear that it is going to be reissued.

One of my BIGGEST most FOOLISH exercizes in demonstrating love was giving my copy to a girlfriend in Art School. Is that stupid or what?
I still have my " Figure Drawing for All its Worth " and " Fun with the Pencil"

Stapleton Kearns said...


and they are mild.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I remember we discussed that chart a few months ago?

Stapleton Kearns said...

What the hell is lemon oil!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Doug Higgins has some of his notes online, I think they are from Rileys class.

Stapleton Kearns said...


Maybe you could have your wife call her?

willek said...

It is the oil that comes from expressed lemon peels. It is added to many furniture polishes. Probably, in small doses, aids digestion and may help foetid breath.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Oh, I thought perhaps we could paint with it or add it to mineral spirits so it would smell like Grumtine.

Deb said...

I tried downloading the book but it came out in a format (rar?) that I can't open. And took FOREVER to finally download!

Stapleton Kearns said...

I got it very quickly and with no problem. Try saving to your hard drive, there is an icon for that up at the top.