Artgraphica's Drawing and Sketching Guide Review

Originally written for Ann Kullberg's Popular Artist Magazine

Review by Jay Donovan, High Point, NC

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The "Drawing and Sketching Guide" is this year's breakthrough resource in art instruction. Packed with tricks, tips, movies, animations and techniques for different medium, the artist thoughtfully and gently eases you into the world of drawing and sketching as one would gently lay a baby into a cradle. Whether you are a beginner, an intermediate artist or a consummate professional, there is something here for you. This is a MUST HAVE resource for any serious student of art be they hobbyist or professional.

My VERY first drawing guide was Pencil Drawing by Gene Franks. I bring this up because, as you flipped through the pages, Gene Franks really does a good job of laying out the information. However, on page 7, ALL of the photographs of the common hand positions are missing. It was a printer’s mistake but it is remains to me a visual reminder NEVER to get hung up on “by the book” habits. There are many different ways to interpret a subject be it a cat, dog or George Washington’s jaw. The Artist's Drawing and sketching guide does NOT miss a trick. It is well organized, well written (although there is a tendency to lean toward verbosity in some passages), and well presented in an accessible easy to navigate format. Recognizing the need to relax and enjoy the drawing experience, the artist, an accomplished musician and composer has overlaid the cd with Myst-like soothing music—a thoughtful touch.

Why should this CD appeal to a colored pencil artist like myself? Well, when surfing for art on the Internet, I came across the web site of noted artist Karen Cardinal. I was fascinated by her skill with CP. Until that moment, I thought colored pencils were nothing more then glorified crayons. Searching more and more, I eventually ran into WetCanvas, Ann, Scribble, and the Colored Pencil Challenge. I was hooked and bought book after book on colored pencil…well you know the story…you have all been there. I made an amazing discovery: that I was not as adept a draftsman that I thought I was and that colored pencil was really detail intensive. I did not give up and quickly decided that I need to sharpen my skills. I ran into the artist at Wetcanvas and quickly became a fan of his work and when I heard he was developing a CD I contacted him and asked to purchase it when it was finish…and so here we are.

This CD is expressly written for the beginner, expressly written for the intermediate level and expressly written for the advanced artist. It is a sharpening stone for you to occasionally hone your artistic knife—a chance to step outside your own self imposed boundaries and experiment. As a woodcarver, I know that if you do not keep the knife or gouge sharp you INCREASE the risk of cutting yourself. A dull knife is dangerous. Lessons include the following:

I went through every element of this CD and tried everything and found that there was NOTHING that I did not like. There are some real treats on this CD—mainly the animations and the movies. The artist does not just tell you and then throw a picture at you to figure out, he paints his points with Animations and movie demonstrations—and these are not just short little clips—these are full length demonstrations. You can actually sit there with the teacher and observe the application of technique. It is truly the next best thing to being in a classroom.

Lastly, the best treat of all is the photo reference section. The artist generously presents you with a gallery of copyright free images on which you may practice your skill.

Companioned with the artist's web site,, you can look forward to a full learning experience from this impressive young artist.

In Janie Gildow’s book, Colored Pencil Explorations, she writes “use the colored pencil as you’ve never used it before—to express yourself, to make music, to set yourself free and to soar.” The artist's Drawing and Sketching Guide will surely aid you in making that flight.

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