“The best book on the subject I have ever seen.” – Norman Rockwell
Whenever I get hold of a new Andrew Loomis book I always stop what i’m doing and don’t return to the drawing board before i’ve given it a good read through. This is essentially for fear of missing some perfect nugget of information that might help to take my work to the next level. It’s safe to say that Titan’s previous releases; Figure Drawing For All It’s Worth, Drawing the Head and Hands and Successful Drawing have already delivered on this promise, and i’ve only now to get back to work and put Creative Illustration to the test.
Of all the books so far this is a clear favourite and serves as the best overview of the craft (although certainly aimed at a career professional level) and makes for one of the best arguments for illustration over photography I have ever read. It’s also the longest in the series, coming in at 300 pages, broken down into seven chapters; Line, Tone, Colour, Telling the Story, Creating Ideas, Fields of Illustration and Experiment and Study. Each section is covered in detail from theory to execution, in a clear manner, but also assumes the reader has some basic knowledge of figure, perspective, composition and tools.
One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the attention it gives to the proper use of reference photography. The how’s, why’s and when’s are all explained, plus the potential pitfalls to be aware of such as making sure you capture all the information you need and correcting camera distortion; something of a tale-tell sign of slavishly traced photography. Even though this was written in the 1940’s and some of the points may seem dated, the problems of the camera lens still factor today and this is a subject rarely covered in such detail in instructional art books.
This counts as the most text heavy of the Andrew Loomis books too, with the most information to digest so I wouldn’t recommend skimming through it. As with the previous books, I intend to return to them constantly and they’ll always be within arms reach of my drawing table. The moments in which he talks about his peers such as Norman Rockwell and Howard Pyle are a welcome addition, particularly for someone like me who absolutely loves this period of illustration. This is a book that was written during the peak of the profession with a huge amount to offer for those who are serious about their work and realise the value of learning from these past masters. Another essential release in this excellent series.