Recommended Books

KEYS TO DRAWING by BERT DODSON

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ART / RECOMMENDED / BOOKS /

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KEYS TO DRAWING, BY BERT DODSON

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“THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL!”

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TITLE | KEYS TO DRAWING
AUTHOR |
Bert Dodson
PRICE |
£14.99
SYNOPSIS | 
“In this book, Bert Dodson shares his complete drawing system of fifty-five ‘keys’ that you can use to render any subject with confidence, even if you’re a beginner. These keys, along with dozens of practice exercises, will help you draw like an artist in no time.

You’ll learn how to:
Restore, focus, map, and intensify
Free your hand action, then learn to control it
Convey the illusions of light, depth, and texture
Stimulate your imagination through “creative play””

lilSOPHIE SAYS | Your future self will love you for reading this book :)

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WHOSE THE BOOK AIMED AT?

Anyone. Seriously, if you’ve never drawn before or if you’ve been drawing for 100 years, this is the book for you :) Bert’s 55 keys and 48 mini lessons will improve your skills no matter your level. In 2013 I had no idea how to draw, this book got me started and made me believe I could draw anything. Because you can. This book makes you realise everything is just a shape, it’s all about how you see. Draw what you see, not what you know, and you can draw anything. I returned to the book in 2016 and learnt just as much the second time, as I did in 2013. This book is amazing.

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LIST OF CHAPTERS

  1. The Drawing Process
  2. The Artist’s Handwriting
  3. Proportions: Taking the Measure of Things
  4. The Illusion of Light
  5. The Illusion of Depth
  6. The Illusion of Texture
  7. Pattern and Design
  8. Drawing and Imagination

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“Your future self will love you for reading this book :)

-Sophie Lawson

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FAVOURITE CHAPTER

The truth is, this book is so tasty I could list any chapter as my favourite, but the final chapter, Drawing and Imagination, is so inspiring. It leaves you motivated and excited for the future. Almost as if the book is in fact just Bert getting your wings ready, so he can send you off in the final chapter, watching as you fly off into the sky, off on your adventure of self discovery.

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EXAMPLE PAGES

The following photos show pages from the book, to give you a feel for how the book is set out.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”on” gutter_width=”2″ custom_padding=”0px|||” padding_mobile=”on” custom_margin=”0px|||” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_2=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” parallax_3=”off” parallax_method_3=”off” parallax_4=”off” parallax_method_4=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Example pages 1 3 5 6 Image” src=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-page-2.jpg” alt=”Page 135 – One of Bert’s keys – Drawing Through, Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson” show_in_lightbox=”on” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” animation_style=”none” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_intensity_slide=”50%” show_bottom_space=”on”]

 

[/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Example pages 1 3 5 6 Image” src=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-page-3.jpg” alt=”Page 67 – Erasing as a Drawing Method, Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson” show_in_lightbox=”on” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” animation_style=”none” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_intensity_slide=”50%” show_bottom_space=”on”]

 

[/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Example pages 1 3 5 6 Image” src=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-page-4.jpg” alt=”Page 174 – Seeing and Drawing Trapped shapes, Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson” show_in_lightbox=”on” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” animation_style=”none” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_intensity_slide=”50%” show_bottom_space=”on”]

 

[/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Example pages 1 3 5 6 Image” src=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-page-1.jpg” alt=”Page 197 – Each chapter ends with a overview and a chance for you to Critique yourself, Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson” show_in_lightbox=”on” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” animation_style=”none” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_intensity_slide=”50%” show_bottom_space=”on”]

 

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FAVOURITE EXERCISE

It has to be the third exercise from chapter one – exercise 1-C, which has you drawing a pepper from your memory, and then a real pepper in front of you. So you’re first drawing from what you know, than from what you see. Showing that what you think you know, isn’t really what it looks like. It was really fun seeing how the mind works, plus, it gets the information in your head of how important it is to draw what is in front of you.

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EXAMPLE DRAWINGS

The following photos show some of my drawings from the various exercises in the book. They’re all from 2013, the first time I studied from the book. So many memories, it’s like looking through a photo album seeing these again, I can still remember drawing these like it was yesterday.

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[/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”drawing Image” src=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-drawing-exercise-3-by-sophie-lawson.jpg” alt=”One of the book’s Projects – A drawing of my old flat’s Kitchen, aww … memories! by Artist Sophie lawson” show_in_lightbox=”on” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” animation_style=”none” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_intensity_slide=”50%” show_bottom_space=”on”]

 

[/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”drawing Image” src=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-drawing-exercise-4-by-sophie-lawson.jpg” alt=”One of the book’s Projects – A still life drawing, by Artist Sophie lawson” show_in_lightbox=”on” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” animation_style=”none” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_intensity_slide=”50%” show_bottom_space=”on”]

 

[/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”drawing Image” src=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-drawing-exercise-2-by-sophie-lawson.jpg” alt=”One of the book’s Projects – Perspective in my old flat, by Artist Sophie lawson” show_in_lightbox=”on” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”off” sticky=”off” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” animation_style=”none” animation_duration=”1000ms” animation_intensity_slide=”50%” show_bottom_space=”on”]

 

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CONCLUSION

The book covers so many topics: seeing the world as shapes, proportions, perspective, light, depth … it’s almost like a bible for learning how to draw. Each chapter has about five or six little projects, so while you’re reading, you’re doing exercises to put into practice, what you’ve been learning. It works perfectly, and most importantly, it’s fun!

There was one point during this book that really sticks in my mind. I was doing one of the projects, drawing away, when I stepped back to see what my drawing looked like, and I felt so good I actually said out loud, “I can draw anything” … I had to stop what I was doing and take that in. If you knew me in real life, that is something I would never say, but this book honestly makes you feel like anything is possible. It’s empowering.

Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson covers so much, yet in such a effortless and effective way. I found it to be a joy to read, highly informative, inspiring and motivating. I honestly don’t think I could have found a more perfect book to start learning how to draw from. The fact I returned to the book three years later and learnt just as much the second time as I did the first, really reinforces how wonderful this book is. It makes you realise you can be as good as you want to be at drawing, all you need is a desire and practice.

A very empowering book.

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“IN ADDITION TO TRUSTING OUR EYES, THE QUALITY THAT MOST DEFINES ANY OF US AS ARTISTS, IS CURIOSITY.”

– Bert Dodson

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MY REREADING OF THIS BOOK

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In January 2016 I reread Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson over a four week period. Each week I covered two chapters of the book: taking notes, completing the drawing exercises and writing about my experience. You can find these detailed writings in this five part mini series, which starts with this introduction

Covering
An overview of what each week will be about

An inspirational drawing from the first exercise in the book, by ‘a little artist from Europe’ who emailed me prior to this rereading.

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”on” padding_mobile=”on” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_2=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” parallax_3=”off” parallax_method_3=”off” parallax_4=”off” parallax_method_4=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on” custom_padding=”0px|||” gutter_width=”2″ background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”week one Blurb” title=”WEEK ONE” url=”https://sophielawson.com/art/rereadings/rereading-keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-week-one/” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” font_icon=”%%54%%” icon_color=”#666666″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#666666″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#666666″ image=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-cover.jpg” icon_placement=”left” animation=”off” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center” use_icon_font_size=”off” header_text_color=”#ff9bb1″ body_text_color=”#666666″ background_color=”#ffffff” use_border_color=”on” border_color=”#ff9bb1″ border_style=”solid” custom_padding=”10px|10px|10px|10px” module_class=”et_portfolio_image pinkLinks” header_font=”|on|||” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial” image_max_width=”100%” border_color_all=”#ff9bb1″ border_width_all=”0px” border_style_all=”solid”]

Covering
chapter 1 (The Drawing Process)
chapter 2 (The Artist’s Handwriting)

Including
Bert’s four rules of shape:
1. Draw Large Shapes First
2. Look for Enrichment Shapes 
3. Tie Shapes Together
4. When you see a Trapped Shape, Draw it

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”week TWO Blurb” title=”WEEK TWO” url=”https://sophielawson.com/art/rereadings/rereading-keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-week-two/” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” font_icon=”%%54%%” icon_color=”#666666″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#666666″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#666666″ image=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-cover.jpg” icon_placement=”left” animation=”off” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center” use_icon_font_size=”off” header_text_color=”#ff9bb1″ body_text_color=”#666666″ background_color=”#ffffff” use_border_color=”on” border_color=”#ff9bb1″ border_style=”solid” custom_padding=”10px|10px|10px|10px” module_class=”et_portfolio_image” header_font=”|on|||” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial” image_max_width=”100%” border_color_all=”#ff9bb1″ border_width_all=”0px” border_style_all=”solid”]

Covering
chapter 3 (Proportions: Taking the Measure of Things)
chapter 4 (The Illusion of Light)

Including
Bert’s discussion on three Sighting Strategies:
1. Finding the Midpoint
2. Using Plump and Level
3. Taking Comparative Measurements

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”week THREE Blurb” title=”WEEK THREE” url=”https://sophielawson.com/art/rereadings/rereading-keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-week-three/” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” font_icon=”%%54%%” icon_color=”#666666″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#666666″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#666666″ image=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-cover.jpg” icon_placement=”left” animation=”off” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center” use_icon_font_size=”off” header_text_color=”#ff9bb1″ body_text_color=”#666666″ use_border_color=”on” border_color=”#ff9bb1″ border_style=”solid” custom_padding=”10px|10px|10px|10px” module_class=”et_portfolio_image” header_font=”|on|||” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial” image_max_width=”100%” border_color_all=”#ff9bb1″ border_width_all=”0px” border_style_all=”solid”]

Covering
chapter 5 (The Illusion of Depth)
chapter 6 (The Illusion of Texture)

Including
four depth principles:
1. Overlapping Shapes
2. Diminishing Sizes
3. Converging Parallel Lines
4. Softening Edges and Contrast

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_blurb admin_label=”week final Blurb” title=”THE FINAL WEEK” url=”https://sophielawson.com/art/rereadings/rereading-keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-the-final-week/” url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” font_icon=”%%54%%” icon_color=”#666666″ use_circle=”off” circle_color=”#666666″ use_circle_border=”off” circle_border_color=”#666666″ image=”https://sophielawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/keys-to-drawing-by-bert-dodson-cover.jpg” icon_placement=”left” animation=”off” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center” use_icon_font_size=”off” header_text_color=”#ff9bb1″ body_text_color=”#666666″ background_color=”#ffffff” use_border_color=”on” border_color=”#ff9bb1″ border_style=”solid” custom_padding=”10px|10px|10px|10px” module_class=”et_portfolio_image” header_font=”|on|||” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial” image_max_width=”100%” border_color_all=”#ff9bb1″ border_width_all=”0px” border_style_all=”solid”]

Covering
chapter 7 (Pattern and Design)
chapter 8 (Drawing and Imagination)

Including
Bert’s discussion on what makes a good Composition;
Balance and Paradoxes

[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ fullwidth=”off” specialty=”off” transparent_background=”off” background_color=”#ffffff” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” padding_mobile=”on” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” custom_padding=”0px|||” prev_background_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0)” next_background_color=”#000000″ custom_padding_tablet=”0px|||” global_module=”14114″][et_pb_row global_parent=”14114″ background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_post_nav global_parent=”14114″ in_same_term=”on” hide_prev=”off” hide_next=”on” prev_text=”PREVIOUS BOOK | %title” next_text=”Next Drawing (%title)” title_text_color=”#ff9bb1″ use_border_color=”on” border_color=”#ff9bb1″ border_style=”solid” custom_padding=”20px|20px|20px|20px” border_width=”3px” disabled_on=”off|off|off” disabled=”off” custom_css_prev_link=”border-radius: 5px;” module_class=”post-navigation-hover” custom_css_main_element=”opacity: 0.8;||filter: alpha(opacity=80);” show_prev=”on” show_next=”off” border_color_all=”#ff9bb1″ border_width_all=”3px” border_style_all=”solid” /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_post_nav global_parent=”14114″ in_same_term=”on” hide_prev=”on” hide_next=”off” prev_text=”NEXT DRAWING (%title)” next_text=”NEXT BOOK | %title” title_text_color=”#ff9bb1″ use_border_color=”on” border_color=”#ff9bb1″ border_style=”solid” custom_padding=”20px|20px|20px|20px” border_width=”3px” custom_css_next_link=”border-radius: 5px;” module_class=”post-navigation-hover” custom_css_main_element=”opacity: 0.8;||filter: alpha(opacity=80);” show_prev=”off” show_next=”on” border_color_all=”#ff9bb1″ border_width_all=”3px” border_style_all=”solid” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ fullwidth=”off” specialty=”off” transparent_background=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” custom_padding=”0px||0px|” padding_mobile=”on” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” custom_padding_tablet=”0px||0px|” prev_background_color=”#ffffff” next_background_color=”#ff9bb1″][et_pb_row make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”off” custom_padding_tablet=”0px|||” custom_padding_last_edited=”on|desktop” padding_mobile=”on” disabled=”off” disabled_on=”off|off|off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center” text_text_color=”#ffffff” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” disabled_on=”off|off|off” disabled=”off” text_font=”|on||on|” header_text_color=”#ffffff” text_font_size=”22″ background_color=”#ff9bb1″ custom_margin=”||0px|” custom_padding=”25px||25px|” header_font=”|||on|” header_font_size=”26px” saved_tabs=”all” global_module=”14078″ background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial” module_alignment=”center” border_color_all=”#ff9bb1″ border_style_all=”solid” border_width_all=”2px” border_radii=”on||||”]

COMMENTS

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MORE RECOMMENDED BOOKS

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If you would like to keep up to date with my art / life journey, one of the best ways is via my newsletter. The newsletter goes out on the 14th of each month, with the monthly postcard draw taking place on the 1st. I have been sending out little emails since February, so it is the best place to find me at the moment :)

You can find out more about my newsletter here

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If you would like to keep up to date with my art / life journey, one of the best ways is via my newsletter. The newsletter goes out on the 14th of each month, with the monthly postcard draw taking place on the 1st. I have been sending out little emails since February, so it is the best place to find me at the moment :)

You can find out more about my newsletter here

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“The wisest mind has something yet to learn.”

George Santayana

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