For Love of Drawing teaches the classic tradition of drawing as design. Look through the text to get the feel and the immediacy of the directives, which are spoken to individual students as they draw. Notice the repetition, with variation, of the instruction, which signals real training happening. This book puts you in contact with that training. Drawing as design aims at unity from the start, as opposed to the more commonly taught approach of rendering (rendering: copying bit by bit by bit; focus serially on one detail, then ather, then ather). If you have learned drawing as rendering, the change to drawing with unity, overall design, held as paramount from the first, will be initially difficult, then a relief, and then a delight; for you, this book might be considered an intermediate instruction book, asking though for a habit-breaking and sometimes demanding revolution in approach that affects your whole relationship with art in a favorable and profound way (and your rendering skill may still be used in conjunction with it). And yet, as the first sentence of the book says, I teach beginnings, for years w, but terribly important. Beginners are fortunate to begin here, with unity as first and final aim. The character of this design approach to drawing might best be conveyed by quotes from the book: You're trying to make them into arms and legs too soon. Don't draw the things, draw the patterns, draw the movements. You're following the words: Leg, arm, head, rather than your eye . . . Don't draw a head, draw a shape . . . You want the security of one thing in your drawing being exactly the same as the model, but I'm offering you a different kind of security: Your security, and the strength of your drawing, should come from the discovery and laying out of the broad overall pattern, and t from details being exact . . . You need a track to run on, an abstraction that encompasses the whole drawing, so that you can move freely from place to place in it without the fear of getting lost. It's going to cost you something to search out those broad design elements, but your reward will be a feeling of freedom in the drawing action. You just cant underestimate what that feeling of freedom will give to your drawing . . . The illustrations, mostly Rembrandt drawings with a few by Goya and Degas (and one humbling paleolithic work), parallel the text in their broad, immediate, sometimes almost diagrammatic search for the truth. They are revealing, un-glossed-over first grasps by great artists attempting to seize the emotional truth of the whole image from the start, and then stay faithful to it, as this book teaches.
The author, Tom Staley, after graduating from Harvard University, taught himself to draw. He completely changed the way he saw and drew, however, after encountering the Boston area teacher, Andrew T. McMillan - - who taught with authority. Staley drew and sculpted (clay) with McMillan for seven years, often drawing from the model in the morning and sculpting from the same model in the afternoon. McMillan had been trained by the sculptor George Demetrios and his wife the book illustrator Virginia Lee Burton. Mr. Staley has work in major museums and publications and lives in Bangor, Maine.