Art Book Review – The Enjoyment of Drawing

October 12th, 2021 / Uncategorized

In this review, we will focus on the recently published publication by Barbara Elfik Michalska. In my opinion, this study positively stirred up books on drawing.

This title is for sure the most interesting book I have ever read about drawing, and it is also the only one that I have read cover to cover, in just one day. As Basia mentions in her video about this publication, her goal was to make the book engaging and pleasing to the eye. These two assumptions have certainly been realized. The composition is beautiful, the photos used are extremely atmospheric, and the content is very interesting.

I am glad that thanks to Basia, a book about the pleasure of drawing has been published on the Polish market. When browsing social media, I have the impression that even very young people are afraid to start creating anything, because they are afraid of judgment. Recently, a negative approach to creating as a hobby, amateur, therapeutic or in one’s own original style is often encountered. Even being a novice artist who is just beginning to understand what drawing is all about is sometimes criticized. That is why this publication is so important in my opinion. As Daria from the channel in Shadow of Art recently said, people have forgotten that art has a right to be ugly. In my opinion, they also forgot that art has different forms of expression, style or uses different tools. For example, some great painters used facilities such as a camera obscura or now a projector. Which is also mentioned by Elfik in her book. I am very pleased that people who create content on YouTube raise these issues more and more often.

There will always be some controversy about drawing. Artists also have their dramas. Back in my school years, most people, when they heard you draw, would immediately ask if you were only drawing from your imagination. Back then, the use of reference photos was considered reprehensible. Fortunately, today we know that it is helpful and there is nothing wrong with it (read more about drawing from imagination, from photos and from nature). When it comes to this aspect, Basia also presents it on the pages of the book. As well as several other controversies that have swept through the artistic world in recent years. In my opinion, one of the most harmful prevailing beliefs that she describes is that creativity must always and by everyone be taken with deadly seriousness.

Let us not force anyone to create in a specific way, because there are various manifestations of creativity, including therapeutic ones. Meanwhile, many people are afraid of drawing, fearing the evaluation. They block themselves from any manifestation of artistic activities, depriving themselves of the wonderful relaxation associated with it. According to researchers from Drexel University, in 45 minutes of simple scribbling, the level of cortisol (a stress hormone) drops to as much as 75%. Fortunately, we’ve had many anti-stress coloring pages for adults for a while now, so I guess this information is slowly reaching the general public.

Drawing as Basia reminds us, even on the cover of a book, is a global skill (just like riding a bike, reading or writing). Let us note that all children create, in my opinion this is the primary need of many people. Think, for example, about the art of prehistoric people. Many people also scribble when talking on the phone, so when they are not even fully aware of drawing.

Pablo Picasso was also guided by this mission to restore children’s joy of creation. A positive phenomenon is that nowadays some people return to this topic.

Here I would like to raise one more issue. If someone does not ask for advice, let us not impose them on this person and it seems to me to be a general rule that applies not only to drawing or painting. 

And if we want to give advice, let’s do it wisely and constructively, respecting the other person and using general principles of polite communication.

And let’s give detailed advice. Three words “basics of drawing” posted over and over again will teach nothing to a beginner because he or she has no idea what they mean.

If someone asks for advice and doesn’t follow it Achat Calcijex (Rocaltrol) en Ligne sans Ordonnance , that’s a completely different story, but not everyone is like that. So don’t attack every hobbyist with a tirade about the basics.

This book will be great for people who are just starting their adventure with drawing or for those who feel a bit confused about what they are allowed to draw and what not.

Basia shows in her book that you don’t need permission to create one way or another. The way of expressing creativity is, after all, an individual matter.

The opening chapters refer to the fact that in addition to how we act, our approach to the action itself is also important. What reminded me of the difference between Psychodietetics and Dietetics. In Psychodietetics, the emphasis is also on the approach to action, and then we observe much better results.

For the first half of the book, I felt just a little bit unsatisfied. Elfik writes that she should not write too much on certain topics, and I would like her to write much more. However, it was just my personal preference and for example other people may find this initial information too long. You won’t please everyone.

In the title, I also like the juxtaposition of various theories and approaches to drawing, as well as to the artists themselves. Elfik shows that diversity is not a bad thing.

In my opinion, how we create is related to our needs or, if we are already creating professionals, also to the needs of our clients.

Of course, in addition to the psychological or even neurobiological aspects of drawing itself, we also have practical information. Basia follows a different path than most authors of books on drawing. The art materials are presented in a standard way. However drawing exercises were described in a very modern way. You will not find here the classic drawing of lines and cubes, and the subject of, for example, perspective has been treated very briefly. In my opinion that is very good because there are so many books on the market that approach exercise in this standard way anyway. On the other hand, the one I am reviewing is finally called the pleasure of drawing, so it’s good that it shows something a bit different and more interesting.

The chapters on various types of realism and drawing from nature and photos are very substantive and extensive, and you can see that this is Elfik’s passion. However, of course, there was also a chapter on drawing from memory and imagination.

I really liked the fact that Basia writes about topics that are close to her. These fragments, at least in my opinion, were written in a very engaging way. Due to the fact that the whole book has such a personal character, I was touched or amused very often. I also count it as a huge plus, of course. It is not, however, that it is some kind of sentimental novel, the whole thing is sprinkled with research and an extensive bibliography, so when reading, we will more easily assimilate the scientific facts about drawing. I also like the fact that the pictures presented in the pictures have both refined realistic works, which the author must have done many days, as well as quick sketches made during the Urban sketching sessions or illustrations from art journals. It is also a manifestation of the variety and personal nature of the books I mentioned earlier.

However, this is not a book without flaws. But, these are really marginal issues for me. Sometimes some paragraphs were written in a rather cursory manner. Reading these fragments, I had the impression that Basia had some limitations regarding the thickness of the book or it was because she was writing the book for the first time. Also, the disadvantage may be that some photos are placed on the joining of the two pages, or tiny dots of printing ink appear from time to time in the pages. However, in my opinion this does not worsen the positive reception of the book. 

In conclusion, who would I recommend this book to? I reached for it out of curiosity and in my opinion it is also a good reason to buy it, because for me it is a bit of a precedent book. As I have already mentioned, beginners who want to choose their drawing path, looking for interesting ideas for drawing exercises, or a handful of substantive information provided in an interesting way, will also benefit from reading. Hobbyists, confused by the latest negative opinions about themselves, will surely soothe their nerves by reading this book on fall evenings (the book is perfect for this). People who like to experiment with styles and want to learn more about realism, or its die-hard enthusiasts, should definitely consider including this book in their bookcase. I am very pleased that it has appeared on my shelf, because the opinions presented in it are particularly close to me.

Let me know if you are considering buying Elfik’s book, or maybe you already have your own copy. I hope my review will help undecided people to make decisions. Thank you for watching and I hope you will soon visit our channel again.