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How to See It, How to Draw It


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About the Author

Matthew studied architecture at both the University of Notre Dame and the University of Oregon, where he later taught for the latter as an adjunct professor. He has received awards for his submissions to the biennial Design Communication Association's Juried Drawing Exhibition and he served as a board member in the founding of the Urban Sketchers non-profit organisation in 2009. Matthew's work is characterised by his use of a wide variety of media, including pencil, pen, charcoal and watercolour. He is currently an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Idaho, U.S.A.


As a college lecturer I would say this is for the higher level or degree level students. It is thorough and covers perspective well in both text and visual representation. It's not for a quick look though and a certain amount of time needs to be given to truly use the book but it's worth it. The workbook is an especially nice section.

* Marian Carr *

One of the most important things to master when you are learning how to draw is perspective; it is also one of the most difficult. In this primer the author and various other artists show how to get the better of it and thus improve your skills.

This is not the sort of book to breeze through in a short time; to get the best out of it you will need to read it through more than once. There are practical exercises to try out, lots of diagrams and descriptions of what is going on to work through. Some mathematical skills are a great help. After a brief history of perspective use in art, the author explains the different types and then dedicates a chapter to each of them. One, two and three-point perspective, multi and curvilinear are all explored, and finally there is a workbook to try it all out. Each chapter is divided into four sections with a page of explanations at the front to show how to use it. Seeing it, understanding it, applying it and how-to sequence are the section headings. There is plenty to look at and plenty to read. A slightly thicker and larger font would have been easier on the eye here as the print is small and thin, but there is a lot to get in with these complex topics. Several pages of diagrams, grids, drawings and photos with captions show how it all works, and turning to the back, there are blank grids with links for downloading so you can have a go. I found this to be the best part, as all that wee print and involved drawing was useful, but I personally got more out of it all after I had had a go myself. This is not surprising, perhaps, as art is a practical subject, and if you are looking for an exhaustive guide to perspective this is a good choice.

* Myshelf.com *

July 2016

There have been many books on perspective down the years, all trying in their own wat to simplify what is a complex subject. In some cases, that can be overdone, leading to no explaination at all. Matthew Brehm confronts the problems head on and avoids as many of the intrusive red llines leading to vanishing points as possible. Five perspective types - 1 point, 2 point, 3 point, multi-point and curvilinear are each broken down into seeing, understanding, applying and a how-to-sequence. Thos consistent approach makes the book easy to follow and gives you the confidence to tackle the workbook section, whcih is definitely quite technical. This is one of the best books on the subject I've seen.

* The Artist *

This book covers in depth the science of perspective. It is written by an Associate Professor of Architecture in a clear and concise manner.
The chapters progress from explaining Basic perspective through to curvilinear perspective (I've never heard of this before!) Each chapter is subdivided into : seeing it, understanding it, applying it and 'how to' sequence. It is generously illustrated and even includes a work book complete with grids that can be photocopied to help with your project!
Thoroughly recommended to buy and keep as reference for that ambitious project.

* Dianne Ryan *

It's often the subtle things which are difficult to explain and more so make them understood by others, Perspectives being one of them. However, Matthew Brehm through this Work book on Perspective , has well balanced the theory and through examples, takes us gradually from the simple one point perspective to more higher levels of perspectives (Curvilinear). This Work book takes a four pronged structured mode of learning for each of the perspective under study. Step one being "Seeing It" - creates the awareness and focuses on building the observational skills, followed by "Understanding it" - which covers the technical concepts involved , step 3 -"Applying it" - appreciation of the application of the concepts through well selected drawings and finally a "how to" - Step wise execution of a drawing as a case study. The book also comes with a 32 page worksheets to prompt readers to put theory into practice while reading the book itself. Would recommend this book for the all those who are keen to understand and explore Perspectives- to add more life to their creations. I have enjoyed reading this book, my thanks to Matthew Brehm and the publishing team for bringing out a book which is true to its title

* Thiagarajan PK *

This book arrived at a good time for me, as I am in the early stages of a street scene showing
Guildford High Street, which has converging rows of buildings on a downward-sloping road. First
impressions are good, with the book printed on high quality paper. The text and images are clear
and beautifully printed. It's a book you'll want to handle.
The book consists of 144 pages in a near-square format and is divided into three major sections;
history, examples and a workbook section. I'll deal with each section in turn.
1 - History
The author, Matthew Brehm, goes to some lengths to explain the history of perspective in art,
which actually makes for an interesting read on its own, discussing the various approaches
together with illustrations to support the text.
2 - Examples
This is the main part of the book and covers the different types of perspective that we may
encounter when producing our art: 1-point, 2-point, 3-point and, interestingly, curvilinear
perspective. Each type of perspective is handled using the method of 'seeing it', 'understanding it',
and 'applying it'.
The 'seeing it' sections give illustrated examples of how we can identify the perspective type being
discussed, using photographs, shapes and models. The author is careful to highlight pitfalls for the
unwary, such as getting the horizon line wrong.
'Understanding it' goes into why we need to apply the particular type of perspective and ways to
apply the methods. For instance, the subject may include irregular or complex shapes which need
to be analysed by the artist as part of the application process.
'The final stage is 'applying it', when the author gives examples of artworks using the perspective
type being discussed. Following the examples is a sub-section giving a 'how-to sequence', where
the reader is taken through an example artwork using the perspective type under discussion in a
number of easy to follow steps, resulting in a finished work.
3 - Workbook
Using pre-drawn grids, this 32 page section takes the reader through each perspective type, with
the opportunity to use the ideas presented in the earlier chapters. Some pages fold out to give you
bigger perspectives and grids, enabling the reader to plot really wide scenes.
This book is really easy to get into, providing clear and understandable directions for finding and
applying the different types of perspective. I found the book engrossing to read and have already
learnt how to identify and apply the correct perspective for my current painting. I shall certainly be
referring to this useful book over the coming weeks and months and can recommend it to anyone
with an interest in the subject.

* David Raison *

I have known students who really struggle to understand perspective. This book should help anyone develop their understanding of perspective and use their knowledge to improve their drawing skills. Each type of perspective has its own chapter, from one-point to curvilinear. Workbook exercises give you the chance to practice. Use the grids to guide you. There are practical techniques, explanations and plenty of examples to ensure that you understand the theory. You'll find work in pencil and in colour. You'll find the basics to the most complex types all included and explained. Build your confidence and skills by following the progressive chapters. This is one of the most thorough and easy-to-use books I have found on the subject. The cover has a quality feel.

* Karen Platt- yarnsandfabrics.co.uk *

April 2016

If you are looking to improve your drawing and painting, this new book by Matthew Brehm - How to see it, How to Draw it- will set you on the right tracks. Perspective is a subject that many beginners prefer to gloss over, but it's importance in creating convincing work is paramount. This hands on guide promises not to weigh us down with theory. Instead it offers exercises to play with, including drawing vanishing points in the book itself. " Think of it as 3D doodling", says the author. By the end of the book, you should be able to understand perspective intuitively, enabling you to draw convincing objects without use of a ruler.

* The Leisure Painter *

If ever a book died on its feet without its subtitle, this is the one!

As a guide to perspective for the artist, rather than the technical illustrator, it's pretty much pitch perfect. Any book which tells you that it'll take away the mystique of the subject is lying, because it's a technical one and you can't avoid an explanation of vanishing points or the lines that lead to them. Matthew Brehm does, however, minimise a lot of the complexity, and the bulk of the illustrations are attractive drawings and paintings, mostly of buildings, that show the results in practice. Where theory is necessary, it's mainly confined to block diagrams which, while not pretty, do make the matter easier to understand.

The book is also extremely well structured, starting with one-point perspective and progressing to two and three point before going on to multi-point and curvilinear. Each section works in the same way: seeing it, understanding it, applying it and how to sequence. Keeping the approach constant means that, once you've got the hang of one topic, you've got the hang of them all. There's also an excellent introduction to the basics: visual depth clues, lines of convergence, the horizon line and so on.

If you've ever struggled to get to grips with perspective, and any book is going to open your eyes, this is the one to do it. I won't say I couldn't put it down, but I do keep picking it up.

* Artbookreview.net *

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