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Drawing the Landscape by Chip Sullivan

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Drawing the Landscape by Chip Sullivan

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It would be easy to take Drawing the Landscape (4th Ed.; Wiley: 2013; 352 pp.; $75) not as a book for landscape architects, but as an instructional book for artists and art students on how to draw landscapes. That's because the text draws its cues not just from traditional architectonic drawing styles but from visual disciplines as diverse as fine art, comic books, and film storyboards. While it may beg the question of why such disparate sources are necessary, for author Chip Sullivan, impressive landscape drawings are not the sole domain of landscape architects.

In fact, Sullivan argues that our post-modern discipline has strayed far from its roots, wherein architects and landscape architects used to be required to develop considerable drawing chops in order to make it in the profession. While professionals in decades past may have been required to learn traditional drawing and painting techniques derived from the fine arts, today's counterparts may rely entirely on computer based graphics or draw from a relatively narrow form of technical drawing.

All of that may be prosaic, however, since at its core the book is about teaching the reader how to draw better landscapes. To that end, Sullivan covers a comprehensive set of topics combined with exercises designed to build drawing skills step by step. He's an advocate of improving in drawing through constant practice; the reader is assured of improving his or her drawing ability through a combination of elbow grease and the guidance built into Sullivan's text. This third edition includes a code to access online content such as video tutorials.

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