Book Review: ‘The Urban Sketching Handbook: Drawing with a Tablet’ By Uma Kelkar


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Our occupations may not allow us to be regular in practice of art, mainly because a lot of time is wasted in avoidable activities. For example, you work in an office and travel to work by metro or local train, and it is not possible for you to take all your art equipment with you, or may be your business allows you tiny fractions of time which are not sufficient to arrange your equipment and do reasonable amount of work.

There are two issues here. May be your daily routine is so elaborate and busy that it is not possible for you to devote separate time for artistic pursuits. So you have to indulge in art whenever you find an empty time slot in your day. However, by definition, such empty slots are so unpredictable and so short that it would not be possible for you to use conventional means of art, simply because they are elaborate and require prior preparation.

Another scenario is where you feel an irresistible urge to draw something or create something, feeling an itching in your hands and restlessness. If you could get hold of even a sheet of paper and a pencil, you could have relieved this urge.

Here technology comes to rescue. With devices becoming smaller and smaller, mobile and portable with unimaginable features, it is now possible to make use of each minute that your routine offers or allows. For example, following is the drawing (Glass) I made recently on my iPad. All the same, I had a feeling that certainly a lot more could be achieved with this medium, as there were several features which I could see but not understand. And of course, there must be several other features which I am still not aware of.


So when I saw the book The Urban Sketching Handbook: Drawing with a Tablet: Easy Techniques for Mastering Digital Drawing on Location by Uma Kelkar, I jumped with joy. This is precisely the type of instruction and help that any artist requires these days. Honestly, I was also a bit nervous lest the book does not deliver what it promised. But all my apprehensions were put to rest as soon as I opened this book.

First a few words about the book. The writer begins by taking a note of the various hurdles in an artist’s life and work, and tells how tablets can help in overcoming them. She also takes note of the several other advantages of using a tablet for art work which expands your field beyond what traditional media could offer. Throughout the book she keeps on highlighting the various features which demonstrate the (superior) application of tablets.

The main text of the book begins with very basic details and instructions about tablets — importance of charging, carrying, how and where to place or position it, correct posture and so on. A brief overview of the various software and corresponding operating system is given in table form for easy reference. The discussion in the book is throughout based on Procreate, and occasionally reference to ArtRage is also made. Focus of discussion in this book is on the application of digital media and to demonstrate the different ways in which this medium could be employed, instead of giving specific details of the software. By this I mean, though the meaning and application of various menu items in Procreate software is given, the approach is more general rather than specific to this software. Thus, the users who prefer to use some other software would still be able to make use of the lessons learnt from this book. Note that it is not at all possible to explain the details of every software in a single book. Plenty of examples are given throughout the book from work by different artists using digital media. While giving these figures, in addition to the title of the work and the software which was used for making it, the writer draws your attention to the various features of the composition. At the end of the book you will find galleries of artworks by different artists which would give you an idea of what can be accomplished using this medium and at the same time serve as a source of inspiration.

The language of text — the instructions as well as description — is very simple and conversational. Overall, text is less as compared to figures, which helps maintain the focus of the reader on learning the skill.

My bonus learning which I did not anticipate at the time when I first opened the book was the realisation that a lot more can be accomplished on a tablet than I had imagined. Certainly, soon this mode would achieve (or may be it has already achieved) the stature enjoyed by watercolour, pastels and oil painting. If you are an artist, or aspire to be an artist, or simply want to draw beautiful pictures, or simply do casual funny art, this book is certainly for you. Even those who have not yet tried the art world can find an easy entry with the help of this guide.

Title: The Urban Sketching Handbook: Drawing with a Tablet: Easy Techniques for Mastering Digital Drawing on Location
Author: Uma Kelkar
Publisher: Quarry Books
Book Length: 112 pages
My rating: 5-st
What does it mean?

Source: Ucodesoft


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