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Book Review: Conceptual Drawing: Freehand Drawing & Design Visualizations for Design Professionals by Joseph A. Koncelik & Kevin Reeder

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The ability to visualize and draw potential solutions is an important skill to have in many professions especially if you are a designer. Conceptual Drawing: Freehand Drawing & Design Visualizations for Design Professionals is an introductory-level text that provides skill-driven instruction on the art and techniques of conceptual drawing.

The premise of Conceptual Drawing: Freehand Drawing & Design Visualizations for Design Professionals is that the skill set of conceptual drawing derives from the visual arts as a method for visual thinking. This book is 295 pages and is divided into 8 chapters.

Chapter 1, "The Fundamentals of Conceptual Drawing," begins by defining conceptual drawing as the act of visualizing objects and environments on paper drawing from the imagination. From there you will look at the steps in the design process. Next you will see the rudiments of drawing freehand. This begins with the use of proper techniques which is essential to progress and success.

Chapter 2, "Using Perspectives in Conceptual Drawing," now focuses on perspective and how, even from an early age, we know when it looks right and when it doesn’t. Here you explore vanishing points, drawing circles in perspective, how to work with objects that are not sitting on the ground plane, and how to analyze the drawing for proper perspective.

Chapter 3, "Developing Three-Dimensional Form," gets into the ability of cultivating a sense of how a form should appear in conceptual drawing so it seems geometrically correct as well as visually balanced. This chapter covers various methods for developing geometric and complex transitional forms. You will work with lines, proportion, and how to shift from defining an edge of objects to drawing the underlying structure of an object.

Chapter 4, "Conventions for Lighting and Surface Delineation," takes your 3D object and concentrates on properly lighting it. Since all surfaces appear in some sort of light, and receive their definition in light, you need to look at how light, shadow, and the effect of light on surfaces effect he object.

Chapter 5, "Human Scale and Content," are important since all objects exist in an environment, and almost all products are used by people. Since drawing the human form is one of the greater challenges for the designer, it is important for you to develop a sense of form and structure. Here you will examine many aspects of drawing the human form especially with regard to objects.

Chapter 6, "Interior Conceptual Drawing," now takes your objects and your humans and puts them into an interior structure. In this chapter you will look at several interior settings and how to work with scale, color, and text within the scope of an interior.

Chapter 7, "Presentation and Communication," begins with an examination of the tools used for the drawing process. You then look at the conventions used for hand lettering, the use of storyboarding in presentation, as well as several case studies.

Chapter 8, "Hybrid Conceptual Drawings," finishes with a look at the fusion of traditional drawing with the use of digital media. This covers many of the previous topics but now with a slant on how to create them in digital media.

Conceptual Drawing really takes you by the hand and, in a step-by-step manner, builds up your skills in the techniques needed to produce quality work. You will move from the line art to the mixed media. The book is detailed with many examples that not only show you the finished work, but the steps in between, as well as variations.

What really makes Conceptual Drawing a step above most books is that it comes with a DVD that walk you through the sketching. It features detailed visual instructional segments that correspond to each chapter, helping to facilitate a more complete comprehension of the material. If you want to learn more about or improve your conceptual drawing skills, then I easily recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.