Mary Gibilisco has produced a superior learning experience for anyone who wants to learn "everything you ever wanted to know about perspective, shading and shadows".

When you open the envelope, there is an 18-page pamphlet and a DVD. I started to read the pamphlet first (I've always been an instruction reader), but was so curious about the DVD that I put it in and started watching it. Now, I have studied perspective, shadows and shading and taught them, too. But I found the information to be very interesting. As Mary explained each element, it brought back many of the details that I have either forgotten or take for granted and do automatically. The review was great for me and her teaching style is really easy to understand.

I would definitely recommend assembling the basic drawing tools Mary uses in the DVD so you will be able to follow along and learn by doing as she goes along. You will also want to have the remote handy so you can stop the DVD every so often and do the exercises along with her. The 2-fold aproach of watching and doing reinforces the learning process.

There are several sections to the DVD:

First, you learn 1 point and 2 point linear perspective, the most common errors in linear perspective and how to correct those mistakes. This is one of the most basic elements that makes your artwork look "right". If the perspective is out of whack, everything will just look wrong!

Then Mary attacks another perspective area: circles and ellipses. She explains about ellipses at all eye levels and shows in detail how to put an ellipse into perspective and how to use an ellipse template. I have never felt the need for an ellipse template before this, but now I'm going to get one for sure! It will make life lots easier whenever I have to draw something with an elipse.

Just in case you don't think you will ever use an elipse, remember that anything that has a circle in it has an elipse when it is put into a painting. Think glasses, bottles, bowls, plates, vases, pitchers and Pringles cans!

Learning how light effects objects and how to shade begins with shading exercises. Mary explains how to do the exercise and how to make a value scale with your drawing pencils. You might want to make extra copies of the exercise sheet before you start so you can keep your booklet intact. This is an exercise you will want to keep and refer to now and then to help with your artwork. Using a value scale helps to keep in mind the gradations that need to be used to give dimension to your work.

You will learn the characteristics of shadows and how to plot shadows for cubes, cylinders and spheres. She explains how to figure out the length and direction of the shadows so your objects will look like they are positioned as they are supposed to be. It becomes cut-and-dried when you understand it as Mary is explaining it. She makes all of this so interesting that the DVD will hold your attention even through what could otherwise be mundane exercises.

This booklet and DVD set give straightforward instruction in some of the most abused elements of artwork. If the persepctive, shadows or shading are incorrect, your eye will be drawn to the error(s). If they are not corrected, everyone who looks at the piece will pick it up, too. But by the time you have gone through this instructional course, you will know exactly what you are doing. The best part is that you will always be able to get the perspective right when you draw or paint.

If you happen to be a teacher, Mary grants permission to teach this project within a 100 mile radius of your home studio and to reproduce the written material verbatim, one copy per student, for a class. This is a nice touch, since there are many times when you have to find a way to contact an author to get this permission.

All in all, I was impressed with the DVD presentation and having the detailed booklet to follow is really a help. The DVD is like a teacher being in the room & demonstrating what you should do, but you can replay it as much as you want.

I would recommend this DVD to anyone who has not studied perspective and to those who have, but could use a refresher. It's like most things in life ... the more you learn, the more you realize you have lots more to learn.

The price for this booklet and instructional video is \$ 21.95, which includes shipping. You can check it out at Drawing:Perspective, Shading and Shadows . While you are there, be sure to have a look around at their other packets and instructional aids. The artwork on the site alone is worth the time to have a look.

Happy Painting,
Paula Devore
Painting Editor

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