Ideal Introduction to Leonardo's work – Ideal introduction to Leonardo's work

If you've an interest in Leonardo's work but have found his writing heavy going, this is an ideal introduction...

  • Exercises and demonstrations to get your drawing in Leonardo da Vinci's style.
  • Introduces you to Leonardo da Vinci's life and work in an easy-to-understand art history format.
  • Describes Leonardo's materials, how he used them, and the modern alternatives.
  • Reproductions of original drawings are clear enough to use them for copying.


  • Paperback book, 144 pages, ISBN 1844034445, published by Cassell Illustrated.
  • Author Susan Dorothea White is an artist based in Sydney who has exhibited since 1957.
  • White's website describes her as "multifaceted artist, unrestricted in her use of media".
  • Divided into five sections: Techniques and Materials, Skills, Universe, Human Nature, Conclusions
  • Glossary explains terms you may not be familiar with, and who people mentioned are, such as Cennini...

The stated aim of the book is "to interpret da Vinci's vision, and to teach visual literacy under his guidance so that the reader gains know-how in artistic expression". It does this through the exercises, examples of Leonardo's work, and analysis of his skills and interests.

The first section of the book looks at the materials Leonardo used and modern equivalents, such as using a propelling pencil to hold silverwire for silverpoint drawing, and how to prepare a Renaissance recipe ground for drawing on. The second section "reveals" Leonardo's skills -- perspective, proportion, light and shade, and drawing from the imagination. It also looks at the type of line he used in his drawing. The third section discusses a selection of his drawings, e.g. animals, plants, and landscape, through reproductions and author interpretations.

Throughout practical drawing information and analysis is mixed with art history and techniques. Although Leonardo was left-handed, the book has been adapted to be suitable for both left- and right-handed drawing.

Leonardo himself recommended that students study and copy the works of the masters. With this book, you can do just that!

Marion Boddy-Evans, Book Review,, August 2006

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