Book Review

Pencils and Process

Pencils and Process

Thoughts on Returning to Art, Portraits, and Colored Pencil Painting

Jon Amdall

Self Pub, Apr 2019

193 pages

Art process, memoir

Purchased for Kindle app


The cover is interesting and totally appropriate for the book. It is artwork from inside, some of the author’s art that he uses to illustrate what he is talking about in the book.

As I read I found myself taking the high ground thinking that Amdall isn’t a very advanced artist as he is still using certain techniques and doing things in certain ways. Even I do things this way and have advanced beyond this and that. Then I caught myself with the thought that “Yah, but he’s written a book and published it, you haven’t”. Amdall admits he isn’t the world’s greatest artist and that he has lots to learn and many techniques to try, but he has put his process out there for you to see and learn from even at his level, and that is amazing. It is inspiring, too! He points out his mistakes so that you can learn from them, but there is a lot of really good art there to learn from as well. We see a whole lot of pictures of his family since they are his favorite subjects. But he also talks about things he’s drawn that he can’t show us because it’s fan art.

His process is pretty interesting and I think beginning artists would learn a lot from reading through and perusing his work. Seeing the work of someone at this stage in their development would be helpful like it was in art school seeing other student’s work alongside your own. I recommend this for artists starting out and even those who have been at it awhile. I would have liked to have seen a wider variety of subject matter in his portfolio, maybe some buildings or cars or landscapes. Or maybe a still life or two. Since he threw in the dinosaur, maybe some animals? I did like that variety of poses he used in his portraits, though. He tried some very difficult angles and did quite well with them.

I chose this book because of the subtitle about returning to art. I finished my art degree in 2008. I never did get to work in art and I have rather let my involvement in art slip since then. So that subtitle really caught my attention. I keep trying to find a way to return to art. Each book about art that I read brings me a little closer to it.

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