The second of Marc Gellen‘s book recommendations is Presentation Techniques by Dick Powell, first published in 1985. Whereas Technical Illustration – Techniques and Applications was more of a textbook of tools and techniques, this book is a practical guide to accurately drawing and rendering for the purpose of communicating design ideas. While both books are reminders of how much illustration has changed in 20 years in terms of media and style, I think this book’s techniques are well presented and still relevant today.
Here’s the table of contents:
- Perspective Drawing
- Computer Aided Design – CAD
- Colouring Up
- Marker Rendering
- Airbrush Rendering
- Coloured Paper Rendering
- Automotive Rendering
- Descriptive Drawing
- Backgrounds and Mounting
Presentation Techniques deals exclusively with traditional media; pencil, colored pencil, pen, marker and airbrush (the chapter on ‘Computer Aided Design’ is three pages). These may not be the materials used for finals any more, but for learning technique and developing concepts they can’t be beat. Nothing trumps the immediacy and intuitiveness of drawing on paper.
The structure of the book is logical starting with sketching from observation, then drawing in a measured perspective system )with good emphasis on ellipses), then surface rendering and finally shadow casting. It closes with a gallery of process and finished automotive concept art.
There are no secrets to be found here. It’s just good drawing technique and rendering systems based on observation.
Presentation Techniques contains a wealth of knowledge, and I highly recommend it for students of technical illustration. I might even secure a copy for my bookshelf, I feel it deserves a more thorough reading.
Update, April 16, 2014: The author of this book, Dick Powell wrote in with the following:
Thank you for endorsing it – amazingly, it’s still in print (it has become a bit of a standard for UK design students!). But just to correct one thing – it was written in 1984 and first published in 1985, the year we got our first Mac. So that first edition, which has a blue cover and different cover illustration, had no CAD at all. I re-wrote much of it, adding the 3 pages on CAD (which at that time was still a high end business) and much other new material (I even specified 30 new colours for Magic Marker to make, which they did). They asked me to update it a few times over the years but, by then, prices for CAD were coming down, Photoshop and Freehand were increasingly in use and there seemed no point!