Hyperrealism is one of those tricky things with me. Ask me about it on a Tuesday and I might be all, “This is fascinating!” Ask me the next day and I might be all, “Is this just about technique? Is that what we’re celebrating?” But even though I’m often on the fence about it, I feel like deep down we are all suckers for a good tromp l’oeil.

Mark Crilley is a total pro when it comes to drawing. I don’t think anyone would deny that, from manga to hyperrealism the guy can do some amazing things with color pencils and water color. You’ve probably drooled over his YouTube videos; I have! So when he put out an instructional book about his realism drawings I thought hey, that’s awesome, let’s check it out.

The book is written in such an encouraging way that you believe anyone can do this, even you! Which might be true, but here’s the deal, there are absolutely zero shortcuts. If you think this book is going to teach you how to draw perfect versions of objects instantly, you’re going to get frustrated quickly. If you enjoy tedious details and have the patience of Job, then you should really look into this type of drawing.

Crilley is great at encouraging, and I love how he is so willing to share his creative ideas and skills. I think he also does a good job at explaining how one should layer color, and also why shadows are important.

The problem I had with the book is that since it’s teaching you to draw objects as realistically as possible and to scale, that basically it’s like, “Look at your object. Now draw it exactly how it looks.” So I really I feel like if you don’t already have an aptitude for drawing, this isn’t a great book to start with for that kind of thing. If you have some basic drawing skills under your belt, you could most definitely do the first four or so challenges.

Honestly, I would love to see a video series with Crilley in the style of Bob Ross.

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