How Eric Sloane Influenced My Work

| 9/14/2018 10:01:00 AM


Eric Sloane is one of my favorite artists.  His work is primarily line-drawings, and he’s authored such books as A Reverence for Wood, Eric Sloane’s Weather Book, Our Vanishing Landscape, an Age of Barns,  and many others.

Sloane is also a thinker and philosopher, not merely sharing old timey things for their antique value, but constantly trying to share that there was a living character of self-reliance that we have all but lost due to our penchant for modern devices and letting other people do our work for us.

As a would-be artist, I have used Sloane’s images to practice my line art.  I figured, I’m not trying to become another Sloane, but if I could get my level of artistry closer to his, my skill will have increased.  I am still no where close to that level, probably because I simply don’t practice as much as necessary to become a master.

My very first book was Guide to Wild Foods, which took me more or less 4 years to write and then another year for the artist to illustrate it.  I knew that my skill was insufficient for that early book, but 10 years later by the time it was revised and revised, I undertook to draw the plant images for that fourth edition.

Though I have had scant few art lessons, I learned from Sloane that drawing is not so much about the technicalities of drawing, as it is about seeing.  As I drew each plant for my revised book, I had collected a sample of that plant which I set before me.  I would move the leaves and stems this way and that, in order to show all the significant parts of the plant that would help in identification.

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