Winter's (finally) almost over. So this round up of the best tools for traditional artists from past month is all about getting outside and going to events. There's a new way to nosey through Turner's sketchbooks to see how he captured London's capricious skies, along with a companion book that offers tips and tricks on how to paint (opens in new tab) like the great artist himself.
Talking of legends, there's also a must-have new book on the career of David Hockney, and an influential manual on anatomy drawing gets its first release in English.
Ben the Illustrator (opens in new tab) is sick of all the hate that's around at the moment, so he's launched a new range of loved-up charity T-shirts. We're also getting exited about a Berlin festival, a new Tate exhibition, and an art retreat in Italy.
01. Turner: The 'skies' sketchbook (opens in new tab)
As a boy, J.M.W Turner would walk up to Hampstead Heath in London, lie on his back and draw the sky. He'd return to town and sell what he'd drawn. Turner expert David Blayney Brown introduces this beautiful reproduction of the artist's sketchbooks – specifically, his sky studies. Containing watercolour studies and pencil sketches of London and the surrounding area, this is a must-have for any artist wanting to improve the way they capture light.
02. Paint like Turner (opens in new tab)
So Turner has inspired you to get outside with your sketchbook. What next? This book shares some of the secrets behind the great artist's technique. The introduction explores Turner's life, career, and the materials he used – plus their modern equivalents.
Each chapter focuses on a different theme: sky, water, trees, buildings, people, animals, sunrise, moonlight and fire. As you'd expect, there are plenty of illustrated examples of Turner's work, as well as tips from contemporary artists.
03. David Hockney (opens in new tab)
This illustrated retrospective covers David Hockney's full six-decade career: "Working in an extraordinarily, wide range of media," reads the blurb, "with equal measures of wit and intelligence, his art has examined, probed and questioned how the perceived world of movement, space and time can be captured in two dimensions."
This new book contains over 200 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs, watercolours, iPad drawings, and his most recent multi-screen pieces.
04. The Complete Guide to Anatomy (opens in new tab)
Professor Gottfried Bammes' manual Die Gestalt des Menschen – published in 1964 – is considered the definitive guide to drawing the human form. This is the first ever English translation of the complete work, based on the most recent German edition.
The guide contains over 1,200 photographs, diagrams and drawings, including work by the author himself. That's over 500 pages of advice on skeletons and musculature, proportions, static and dynamic laws of posture, movement, and even body language.
05. COUP tees (opens in new tab)
"Over the passed 12 months, the world has been seeing a lot of hate," says Ben the Illustrator, the founder and curator of COUP. "I want to redress the balance. If world leaders turn their backs on love, if they’re not going to care, then we will. We will bring the love. We will stage a COUP."
The organisation is working with various artists to design limited edition loved-up T-shirts, all of which are being sold in aid of the designer's chosen charity. Andy J Miller (opens in new tab) released his design this month.
06. Derwent studio set (opens in new tab)
You were penniless throughout January. You were living on cereal and walking to work. So now, finally, just as your financial situation is looking a little rosier, you decide to drop over a hundred quid on some pencils.
"These stylish colour pencils provide maximum control," manufacturer Derwent says, "and the slim colour strip is ideal for creating fine lines and detailed illustrations." There you go. It's an investment.
07. The Sketching Tin (opens in new tab)
If you're an artist on a budget – or you're looking to get back into traditional art without shelling out loads of money – this little sketching tin contains everything you need to draw on the move. It comes with: a Sakura Koi brush (one end is the brush and the other is a water barrel); three Royal Talens watercolour half pans (with magnets so you can attach them to the tin); a pencil, pencil sharpener and rubber; all housed in a sturdy metal tin that's lined with white vinyl so you can use it as a mixing palette.
08. Love, Fame, Tragedy (opens in new tab)
The first solo exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s work ever held at Tate Modern begins on 8 March. "Love, Fame, Tragedy is one of the most significant shows the gallery has ever staged," Tate says. "Taking visitors on a month-by-month journey through 1932, a time so pivotal in Picasso’s life and work that it has been called his ‘year of wonders’." There's plenty of time to plan your visit too – it runs until September 2018.
09. Pictoplasma conference (opens in new tab)
Even more modern than Picasso is the Pictoplasma Conference – the world’s leading festival of contemporary character design and art. It takes place in Berlin from 10-14 May, and hosts a ton of international artists, illustrators, designers and filmmakers.
Tickets are on sale now, and include access to all the lectures, presentations, screenings and workshops, plus the exhibitions and after-party, and a conference bag full of "materials, goodies and character surprises."
10. Slow Art retreats (opens in new tab)
San Francisco-based multidisciplinary artist Diva Pyari is hosting two special art events this summer. The Slow Art Retreats take place on Salina, a small island just off Sicily. "I designed these retreats on the sparkling Mediterranean to rejuvenate, inspire and connect creatives," says Diva.
As well as art workshops, the second week (16-22 June) offers everything from hiking and meditation, to wine-tasting and Italian lessons. The first event (11-16 June) features talks on sketching, brush lettering, inspired design, and pitching your dream project.
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