Unlearning to Draw — by Peter Jenny

"When we blink, what changes is not the distant, but the nearby. Television would have us stop blinking altogether, encouraging us to rely on someone else’s view of the world; but when you take a closer look at your own photos, you will continue to form your own pictures," says author Peter Jenny.

In Unlearning to Draw, Jenny encourages the use of family photos as the starting point to "defamiliarize the familiar", as looking at other people’s pictures may be uncomfortable. Through his exercises, he pushes artists to set aside the personal meaning behind these personal photos and find their own meaning behind them instead.

It's this renewed focus on the joys of making art rather than on the end result that sets Unlearning to Draw apart from other 'how-to draw' books. Using your own family photographs enables you to experience an added dimension to art-making. The idea behind using personal mementos is both intriguing and haunting at the same time. 

Jenny looks to the art of children and advocates a return to carefree, untrained drawing. With 4 color illustrations and 240 B&W illustrations, Unlearning to Draw is perfect for beginners and a great refresher for more experienced artists.


  • Condition: New
  • Format: Paperback
  • Published: May 5, 2015
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
  • ISBN-10: 1616893737
  • ISBN-13: 9781616893736
  • Pages: 216
  • Dimensions: 4.2" in. H x .80" in. D x 6" in. W
  • Rating:★★★★ (See FAQs)


Peter Jenny is professor emeritus and chair of visual design at the famous ETH Zurich in Switzerland.


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