This is an excellent book for those just starting out with drawing and also intermediate level students. There is good basic information on how to use pencils, as well as creating value and textures. There are exercises design to help you incorporate perspective in your drawings, including drawing cubes, cylinders and conical objects.
Pencil Drawing Techniques puts a definite emphasis on drawing from life. Working with photo references and using a grid is only briefly mentioned. There is also minimal information on different drawing media and how to use them.
The author dedicates a substantial portion of the book to drawing landscapes. He has especially helpful information on simplifying a busy or cluttered scene, creating a center of interest and developing darks. His chapter on drawing portraits shows several steps from the beginning to the end of the drawing. He shows numerous types of animals in different poses with a few step by step examples.
The last part of the book is on using colored pencils. He includes information of the different types of colored pencils and their attributes. There is also a good section on mixing colors, including changing value and intensity. There are several examples of different types of techniques associated with colored pencils such as burnishing, and using solvents and blenders.
CONS: Most of the drawings shown are sketchy, without a finished quality to them. The section on drawing portraits was a little short.
PROS: This book is a good overview of basic drawings techniques as well as compositional tips. If you like to improve your sketching abilities this would be a great book to have. Several different artists have work included in this book so you can see different styles of working. I have found this book especially helpful when trying to teach about value studies and their importance in planning a finished work.