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  • This reference and instruction manual contains a detailed, thoroughly analyzed, well-supported comparison of the four Pacific Northwest First Nations art styles.
  • There are 800 clear, detailed illustrations accompanied by straightforward copy.
  • Topics include design formline, ovoids, U shapes, S shapes, heads, body parts, and design formation, as well as a step-by-step “How to Draw” section.
  • Durable soft cover, 224 pages.
  • A glossary explains terms, an extensive index supplies easy references, and a bibliography supplies further resources.



Learning by Designing Pacific Northwest Coast Native Indian Art,

by Jim Gilbert and Karin Clark, is an instruction and reference guide for artists, teachers, collectors and students.

Using this reference book as a step-by-step guide to designing and analysing Pacific Northwest Indian Art, anyone can become more informed about First Nations cultures. Over 800 quality descriptive illustrations.

What the experts say about this book:

“This book provides valuable information about the complex variations of Northwest Coast designs. It is well researched and all artists should benefit from this information. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK. Congratulations.”
Chief Tony Hunt Mupin Kim - Klah Kwa Tzee Four Times Chief/Big Copper - Kwagulth Master Carver and Artist. Tsaxis/Victoria, B.C.

“This well researched and richly illustrated book will be of great benefit to anyone, from children to adults, who wants to learn about the art styles of Northwest Coast First Nations.”
Steve Brown - Author and Artist, Associate Curator, Native American Art, Seattle Art Museum. Seattle, Washington.

“Of all the books I have read on the subject ... this one is the all encompassing and definitive ... excellent. Every artist with an interest in form and design should have a copy.”
Ron Stacy - Visual Artist/Teacher, Stacy Studio. Sidney, B.C.

“An incredible teaching resource that can be integrated into the curriculum for the teaching of art in a comprehensive manner ... will provide a bridge of understanding to the diversity of the art styles of the Northwest Coast.”
Nella Nelson - First Nations Education Division Coordinator, Greater Victoria School District, Member of the Tsawataineuk Band, Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. Victoria, B.C.

“A font of information for those who feel a need to understand more about the fascinating complexities of Northwest Coast Native Indian Art ... Excellent, the best yet.”
Reg Ashwell - Art Collector, Consultant and Author. Saltspring Island, B.C.




  • Goals
  • Overview of Learning by Design
  • Aboriginal Art within a Cultural Context
  • Map: Culture and Art Style Regions of the Pacific Northwest Coast
  • Map: Four Major Art Style Regions of the Pacific Northwest Coast
  • History and Description of the Mid Coast Art Style
  • History and Description of the South Coast Art style
  • History and Description of the West Coast Art Style

 Basic Design

  • Formline: An Introduction
  • Formline
  • Ovoid
  • U Shape
  • S Shape
  • Jioning Design Units
  • Salmon Head Design
  • Heads
  • Examples of Heads in Design Units
  • Examples of Free Form Heads

 Head Components

  • Beaks and Bills
  • Cheeks
  • Ears
  • Eyebrows
  • Eyes
  • Foreheads
  • Gills
  • Hats, Headbands, Hair
  • Moustaches, Beards
  • Mouths
  • Noses


 Body Parts and Appendages

  • Body and Appendage Designs
  • Split Body Designs
  • Balance, Apparent Symmetry, and X-Ray Design
  • Comparing Bodies Across Art Styles
  • Arms and Hands-Human
  • Legs and Feet - Bird Toes, Claws, Webs
  • Fins and Tails - Fish and Sea Creature
  • Tails - Otter
  • Tails - Whales
  • Tails - Animal
  • Wings and Tails - Bird

 How to Draw

  • How to Draw Ovoids
    • Approaches to Drawing Ovoids
    • Making Ovoid Patterns or Templates
    • How to Draw Ovoids Across Art Styles
    • Ovoids Used in Designs Across art Styles
  • How to Draw a North Coast Art Style Eye and Eyelid
  • How to Draw U Shapes
    • Approaches to Drawing U Shapes
    • Making U Shaped Patterns or Templates
    • How to Draw U Shapes for Design Purposes
    • U Shapes Used in Designs Across Art Styles
  • How to Draw an Eagle Head
  • How to Draw a Salmon Head
  • How to Draw a Human Head
  • How to Draw a Killer Whale
  • How to Draw a Wolf Head

 Glossary of Art Terms
 Bibliography and Resources

  • This new book is hot off the press. Wholesale enquiries welcome.
  • Over 800 quality illustrations
  • Authentically recognized by the first nations.
  • This durable soft cover has 224 pages
  • Book dimensions are 8.5 x 11 inches

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Learning by Doing* Learning by Designing* Jim Gilbert* Karin Clark*

Oue E-mail address: kclark(@)

Created April 23th 1996.
Last update: Oct. 4th. 2011.

Copyright © 1996 - 2012