This book has been the most sought-after work on figure drawing for decades. Since it has been out of print, old copies have been changing hands for high prices. This new edition has been a long time coming, but what a joy to see it at last! This is a facsimile copy, which means that it has been created from an original print of the book, rather than from the original artwork and page layouts. Even so, the results are excellent, and the illustrations are crisp and clear.
Loomis was an illustrator, author and art instructor at the American Academy of Art. This book was published in 1943 and, ever since, has been the standard work on the subject. It covers all aspects of figure drawing, explaining detail and with unequalled clarity, how to draw the figure. As you might expect from the cover artwork, he focuses almost entirely on the nude male and female figure, but also spends some time looking at how the techniques may be applied to drawing children. The final ten pages look at how to draw the clothed figure. Obviously, it looks at how to draw the head and the hands, but for this I would get a copy of Loomis' separate book on the subject, "Drawing the Head and Hands", which is also being reprinted (around October 2011).
Loomis' style of drawing has a distinct 1940s look about it. Some of the hairstyles, complexions and poses are redolent of the times, but this does not age the work at all. It merely reflects our changing ideas about supposedly typical male and female figures. The content remains fascinating, insightful, compelling and inspiring. His drawings are lovely things, always delicate and lively. The final few pages, about working as an artist, are amusing rather than useful to today's artists, but it's all part of the original 1943 publication.
I have a large collection of books on figure and portrait drawing, and I have been after a copy of this book for decades. It has been well worth the wait. It is a must-have. And now that I have a copy, I will be throwing out a few books that this one happily replaces!