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Figure Drawing for All it's Worth Hardcover – Facsimile, 27 May 2011
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The illustrator Andrew Loomis (1892-1959) is revered amongst artists - including comics superstar Alex Ross - for his mastery of figure drawing and his clean, realist style. His hugely influential series of art instruction books have never been bettered, and "Figure Drawing" is the first in Titan's programme of facsimile editions, returning these classic titles to print for the first time in decades.
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There was an interesting point in a review that I had read, which noted that since the book is outdated and old fashioned in style, the proportions of the figures are idealised and unrealistic. As an example, he teaches that a womans waist is around the same width of a head. However, as he states in the book, the exercises aren't to copy him line by line, but how to do it yourself. He teaches you the technique, from there your own intelligence should get you to drawing your own preferred proportions.
Brilliant book for anyone wanting to get a handle on figure drawing from the ground up!
If you're serious about your art, be you illustrator, comic book artist, animator, fashion designer, or even a games designer, you need to have this book in your library. The text and illustration work together to take you on an odyssey of discovery, a thousand and one techniques that will make your life easier, and your art so much better.
The original was printed in 1943 and has come to be recognised as the bible of figure artists. Although it's out of print now, you can still find a number of great condition reprints. Get one! Keep it by the drawing board and you'll never again be stuck on how to draw a figure, work with horizon lines, and place figures in space so that they relate perfectly to each other and their surroundings.
Ignore the price and get one ASAP. Don't eat for a couple of weeks if needs be, but acquire a copy of this book as soon as you find one.
I'm off to read mine now. You guys don't know what you're missing!
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!
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