I’ve known this book since it first appeared in 1992 and I always thought the layout was a bit uninspired. In spite of that, it ran to several editions and filled an acknowledged need for reference material for figure drawing. It has now been given a complete makeover in a new edition which has transformed it into what it should, really, have always been.
Flicking through initially, you may well think that the material looks a bit old-fashioned and this, as well as a rather uninspired layout and some less-than-perfect production made up my original objections. Much of this, however, has been addressed now and the layout and printing are far beyond what they were and the spiral binding means that the pages lay flat if you want to copy. The material is the same though and it’s the way it is largely because Ron Tiner is an illustrator in the inking tradition that can be traced back to Burne Hogarth and the great American comic-book artists. If this isn’t your taste, or you associate comics with the penny dreadful, you might have a problem, but it’s worth sticking around because there’s just such a wealth of ideas here and examples of figures in just about every pose you want, both static and in motion. All those people who bought the previous edition can’t be completely wrong, though they might be in a quandary about whether to shell out again.
You know what? There isn’t another book like this. Sure, there are plenty of photographic reference books, but they’re not the same. This comes with the artist’s overlay, figures that are interpreted, and that’s what makes the difference.
David & Charles 2008