There’s something about figure drawing books that makes them all look the same, and I don’t just mean that one unclothed body is very much like another. I think the simple fact is that you always land up with the same dismembered body parts, the same way of analysing muscle structure and very similar poses. In the end, it all seems a bit like a medical textbook.
Never mind though, if that’s the way it is, then that’s the way it is and, if someone comes up with a radical approach, it’s a pound to a penny that I’ll be complaining that they’ve ignored a tried and tested formula. Faced with the dilemma, I’ll eat my cake rather than having it, but thanks for the offer.
So, having pretty much condemned this one before we’ve even opened it, is there anything we can salvage? Well, the format helps, for a start, being landscape rather than the usual upright, meaning that the illustrations move across the page rather than up and down it. This may seem like a small thing, but it stands out and gives a more logical sense of movement, which is usually what you’re trying to convey in a static, two-dimensional form. All the main stuff is there – how to do heads, bodies, arms and legs, how the muscles work, how it all fits together and how both male and female bodies work (unlike many, this book does seem to be an equal-opportunity employer). Altogether, it’s a nice compilation and doesn’t overdo its subject, which can also be a problem.
There’s a lot of choice out there in the world of figure drawing books, but this one stands well with the rest and would make an excellent primer.