This book contains what I believe to be an innovation. Rather than follow the conventional path of showing a photograph of the sitter at the beginning of each demonstration, these are set in a studio context so that you can see both the pose and the drawing at the same time. The downside to this is that you’re sometimes left wishing for more detail in both but, on balance, I think the trade-off is worth it.
Joy Thomas also chooses to concentrate on the artistic interpretation of her subjects rather than major on the anatomical details. A lot of books on portraiture have taken the latter route of late and, while it’s perfectly valid – if you don’t get the basic structure right, nothing else will follow – it has sometimes been the more subjective approach that tells the viewer what you, the artist, feel about your sitter.
In the introductory sections, Joy also provides a sound introduction to the basics of portrait drawing as well as the demonstrations, which feature a good variety of subjects and media.