Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Best Figure Drawing Books Ever

I put together this list of my favorite figure drawing, sketching and anatomy books for fellow artists and student friends. You can download any and all of these books for free. I hope you'll find them useful.

Alone At Number One
Topping my list of the best drawing books ever, stands THE PRACTICE & SCIENCE OF DRAWING by Harold Speed. Quite possibly the most influential book I have ever read, and you know I don't throw the "i" word around that freely. I bought this book when I was seventeen years old hoping to find a few pointers and some nifty tips on how to draw but instead I found an epiphany. To say that this book changed my life is not an exaggeration in the least but an actual understatement.

For those of you who have attended or are currently attending an Art College, these teachings may not be such a revelation, it is no secret that most art teachers use Harold Speed's book like a preacher uses the Holy Bible but judging from the overall mediocrity of today's 'high' art education, I would dare say this book is worth ten years of any decent art school's body of knowledge. The one truly remarkable thing about this book is its timelessness; this edition was first published in London in 1917, yet everything this man wrote in this volume holds true to this day and at times, it seems as if it was written just a few months ago, nothing here is dated but the Victorian flavor of the writing.

I read this book every once in a while (the same old beat up copy you see in the above picture) and it never ceases to amaze me, I discover something new and helpful to me, every single time. More than a mere technical, how-to, instructional manual, this book deals intelligently and concisely with the meaning, psychology and science of art, and in particular, the art of drawing.

You can download it for free by clicking on this link:
The Practice and Science of Drawing

The Andrew Loomis Collection
Loomis was a great artist, but he was a better teacher. For the most part his art remained academic in the good sense of the word but at the same time, it never trascended that label. His books, however, are indispensable resources on art technique. I first downloaded these beauties back in 2001 from the 'Save Loomis Foundation" which no longer hosts them, most every artist friend I know has these books in pdf format, if the links ever go bad I'm sure you'll have no trouble finding someone who has them. I've read in some forums some douchebags attacking Loomis for being boring, (usually the attack is perpetrated by horrible teenage comic book artists) it's quite easy to spot these idiots, because they prefer Hogarth's made-up bullshit anatomy, they find it more "dynamic" but if you really want to acquire solid drawing skills, Loomis is your man, for sure. You know my motto: Learn how to put something together the right way before you take it apart, the wrong way.

You can download it for free by clicking on this link:
Drawing the Head and Hands

You can download it for free by clicking on this link:
Figure Drawing for All Its Worth

You can download it for free by clicking on this link:
Successful Drawing

You can download it for free by clicking on this link:
Creative Illustration

You can download it for free by clicking on this link:
Fun With The Pencil

You can download it for free by clicking on this link:
Eye of the Painter

The Best Anatomy for Artists Book, Period!!
In my not so humble opinion, this is the best tool you have, to decode the human figure. Never mind it is written in German, use the google translator if you must but make an effort to follow this wonderful set of instructions. Some people migh be put off by a few of the crude line drawings but I think they are accurately depicted and full of stylish charm. Just by looking at the simplified forms depicting the mechanics of the body parts you will learn how things are put together in relation to each other. George Bridgman's anatomy books are essential but Gottfried Bammes' is necessary because it makes anatomy fun and easy to learn, he rocks my drawing world for reals.

You can download it for free by clicking on this link:
Der Nackte Mensch
by Gottfried Bammes

The George Bridgman Collection

You can download it for free courtesy of the Universal Digital Library by clicking on this link:
Constructive Anatomy

You can download it for free courtesy of the Universal Digital Library by clicking on this link:
The Human Machine

You can download it for free by clicking on this link:
Bridgman's Complete Guide To Drawing From Life
Note: After download add the .pdf extension to the name of the file

Edit: At the time I was putting this post together my friend Barry emailed me two recommendations: 'Drawing the Head' by William Maughan and 'The Human Figure' by J.H. Vanderpoel, the Vanderpoel book I've seen before and I strongly recommend, I just ordered the William Maughan's one, I'll give you my impressions after I take a gander at it.
Added 3 George Bridgman books.



Marcelo Braga said...

Theese books are amazing! I had a couple of them in PDF, but now I'll download all the library. They sure will be very usefull. Thanks!

Ivan said...

Excelentes libros alberto .. gracias por publicar este articulo.

YA voy a imprimir uno para empastarlo . (porque conseguir el original va a estar dificil!)

- Berni

Chrissie A said...

This is fantastic. I am so desperately in need of help at the moment. I have a few of the Loomis books but not THE PRACTICE & SCIENCE OF DRAWING, which I'm downloading now.

Alberto, thanks for these links! And I must say I'm completely charmed by that photo... :)

Bill said...

Funny, James Gurney had a similar post a couple days, but without the links...thanks for posting these!

Steffi said...

Alberto you are the best! I thought about buying that Bammes book for a while now, but what kept me from it, is that it is really really expensive - at least for my budget. Now I dont have to worry about that anymore! And its even a German version! Thank you so much for sharing those links!

Craig Zablo said...

I'm no artist, but I love art and learning more about the process. Thanks Alberto!

Process Junkie said...

Marcelo, Craig: You're welcome!

Bernie: Los libros usados originales son pocos y los venden muy caros. Hay que aprovechar! :)

Chrissie: Heh, heh, I wonder what happened to that plaid shirt . . .hmmmn.

Bill:Great minds think alike LOL! I don't think this is a great coincidence, most illustrators over thirty are pretty familiar with these, even younger artists who are academically trained have learned a thing or two from these books.

Every time I visit an 'old' artist friend I find the very same set of books in his/her personal library. it speaks volumes of the ageless appeal of these artists and also of the effectiveness of these books as learning tools.

Steffi:I don't mind sharing at all, every artist should have access to theese, I wish I would have thought of it sooner.

I know you must be in heaven, a German version! Let's thank those people who took the time to scan them in and upload them for our benefit.
A tip of the hat to those folks at The Project Gutenberg They're doing a great job making all that literature available.

Janderson said...

Hey, Man! Thanks a lot for this books!! I "rss" you, but never comment... shame of me! :(
But Im here to thanks you (again) for this post and for sharing your art!

david said...

Hey man, I've been lurking your blog, and absolutely loving it, but my god I had no idea how much I would identify with you on this post. The Practice and Science of Drawing changed my life, too. When I found that book and started pouring through it, it gave me the same feeling I had when I met my wife the first time - kindred spirits. I've read it multiple times, and every time I find something new and learn more and more about my craft.

The Loomis books are amazing, too. I've been a big fan and I long for the day when I can have physical copies - for now I'll live with my PDFs.

I've never heard of the Bammes book but it is -so- on my list now. Your taste has already been proven to be impeccable, so I trust you implicitly.

It's so great to find another person who loves Speed's book. Every artist I live around, when I tell them about it, gives me a blank stare. You have made my day!!

George Cwirko-Godycki said...

you must also look at George Bridgman, he was the most helpful for understanding the figure

Connor Willumsen said...

Appreciate you posting these Alberto

13toon's said...

great post, i love the loomis books, i own one and used it alot. never really heard the other books to much, but thank you, just add them to my library. thanks alot bye 4 now.

Rob Bodnar said...

These e-books are GOLD, thanks! Much gratitude also for sharing your process and materials.

Ivan said...

Mil gracias!! llevaba tiempo buscando los libros de Loomis, y aquí, al otro lado del charco la cosa esta complicada!!

¡Y de paso te añado!

Faboun'e said...

I think that it's a great thing to let us learn with your book... and for free !!! It's amazing to see a man who made some things like this .... I will learn and learn this .. thanks a lot

Process Junkie said...

Yo, I'm happy you guys and gals are downloading these books like crazy, the stats are going through the roof, no doubt they will help you understand the human figure. There's no substitute for life drawing and furious everyday practice but these books will aid you in sharpening your observational skills for sure.

david: I'm yet to find a modern day book on drawing that comes close to expressing the wisdom and common sense I found in Speed's words.
I've always thought Drawing -not painting- is the single most essential, natural and visceral form of expression. There could be no painting (no good painting anyways) without a solid drawing. Speed makes a strong case for this.

Most younger artists never heard of Harold Speed and couldn't care much for wordy books on Drawing, it is a shame because they're missing out on learning how to become artists.
They want books that illustrate in 3 simple steps how to draw like this guy or the other, they're not interested in self development whatsoever. Fuck them.

Thanks again for the positive comments!


Dustin dArnault said...

oh man! thanks for posting you have no idea how much i wanted loomis book, its very expensive. i heard its one of the best,thanks again!


Dario Reyes said...

¿Qué puedo agregar que no lo hayan hecho en los comentarios anteriores? quizás es el hecho de que esta vez es en español (o castellano, nunca pude comprender la diferencia)

El solo hecho de enumerar los libros es una ayuda fantastica, pero postear los links es algo mucho mas grande.

No tengo mas que agradecimientos para vos.

io, Darius.

pd.: tengo una colección increible de libros con "tecnicas paso a paso" de dibujo. creo que ya es hora que deje de leer tanto y empieze a dibujar yo mismo... já! saludos.

Cooperphile said...

Thanks for these, Alberto! I've been downloading for days, now. :)

The links for Constructive Anatomy and The Human Machine point to the same file. It's the Constructive Anatomy one that's wrong.

Thanks again!

Tonatzin said...

Correct link for Constructive Anatomy:


Thank you for this post!!! :)

baratas said...

Very good, your blog. Congratulations! Peace.

Process Junkie said...

Cooperfile, The Constructive Anatomy link was fixed. Thanks to Tonatzin.

Dario: A dibujar entonces! :)

RoB said...

Thank you for these links Alberto! Great knowledge here, time to get reading and sketching!




If you don't love the man I don't know what to tell you man....

its a great list and a nice photo you have there.
If i had to add some i would say. SOME JACK HAMM, and some Vilppu Drawing Manual

Alison said...

Thank you so much! This is so valuable.

Process Junkie said...

I really like the Vilppu Manual. That's not a public domain book, though. You're going to have to buy it.

Kiko said...

AMAZING post!!!! WOA!

Very nice, man!

RLS said...

I downloaded a bunch of the Loomis pdfs a while back when they were up on but I never got the Bridgman ones as well as the others. Thanks a lot for putting these up man!

I'm Confused... Maybe said...

The Speed book is okay for the more intermediate artist, but if you want to learn how to DRAW, the Bridgman series (the last three books) will change your life!!! Don't take my word for it...

And thank you for the link...

ryan dot cooper at gmail dot com said...

Great post. I've linked to my blog.


Glen Fernández said...

Cuando estudiaba dibujo mi profesor me mostró los libros de Loomis y como no se conseguían tuve la oportunidad de fotocopiarlos (incluso para ese entonces ya eran reliquias aparte que eran primeras ediciones).
De la misma época que los libros de Loomis había una colección española llamada "Leonardo", y personalmente me parecía mejor (o mas fácil) que la de Loomis, aunque siempre me babeaba por los dibujos femeninos de loomis.
El del artista alemán me pareció excelente y es cómico que hizo referencia a loomis y Burne Hogarth.
Hogarth me parece que enseñaba excelente en sus libros sobre anatomía.
Que raro que estén dando libros de George Bridgman, hace unos años compre toda la colección re-editada desde el shop de Joe Kubert, a menos que ya se hallan agotado ^^.
De Bridgman, el libro de las 100 manos es genial y sumamente recomendable.

También hay un libro de un tipo por allí llamado Alberto que es sobre técnicas de illustator que también es bueno ;) jejeje


Process Junkie said...

I'm Confused... Maybe I think you're confused, :p Speed's book is not an anatomy book, it's about understanding drawing, it is about a set of principles, some of which have very little to do with technique or academic worthiness but rather with feeling, passion and purpose.

You can use technical manuals like Bridgman's to hone your skills as a draftman and to help you solve the riddle of the human body. But you need Speed's keen and timeless observations to help you breath life into your creations. A perfect and anatomically correct academic drawing is as boring as a Nascar race without a ten-car pile up.

Speed won't teach you how to DRAW, no one can teach you how to draw in one single book. He will teach you how to SEE. He will make it easier for you to teach yourself to draw.

Here's a random excerpt from the book:

"You may often observe them come in, pin a piece of paper on their board, draw a line down the middle, make a few measurements, and start blocking in the drawing without having given the subject to be drawn a thought, as if it were all there done before them, and only needed copying, as a clerk would copy a letter already drafted for him.

Now, nothing is being said against the practice of drawing guide lines and taking measurements 266and blocking in your work. This is very necessary in academic work, if rather fettering to expressive drawing; but even in the most academic drawing the artistic intelligence must be used, although that is not the kind of drawing this chapter is particularly referring to.

Look well at the model first; try and be moved by something in the form that you feel is fine or interesting, and try and see in your mind's eye what sort of drawing you mean to do before touching your paper. In school studies be always unflinchingly honest to the impression the model gives you, but dismiss the camera idea of truth from your mind. Instead of converting yourself into a mechanical instrument for the copying of what is before you, let your drawing be an expression of truth perceived intelligently.

Be extremely careful about the first few strokes you put on your paper: the quality of your drawing is often decided in these early stages. If they are vital and expressive, you have started along lines you can develop, and have some hope of doing a good drawing. If they are feeble and poor, the chances are greatly against your getting anything good built upon them. If your start has been bad, pull yourself together, turn your paper over and start afresh, trying to seize upon the big, significant lines and swings in your subject at once. Remember it is much easier to put down a statement correctly than to correct a wrong one; so out with the whole part if you are convinced it is wrong. Train yourself to make direct, accurate statements in your drawings, and don't waste time trying to manoeuvre a bad drawing into a good one. Stop as soon as you feel you have gone wrong and correct the work 267in its early stages, instead of rushing on upon a wrong foundation in the vague hope that it will all come right in the end. When out walking, if you find you have taken a wrong road you do not, if you are wise, go on in the hope that the wrong way will lead to the right one, but you turn round and go back to the point at which you left the right road. It is very much the same in drawing and painting. As soon as you become aware that you have got upon the wrong track, stop and rub out your work until an earlier stage that was right is reached, and start along again from this point. As your eye gets trained you will more quickly perceive when you have done a wrong stroke, and be able to correct it before having gone very far along the wrong road.

Do not work too long without giving your eye a little rest; a few moments will be quite sufficient. If things won't come, stop a minute; the eye often gets fatigued very quickly and refuses to see truly, but soon revives if rested a minute or two.

Do not go labouring at a drawing when your mind is not working; you are not doing any good, and probably are spoiling any good you have already done. Pull yourself together, and ask what it is you are trying to express, and having got this idea firmly fixed in your mind, go for your drawing with the determination that it shall express it.

All this will sound very trite to students of any mettle, but there are large numbers who waste no end of time working in a purely mechanical, lifeless way, and with their minds anywhere but concentrated upon the work before them. And if the mind is not working, the work of the hand will be of no account. My own experience is that one 268has constantly to be making fresh effort during the procedure of the work. The mind is apt to tire and needs rousing continually, otherwise the work will lack the impulse that shall make it vital. Particularly is this so in the final stages of a drawing or painting, when, in adding details and small refinements, it is doubly necessary for the mind to be on fire with the initial impulse, or the main qualities will be obscured and the result enfeebled by these smaller matters."

Glen: Ese Alberto no sabe lo que hace :)

becca said...

How do I open this if I have a mac?

Process Junkie said...

Open what, precisely?

If you're talking about the books, to download them to your mac, just click on the link below the cover of each one, once downloaded the PDFs will appear on your browser (Safari or Firefox) to save to your desktop just go to File>Save As.. on Safari's menu bar.

Good luck!

nuisance said...

Alberto thanks so much for the resources, i been meaning to get a hold of George Bridgman books, I mostly use the books by Burne Hogarth. Thanks again sir you are truly the man...



oh no, not again :)

Process Junkie said...



:) :)

Bobby Chiu said...

haven't seen some of these. Thanks Alberto!

Process Junkie said...

No problem, Bob!

Sorry I missed the dragon deadline, catch you next time for sure!

Saludos para Kei!

kasap said...

Cool, i was looking for those bridgman books thanks,

i thought i would see Betty Edwards book: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain here too as a suggetions cause i liked the assignments in the books with looked really simpel at first but made you see beter eventualy,


Matt J said...

These books via your post really do represent a 'university' of drawing instruction. Thanks for taking time to post up the links & I appreciate the recommendations.

Process Junkie said...

Kasap: I don't know about "Drawing on the Right Side of The Brain" but I can definitely recommend Alberto Ruiz's "Drawings From The Wrong Side of The Brain" available in two weeks. :P

You're welcome, Matt j


ha ha :)

Process Junkie said...

COMIKXGUY: Yo, I wasn't joking!!
The retrospective compiled and published by Heavy Metal will go on sale in about two weeks, seriously!!

The official title of the book is: "BOCETTO" "DRAWINGS FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BRAIN"


actually i thought it was funny that you named it not knowing of that book

it seemed like you knew about it

look into that book, you might like it

Dustin said...

I'm just a lurker, so forgive me if this has been answered a billion times - what is it you so dislike about Burne Hogarth's books?

Process Junkie said...

Nothing to forgive, Dustin. a perfectly valid question I don't mind answering at all. Thanks for asking.

The fake anatomy, that's what I don't like.

I believe that these books are horrible for a young, impressionable art student, who needs to understand how the body is really put together before he takes it apart, allow me to explain why:

This is not Hogarth's fault but the student's. But the student doesn't know better, so my stern warnings are directed towards them. The would be artists are wrongly told they will learn correct anatomy from these volumes, they WILL NOT! Just like you will never learn correct anatomy from any of my books either.

Not one, not two, nor three but hundreds and perhaps thousands of stupid teachers, naive students and mediocre artists (mostly comic book artists) recommend these books as tools for gaining knowledge on human anatomy, I have an issue with that, THESE ARE NOT ANATOMY BOOKS. I don't care what the label says.

Hogarth himself suggests in his book, "Dynamic Figure Drawing" that the art student should already be familiar with and have a thorough knowledge of human anatomy and of academic figure drawing (kind of a disclaimer, if you'd asked me). He goes on to claim that his book will help the student invent foreshortening and dynamic poses, which the real LIFE models couldn't possibly hold for long periods of time in order for the student to capture on paper, I believe this is utter bullshit because if you've already acquired such sound anatomy principles through the careful observation of LIFE and the vigorous and systematic practice of figure drawing, you too would be able to turn and twist the human forms at will, therefore, you too can 'invent' your own so call 'dynamic' poses, do you see my point?
In other words, these books are useless by his own admission.

Read my words carefully, NO student will learn anatomy from Hogarth's books, I repeat: THESE ARE NOT ANATOMY BOOKS. that is what I always say, nothing less, nothing more. The best you will do is to learn his nannerisms and amplify his mistakes.

These are fun, though sometimes stiff comic book drawings and as such, full of errors and inconsistencies, repetitivenes and innacuracies, what works in a comic book as a stylized action pose which aids in telling a story, does not work as an example of correct anatomy.

The abstractions have already taken place, the forms have already been streamlined. the idiosyncratic mannerisms and limitations of Hogarths' figures are painfully apparent because these have been invented by him, THESE ARE NOT DRAWN FROM LIFE, as dynamic as they may appear on the surface to the uneducated viewer (and I mean uneducated as in 'uninformed'), if you look closer you can see how contrived and un-natural these figures and poses really are.

I can definitely see why comic artists love this shit, though. Bridgman (as great as he was as a teacher of correct anatomy) will never appeal to young students, he's not 'dynamic' and fun enough. Bridgman's books are boring but guess what? they are truly useful.

If you haven't picked up an anatomy book before and find yourself super impressed by the "coming at ya", "in your face" shots found in the 'Dynamic series' , you might grow to believe that these are anatomically accurate or somewhat accurate, they're neither.

That is the problem when we learn to draw from comic books. As everyone knows, Burne Hogarth drew Tarzan for the Sunday comics, which is fine as an iconized human depiction, I guess but I would not recommend these books to learn real anatomy from, no Sir!

At best, these Hogarth books are nothing but glorified versions of "How to Draw The Marvel Way" which I believe was published a decade or two later. Cylinders and spheres, nothing more! Actually, if you really want to learn how to draw comics (after you learn anatomy) I recommend the Marvel book over any one of Hogarth's volumes, anytime. John Buscema was ten times a better artist than Hogarth ever was.

BTW, Hogarth's "Dynamic Wrinkles & Drapery" is the worst art instruction book ever!

Dustin said...

Thanks for the response, that's exactly the kind I was looking for. Next time I thumb through his books I'll definitely look at them with a more critical eye. You should turn that response into a post. More than a few people have pointed me towards his wrinkles and drapery book as the ultimate resource for learning to draw drapery. Very interesting.

Process Junkie said...

All you need to do is to look at
THIS COVER . Beginning with the awkward pose of a man who seems to be hanging from invisible wires attached to his joints suffering from a severe case of arthritis, so un-natural looking, contrived and over rendered, even for comic book standards (which are already low) everyone wears silk pajamas. No wonder super hero comics are so bad, it seems like a lot of comic artists LOVE this look. AAARRRRRGHHH!!!!

Andresin said...


gracias por compartir esto. como chrissie, también estoy en una etapa en la cual necesito de un empujoncillo para aterrizar la figura humana.
ahora sólo una pregunta. ¿con cuál comienzo?

thanks once again!

- A.

Process Junkie said...

Hmmm . . . puedes empezar con el libro de Bammes y reconciliar esa información con Bridgman "The Complete Guide to Drawing From Life".

Alex said...

I'm from Brazil (South America)... Really, I don't have words to describe how important is this blog. Thank you and congratulations!

I'm getting all books that you post!!!

Sorry about my poor English! :D

Alex said...

I'm from Brazil (Rio de Janeiro)!!! Really, I don't have words to describe how your blog is important.

Thank you so much... I wish you and your family have success and piece.

Sorry about my poor English! :D

Alex said...

I'm from Brazil (Rio de Janeiro)!!! Really, I don't have words to describe how your blog is important.

Thank you so much... I wish you and your family have success and piece.

Sorry about my poor English! :D

Alex said...

I'm from Brazil (Rio de Janeiro)!!! Really, I don't have words to describe how your blog is important.

Thank you so much... I wish you and your family have success and piece.

Sorry about my poor English! :D

Process Junkie said...

Thank you Alex, Thank you Alex and thank you Alex!
I appreciate your comments.

Chris Solarski said...

Hi Lucio!

I just wanted to stop by to thank-you for the amazing resource of books you've put together.

I regularly critique on the Society of Figurative Arts forum and I've started referring users to your website whenever a classic book is mentioned. I hope you don't mind?

Here's link to a post in question, if you'd like to take a look:

I enjoyed looking through your daily scribblettes, by the way.

Thanks again!
Chris Solarski (cas)

Process Junkie said...

Chris: Thanks for the link and for the referrals, I appreciate it. Nice of you to drop by.

My best to your group of fine artists and hurray for figure drawing!


Carlos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carlos said...

Hey Alberto!
Many thanks for these links to the books man, they are excellents!
I didn't knew these from George Bridgman and Gottfried Bammes.
Speaking of which, I couldn't make the download of this one from Gottfried Bammes on the Megaupload.
Sorry to ask you that, but could you please upload it in some other server? This one seems pretty interesting!
I really like your blog, there is a lot of good stuff so please keep on with the great work and my best wishes to you! By the way, sorry about my bad english, I'll improve! =D

Godo. said...

acá un buen par de libros más
buena vida siempre

rakuda said...

These links are absolutely wonderful. So is your site. I find however that I disagree fundamentally with several of the Oscar Wilde quotes. I won't go into it at length, but say only that it causes me to think. I personaly feel that everything structural that we create is fiction of one sort or another. I think there are probably many ways to approach learning. Imitation is one, and another is by simple observation based on where you started. I don't think there is anything wrong with extreme imitation so long as one realizes that the aren't the other person, nor are they nature, therefore all imitation need be taken "with a grain of salt" so to speak. It must be mediated by a sort of questioning and inquiry that is personal.

Anyway, that's my thought.

Love the site. Thanks for making me think.

Paulo said...

Hola, I'm new to this amazing world of art and would like some advice.
I'm studying with those books, and I'm a REAL begginer (I'm starting with Betty Edwards book).
Finishing her book, I pretend to read Harold Speed's one... and then I don't know what else to study.
I have Loomis', Bridgman's, Kimon Nicolaides' The Natural Way to Draw, Vilppus' Drawing Manual, John Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing, Betty Edwards' The Art of Mixing Color, Ernerst Norling's Essay on the creative imagination and J.D. Hillberry's Drawing realistic textures in pencil,but I don't know what and in what order I should read :(
Do you have any advices? Is any of these books dispensable? What book should I read first? I would appreciate very much a kind of reading order. :)
I'm afraid of leaping some steps, accidently, and regretting it later.
Thanks, and sorry for taking your time with this giant review.

gud said...

forgive me for sticking my oar in here... but the way i have gone about matters is thus....

1)Understand the aesthetics of design,composition and rhythm first of all. For without these, there is no art. Speed's book will help you here.
2)Understand the 3d structural concept below all the visual appearances of stuff and how they are affected by light & shade.
ie...cones, boxes, cylinders, spheres and eggs.
this will avoid the flat, cut-out look of nearly all amateur efforts
3)Only draw stuff from life when you know what you're looking for below nature's complex appearances.
ie. abstract aesthetic design elements and solid plastic structure, as mentioned in 1)and 2)
4)Rendering/technique/media considerations last and least of all. Unfortunately, most contemporary art-instruction book authors seem to think this is the one & only thing that matters.
Totally arse-over-tit IMHO.
(= back to front... in case any non-native english speakers are confused :)

hope this helps

Paulo said...

Thanks, gud! It really helped me :)
So Bridgman's and Loomis' books for number 2)?

gud said...

yup, i think they cover that subject pretty well.
glad to be of assistance.

thecrazydude srd said...

A great asortment of liturature for everyone, Although I will have to ask if you have seen Bridgman's Book of a Hundred Hands? I've searched high and low but allas it's always eluded my grasp. (pun not intended but eh...) Also I would like to add a rather lightly known book by Dr. Louise Gordon How to Draw the Human Figure; An Anatomical Aproach This book is a bit advanced but does cover a great deal of information with some very well done drawings and diagrams.

Kanga said...

Just a humble thanx man!

Cheerio Chris

PixX said...

I don’t agree with many views expressed. Take for example the choice of books; since when do we need to pick nothing but old books, is there something wrong with modern books or we just trying to pretend to be “real artists” or whatever you all want to pretend to be?

You know what’s one of the qualities of a great artist? Honest and openness, willing to learn at any time, from any person, from any source. Or in plain English; you don’t need to read any Dickens book to become a great writer.

Bridgman books good? No, not for everybody. I have strong doubts that lots of people are going to be overwhelmed (or should I say “underwhelmed”) by these kind of books.

The let’s look at the title of this blog “The Best Figure Drawing Books Ever”, which is simply NOT true. The correct title should have been “In my opinion the Best Figure Drawing Books Ever”.
It’s the same with a comment like “The Best Anatomy for Artists Book, Period!!”.
It’s annnoying and it’s ignorant, it’s pretty much you saying “No discussion possible!”. So anyone who thinks he has seen a better anatomy (and there are MANY) is just simply wrong? I’m serious, how can you even call yourself artist with an attitude like that? Btw, I graduated in German and I still think it’s not the best anatomy book, but then again, it’s just an opinion, like it’s yours, the only diffrence is that I remind people this, you however try with titles like ““The Best Figure Drawing Books Ever”, “The Best Anatomy for Artists Book, Period!!”.

What works for you, doesn’t it mean it will work for everyone. There is also no need to read “The Practice and Science of Drawing” by Harold Speed, you make it sound like it’s a bible, because there are many other ways to achieve the same results. I’m for one not very charmed about the content of the book, not that’s it’s bad, his writign style simply doesn’t “click” with me, I think it’s longwinded.

Take two other books for example, Kimon Nicolaides - The Natural Way To Draw, Betty Edwards – The Other Side Of The Brain. Each book has people who adore and people who simply hate it.

It’s simply ignorant to think that what works for YOU will work for EVERYBODY.

Btw, I run 3 million visitors/year educational site, in case you wonder why I get annoyed when people like you try to push people in your one and only direction. It’s the same with human figure drawing, there is not a single technique that works for everybody, heck all people don’t even use the same pencils and other attributes.

Process Junkie said...

Dearest PixX,

OK, I took the bait, fine!
First of all, thanks for expressing your opinion, you are certainly entitled to disagree, secondly: YOU'RE WRONG!

That's right, you are incorrect in pretty much every statement you've made. I'll be brief and to the points:

"since when do we need to pick nothing but old books"
Nobody is putting a gun to your nuts and forcing you to pick anything. I wrote in "plain English": "I put together this list of MY FAVORITE figure drawing and anatomy books"

MY FAVORITE, that means MY OPINION, you have to understand something, I will not write the words "in my opinion" every single time I post my opinion, this is my blog so guess what? . . . . right!

"is there something wrong with modern books or we just trying to pretend to be “real artists” or whatever you all want to pretend to be?

"You must be a child, because only a child could utter such nonsense.

There are opinions and there are facts, Fact: The human body has not changed in a hundred years, we have the same amount of muscles and the same amount of bones, the instruction found in those 'old' books is timeless, period!
"modern" books are not going to teach you anything "modern" about the body, as far as I know, we humans haven't grown a third arm or a penis under our armpit in the past 50 or so years. The flavor of the writing might turn you off but that's your problem.

These "old" books are also free, understand? FREE, meaning they are (as far as I'm aware) in the public domain, for your information, only old books qualify as "public domain" material. I am not going to scan and post links to contemporary books no matter how good they might be.

There are some nice figure drawing and anatomy books out there, sure! but they are not free, I posted links to great books, people can download for free to educate themselves, every book out there is not definite and obviously, you don't read me on a regular basis (fuck, you didn't even read this post) so you have no idea what I'm about.

We may differ, so what? the fact is these books are great. "The Natural Way To Draw" and "The Other Side Of The Brain" (as you call it), are pretty lame by comparison (That, my funky friend, is my opinion) I say this because I have both of them, "Brain" is not really a figure drawing book, just nice blabber.

"is there something wrong with modern books?" Plenty, some of which was stated in the comments above by GUD and I have also written about this issue in previous posts, but there are some that are OK, none of them are much better than the ones in my list. I like Sarah Simblet's books because they're fun and Louise Gordon's is pretty helpful and nicely illustrated but Simblet's are full of photographs and although the pics are nice, I prefer drawings.

"You know what’s one of the qualities of a great artist? Honest and openness"
Wrong, again! Fact: Picasso was one of the best artists who ever lived and also one of the biggest liars and dishonest men the world has ever known. Read Picasso: Creator and Destroyer by Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington.

"I’m serious, how can you even call yourself artist with an attitude like that?"
It is very difficult for anyone to win an internet argument, let alone to debate me on these issues because I've come here naked and flawed, no pretensions, no apologies (wait a minute! . . . that claim was pretentious!)

I've already expressed here on this very blog, a quazillion times, that I don't consider myself an artist or a writer or an illustrator, I use the "A" word like president Bush uses the word "freedom"

I don't pretend to be anything other than a person who loves to draw women, period. If I were to consider myself an artist by society's standards, I'd have to play these stupid games that the establishment demands of the "so called artists".

I have chosen to starve because I hate playing by the "rules", I am entirely self-taught, I never graduated in German or in any language, heck! I never even went to college, furthermore, I never went past 10th grade (that is not an opinion, that is a fact) I'm not proud of my lack of formal education but if I had to attend school with idiots like you I would have dropped out eventually.

I've confessed publicly here and in other forums that I have bought tons of Anatomy and figure drawing books early on but I never even opened them back then, just like you, I was intimidated by them but I grew up. It wasn't until I started making progress from life drawing and porn that I became interested in and made sense of these books.

Listen, you wanted to rant, so you did and I hope you feel better about yourself, you are nothing but a troll and that's a fact.

I stand behind my title, show me a better set of anatomy books and I'll buy them.

"I get annoyed when people like you try to push people in your one and only direction"
I don't want to push anybody to do anything, in fact, I don't give two rat asses if people didn't want to download these books, I don't make any money or benefit in any way if people listen to me and do as I tell them so you can sleep soundly tonight. I simply expressed my opinion here on my blog just like you did, I generalize often for effect, mostly for fun and to piss people like you off.

"What works for you, doesn’t it mean it will work for everyone. There is also no need to read “The Practice and Science of Drawing” by Harold Speed, you make it sound like it’s a bible, because there are many other ways to achieve the same results. I’m for one not very charmed about the content of the book, not that’s it’s bad, his writign style simply doesn’t “click” with me, I think it’s longwinded."

Where in my post does it say YOU NEED to read Harold Speed's book? You call me ignorant, well, I think you're stupid, how's that? I say that because you are fabricating things. I am one of the most independent individuals I know, I've learned anatomy (whatever little I know) by staring at live naked women for long periods of time and by making love to, and touching women for even longer periods of time (that is a fact). You should try that once in a while, it may relax you some, you are way too uptight (that is an opinion).

Right below the post in question I wrote: "what works for me may not work for you and viceversa Those who know me, know very well that that is not just a casual comment, I live my life that way and I admire those who do things the way they see fit.

This is what I wrote: (you can go back and read again if you're not too busy swiping manga) Quite possibly the most influential book I have ever read Now, what does that mean to you? For your information, that is MY OPINION, not a fact, get it yet?

I am not shoving it down your throat, I couldn't care less if you read it, I simply present the alternatives to paying good money for mediocre 'modern' books. Here, you can download it, if you don't like the fucking book so what? you did not pay anything for it. So chill out and be happy you have these resources available. Life is about having choices, I made the choice to reply to your retarded coments, now I'm bored to tears. The choice of remaining ignorant is totally yours.

"Btw, I run 3 million visitors/year educational site The fact that you "run 3 million" does not impress me in the least, I sprayed 5 million all over the walls of a public bathroom once and nobody gave me a medal for it. Please don't read my shit, I'm warning you, like I did when I first started this blog 3 years ago, everything here is about me, (that's a fact!) that includes MY OPINION.

Please don't comment again, Thanks!.


Process Junkie said...

Sorry Pixx, I had enough of you. Please understand this is not personal,you make it personal with silly comments like that. You can disagree all you want, I don't need you to kiss my ass and be a Yes man but you made a big deal out of nothing and I replied to you just to amuse myself.

You are just focused on the fucking title of my post, you ignored the content and you're not man enough to admit you fucked up. I, on the other hand, am the biggest fuck up, and too immature to care about your whining, it bothers you that I say "The Best Ever" that's all, well, too bad. You still don't get it but that's OK.

You still didn't name any "modern' books that are better than the ones I posted. You basically agree with everything I said but can't bring yourself to admit it and that's OK too.

BTW the Loomis Family owns the copyrights by default but they don't give a shit if the whole world downloads these books. They don't care about protecting the legacy of the old man. Do you know why? because they hate him, I've been told he was a shitty father and a lousy husband.

Me, I really don't give a shit about his personal life, those old books are way better than anything you can show me, how's that for immature!