Thursday, December 30, 2010

Most Interesting Figure Drawing Books of 2010

The Art Student's Guide To The Proportions Of The Human Form
These are the ten life drawing books that readers of this site were most interested in in 2010. It's interesting that half of them are older books which have been republished or brought up to date in new editions and the others take a very classical approach to figure drawing. All are useful for the art student or artists who are designing figures for motion picture computer graphics or for video games.

The Art Student's Guide To The Proportions Of The Human Form - My own republication of Johann Gottfried Schadow's most complete treatise on the proportions of the human body.

Boris Röhrl in his book History and Bibliography of Artistic Anatomy makes a mention of Dr. Schadow's work:
"One of the first remarkable German publications of the 19th century was initiated by the director of the Dusseldorf academy, Gottfried Schadow, who edited a folio sized atlas with figures from Albinus in 1830. His atlas on proportions, printed four years later, entitled Policlet, was more successful and was re-printed six times. Copies from this work are still used in modern anatomies."
There is more at my post History of Artistic Anatomy. Read more about the book at

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How to Draw the Human Figure in Motion and How to Draw Action Figures

Click on the picture to see
the animated version
To draw a figure in motion or to animate a figure the first thing to observe is the structure of the skeleton and how the parts move as an action is completed. Observe each part of the body by itself and notice how foreshortening and perspective come into play as the parts move.

The animated example here is derived from Eadweard Muybridge's photographic study of a nude descending a staircase.

The dots represent the joints and the lines represent the bones. By reducing the figure to this simple form a framework can be built to represent movement. The Biomotion Lab Walker is an interesting example on the web of how to reduce a figure to its bare essentials, this example produces the illusion of movement with only dots representing the joints. The example goes farther and allows you to experiment with faster and slower movement and a male or female figure.

This is the basic structure for animation, for motion capture and for rendering computer animation for motion pictures and game animation.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Drawing Contour Cross Sections in Figure Drawing

Contour cross section lines superimposed on an image from a Postcard of Galathée by the French Sculptor Laurent-Honoré Marqueste in the Musée du Luxembourg. When doing your drawing pay attention to the curve of the form, but also to the perspective of the form and the what the plane of the cross section would be if a cross section was actually made.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to Draw a Volume Study of the Human Figure - Life Drawing

A volume study of the human figure is used in life drawing or figure drawing to help see the forms of the figure. The figure is broken down into geometrical components to help determine the posture and action of the figure. The shapes are based on the common geometrical shapes, and positioned according to the perspective of the figure. The sketch above is based on a figure from G.M. Ellwood and F.R.Yerbury's Studies of the Human Figure. The model is the same Dorothy Lees who modeled for Adolphe Armand Braun's Hieroglyphic or Greek Method of Life Drawing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Frank Weston Benson

Frank Weston Benson at CRN Auctions
Frank Weston Benson was an American Impressionist painter. He was was born in Massachusetts in 1879, he stuidied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and at the Académie Julian in Paris. He painted portraits and late in life painted many landscapes showing wildlife.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Charles Grignion engravings of the academic figures of Jean-Baptiste Van Loo

Charles Grignion engravings of the academic figures of Jean-Baptiste Van Loo published by Robert Sayer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How to Draw Hands

 These prints from The Principles of Drawing by Gerard De Lairesse. Published by Thomas Bowles: 1752, London. 5th Edition are for sale on Ebay.

The Principles of Drawing: or, An Easy and Familiar Method whereby Youth are directed in the Practice of the useful Art. Being A COMPLEAT DRAWING BOOK: Containing a Curious Collection of Examples in all the Variety of Cases; As the several Parts of the Human Body, whole Figures, Landskips, Cattle, Building &c. curiously Engraved on Copper-Plates, after the Designs of Albert Durer, Abrah. Bloemart, Carlo Morac, Le Clerc, Hollar, and other Great Masters. To which is prefix'd, AN INTRODUCTION TO DRAWING; Containg an Account of the Instruments and Materials used in DRAWING, and the Method of managing them; also Instructions to form the Judgment of a young Beginner, and direct his Hand in Practice, with easy and proper Lessons for him at the first Entrance. ALSO, Easy and Proper Lessons for a YOUNG BEGINNER, with Instructions to form his Judgment and direct his Practice. Translated from the FRENCH of Monsieur GERARD DE LAIRESSE, and improved with Abstracts from C.A. Du Fresnoy.

French 19th century academic drawing of a pair of hands. 

How to Draw the Hand and Foot A Layered Approach Part II  Draw Real Hands! (Discover Drawing Series)

Gerard de Lairesse: An Artist betweeen Stage and Studio The principles of drawing: or, an easy and familiar method whereby youth are directed in the practice of that useful art. Being a compleat drawing book

Sunday, December 12, 2010



Left: Georgia ( Caucasus) - Jew - Persian - Sontral India - Mahratta Deccan - Greek Nauplia - Russian - Pomeranian - Spaniard.

Right: New Guinea - Marquesas - Loondoo Dyak - Carib - Aboriginie - Guarani - New Zealand - Australian - Patagonian.


Left: Coptic Monk - Nubian - Galla - Mandingo - Bambara - Ashantee - Bushwoman - Kafir.

Right: Japanese - Kalmuck - Chinese Mandarin - Esquimo - Tibetan - Samoied - Hungarian - Norwegian - Roumelia.

Images are from the National Encyclopedia, London 1880.

These prints are for sale on Ebay.

Johann Gottfried Schadow published his Groups of Mankind according to their Races and Periods in 1824, followed by his  National Physiognomien  in 1835.

Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the 18th Centrury (Picturing History Series)
Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the 18th Centrury (Picturing History Series)

This print by A. Fullarton and Co. is for sale on Ebay.
An original antique steel plate engraved print published by A. Fullarton and Co. London and Edinburgh in the Gazetter of the World (1856). The name and place of publishing is in the bottom margin. In small print just below the print on the left is stated "Drawn by T.C. Dibdin from a Sketch by T. Bacon" and on the right "Engraved by E. Finden."

This print by Blackie and Son published around the middle of the 19th century is for sale on Ebay.

This print by The Popular Encyclopedia, Illustrated By Allan Cunningham C1837 is for sale on Ebay.
20 Faces Man Natural History 1866 Pl Lxxiv The Natural History of Man: Comprising Inquiries Into the Modifying Influence of Physical and Moral Agencies On the Different Tribes of the Human Family 
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