How to






The reviews in this section are purely the opinions of the artist, who has read and watched each of the texts and videos reviewed, but makes no guarantee as to the suitability of any of these texts or videos to other people.

Figurative Art

"American Artist: Figure Drawing I: Anatomy of the Head" DVD. The Salmagundi Series. Dan Thompson
- This DVD describes the morphology of the head as the artist intermingles information on the anatomy while drawing the facial portrait of a live model. There is some very good information on shading as well.

"Anatomy for Artists: The Human Head" DVD. Larry Withers
- The DVD is short but packed full of information about the skull and the muscles of the head. It includes proportions of the morphology, how each muscle moves the surface of the face to produce emotions, the differences between male and female features, and the difference between age groups.

"Anatomy for Artists: The Human Form Revealed" DVD. Larry Withers
- The DVD is packed full of information about the human figure, it's muscles, skeletal structure, and proportions. Although information about the head is missing; for that you need the previous DVD. Very good for anyone interested in drawing the figure from their imagination.

"Anatomy for Artists: Man in Motion" DVD. Larry Withers
- The DVD is packed full of information about the human figure in motion. It goes into which muscles perform which movements and how they either flex or contract. Very good for anyone interested in drawing a human figure that is not standing still and upright.

"Anatomy for Fantasy Artists" by Glenn Fabry
- This book is for people who are already comfortable drawing the normal figure and want to draw and paint along the lines of Boris or Frazetta. There is a focus on figures in action and on different body types, from very defined musculature in heros and heroines to other worldly characters that can be created as an offshoot of human figures. This book teaches by offering many examples of figures in action, from different perspectives, and with different expressions, but emphasizes practice as the method to become proficient drawing fantasy characters. I found this book enjoyable and helpful for beginning to create my own creatures from imagination.

"Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters" by Robert Beverly Hale and Terence Coyle
- The typical anatomy expected from an anatomy book is minimal and placed only at the end of this book. Instead, it uses Masters style drawings to depict the descriptions of anatomy. While it was a mildly helpful addition to other sources, I would not recommend this book.

"Artistic Anatomy" by Dr. Paul Richer
- This is a large, very full book. The first half is pure anatomy, almost all text with a very few figures, almost all of which I passed by after trying to read some of it. It reads very much like being in an anatomy class. The second part of the book is packed with figures and plates of all the bones, muscles, even surface veins, and many excellent sketches of the body in various positions. I would buy this book for the second half alone, as it is an excellent reference when facing any doubts about how the structure of the body affects its depiction.

- This website has over 100 (and rising) videos on art, most of which are more than an hour long. They add approximately one video per week. Subjects range from instruction on how to use various media to how to paint or draw a particular subject, such as figure drawing. Figurative lessons include how to draw the body, how to paint portraits, how to draw a face using the grisaille method, how to paint people in certain mediums such as oil and watercolor. I took out a 6-month subscription and was very happy with it. In the future, I will take out another subscription.

"Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist" by Stephen Rogers Peck
- As the title says, this is an anatomy book with the typical amount of muscles, skeletal structures, and some veins. The are few renderings of figures, and these are only very light sketches. There are some plates of men and women in mostly ordinary standing poses. One thing I liked was the photo of a posed person on one page and the exact same pose in anatomically rendered muscles on the adjoining page. However, there were only a couple of these in the entire book, and, like all the figures in the book, the lighting of the photos was such that little shadow was available to distinguish one muscle mass from the next.

"Drawing Cutting Edge Anatomy" by Christopher Hart
- This book is helpful if you want to draw extreme or comic book characters. Using Line Drawings (a few full color), Mr. Hart shows extreme musculature on various types of physiques. The contents of this book are very action oriented, with the premise that comic book characters are most successful when displaying a lot of action. I would not recommend this book if you are beginning to learn how to draw the figure. However, if you already feel confident in your figure drawing, and you want to go into comics, this may be a nice addition.

"Drawing Dynamic Hands" by Burne Hogarth
- There are many sketches of hands in this book, many showing the parts of the hand in geometric shapes and showing the directions of movement that the parts can take. In addition to basic anatomy, Mr. Hogarth explains the proportions and measurements of the palm and fingers in relationship to the hand itself and to other parts of the body. The many depictions of movement and poses of the hand were well worth the read for me.

"Dynamic Figure Drawing" by Burne Hogarth
- Mr Hogarth uses text and many shapes, drawn in light and shadow, to focus on how the parts of the body interact with each other. At first, the overly muscled bodies were difficult to comprehend, but upon a second reading I found many of them helpful, although some of his figures were still confusing. This book needs a second or third reading as the concepts are somewhat advanced. There is much focus on action and foreshortening. This is a definite read for those wanting to create their own moving figures.

"Figure Anatomy for the Artist" a Craftsy video with Roberto Osti
- This is a wonderful comprehensive video of anatomy for the artist that is several hours long. Craftsy is an online video library of fine art, fabric art, beading, and culinary videos, where you pay to see a video as many times as you want. The price is low and well worth the information in the video.

"Figure Drawing" by Richard G. Hatton
- This is mostly a descriptive text intermixed with sketches of partial and whole figures. In light of other sources, this book is not necessary. The sketches are too few and not well enough defined such that it does not help much to figure out how to draw even a statically posed figure.

"Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy" by Christopher Hart
- Mr Hart's figurative depictions are line drawings with a bit of shadow. This book cuts right to the chase with a wealth of line drawings, highlights of individual muscles and skeletal structures important to drawing, comparative sexual anatomy, perspective, how to draw action, and the effects of shifting body weight. Each subject is not done in any great detail, but I found the explanations relevant and not overburdened by excessive anatomical detail that would not further the subject of drawing.

"Human Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form" by Eliot Goldfinger
- This is a very complete anatomy book. Not only does it have all the skeletal and muscle parts, it has an extensive photo display of facial expression and emotion, and many pages of relaxed and tensed, 360degree photos of body parts next to muscle diagrams. However, while the facial expressions were very helpful, the body sections were not as helpful to me as might be expected. Also, the short vein section is not very helpful. Although there is no focus on action, there is a section at the back with armatures and models in a variety of standing poses.

"The Book of a Hundred Hands" by George B. Bridgman
- I always try to find something helpful in every book I read. However, I'm sorry to say that I couldn't find much in this book. The sketches were often too sketchy and I was often unable to link up the text with the figure that was supposed to explain it.

"The Human Figure - an Anatomy for Artists" by David K. Rubins
- This is a thin book filled mostly with figures depicting skeletal structures, muscles, and sketches of partial and full body, with an additional page on what the aged and very young bodies look like. Although it is no where near the magnitude of parts included in "Artistic Anatomy", it is a good visual reference for practice drawing and is a good additional reference to other texts.

"The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression" by Gary Faigin
- This 287 page book is a treasure trove of information about facial expression, including the muscles that create them and how to draw expression in the parts of the face, as in eyes, mouth, nose, and forehead. By the end of this book you should be well on your way to drawing much more than the typical still face.

- This is a website that shows you both male and female full figure in muscles, along with other options. You have complete 360 degree control of the figure with the mouse and the ability to zoom in with the mouse. If you click on a muscle, it will become completely highlighted, with all the other muscles greyed out, and the name of the muscle is given. I found it very helpful.

- There is a wealth of short videos on YouTube that can be helpful with figurative work. There are so many good ones that I would be typing forever to list all of them. Here, I give a list of some of the channels that I've watched and a few different videos in each channel. A search will get you going on enough videos to last you months of viewing time.