Oct 7, 2013

Book Review: FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT’S WORTH




Book Review: FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT’S WORTH

I am going to begin this review with a contrary statement that I have not been looking forward to reviewing this book. Not because I have any misgivings about its quality or content, quite the opposite actually. This book is so well regarded that I felt reviewing it must prove to be somewhat pointless. I think that if these words reach just one person who has had the misfortune of never hearing about Loomis and his works before, then it would all be worth it.

If you are a professional artist, aspiring professional artist or historian of art/illustrations texts, then you already know that the quality of this work is exceptional and the only thing that this review will offer you is the knowledge that this epic tome that was first printed in 1943 is now back in print. So go order it right now before you have to wait another 40 years to be able to get your hands on it.

Andrew Loomis was an early century artist and illustrator who is best known for his authored works on the subject of traditional art fundamentals and illustration. He is well known not just for his own skill but his influence on inspiring generations of artists worldwide.

FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT’S WORTH is a large format coffee table style book that takes the reader through the complete process of figure drawing. The book begins with the basic mechanics of the human body and focuses on construction and could easily serve as a detailed medical anatomy book as well as an art instruction text. Careful consideration is given to a complete understanding of the basic form, both in a static nature and in all manner of dynamic poses and movement.

Later on the book, drapery, lighting and style are all given in depth treatments as well as pages of photographic reference with male and female figures walking and running. Loomis’ sensibility as a working illustrator is always present as he makes sure to consistently explain figure drawing in a contextual manner, whether it be explaining fore shorting in a group of figures or the treatment of text alongside specifically lit characters.

While not completely relevant, I was amused by his tips and techniques for dealing with professional workflows and dealing with art directors/buyers. While somewhat outdated, It gives the reader a fun glimpse into the life of an early century illustrator.

My favorite aspect of this book and all his books for that matter is the sheer volume of amazing sketches that Loomis has created to illustrate every point and technique held within. His treatment of line and form especially in regards to the female figure shows a superior knowledge and sensitivity that is often not seen in contemporary art and illustration. 

The bottom line is that if you do not already own FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT’S WORTH published by Titan Books, then you must get it. It is exceptional in every way and is sure to serve as a suburb reference for your entire figure drawing needs.