The first time I saw one of Loomis’ books in a bookshop I briefly perused it and put it back – they are large, slightly old-fashioned looking tomes and don’t have the flashy graphics and shiny colour pages that most modern offerings seem to use.
Looking through the video’s and writings of artists I admire, I quickly realised that I’d made an error. Loomis published his first book ‘Fun With a A Pencil’ in 1939 and further books followed. Figure Drawing was published in 1943 and the current edition is a splendidly reproduced hardback facsimile copy by Titan books. My fiancé bought me my copy as a gift.
The book itself contains the most detailed aids to drawing I have ever seen. Loomis’ books were out of print for years and old copies reached good prices with photocopied versions widely sought after.
There are 204 pages divided into 12 chapters covering proportions, perpective, gesture, outlines, anatomy, lighting and shadow, standing figures, figures in action, balance, sitting and kneeling figures, reclining figures, how to draw clothes and how to draw the head, hands and feet!
Loomis’ observational skills were incredible and he draws on this hard bought knowledge to set out how improve your own skills. On the left you can see how he illustrates the points at which bone shows at the surface.
You can see (right) also how much care he brings to the drawing of the lower leg – this attention to detail is typical of the author’s approach. No knowledge is assumed and every illustration adds to your ability to draw the human form.
If you want to draw people from imagination and not just copy the work of others then this book is, in my opinion, indispensible.
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