Figures in Action
by Andrew Loomis are part of the
well-known Walter Foster series of skinny art books, and they reprint
some of Loomiss art instruction from the 40s. This means that some of the
hairstyles and clothes may appear dated
(although clothes dont appear all
but the face and figure remain timelessly the same, and
breathtakingly rendered by Loomis.
Lets put it this way: the mighty
swears by Loomis and claims that this is where he learned to draw people.
How much higher recommendation could you want?!|
Whats that you say? Loomis isnt realistic enough??!! Then allow me to point you to the most amazing figure drawing books Ive yet seen: Drawing the Human Head: Techniques and Anatomy and How to Draw the Human Figure : An Anatomical Approach by Louise Gordon.
Seems to me that artists anatomy books often fall into two ruts: either, one, they teach a stylized, shortcut anatomy that will inevitably fail you at some crucial point cuz you never learned that pose, or, two, they will be witheringly accurate but also be filled with stuffy, pre-20th century, Grays Anatomy kind of drawings which in comics would look weird and wrong.
Louise Gordon miraculously avoids both pitfalls. She obviously knows the medical side of human anatomy inside-out , but much of that you can skim if it feels too much like homework, there wont be a test. She gently shows you how the inner anatomy shapes and affects the visible surface, in a way teaching you to figure out what any angle will look like. She divulges a number of excellent tips and pointers Ive never seen elsewhere, and her drawings look fresh, contemporary, and really alive, totally avoiding that medical illustrator mustiness. Gordons work was a revelation for me, and if youre heavily into drawing the human form as realistically as possible, I cant recommend these highly enough.
Heres another really good anatomy book with a slightly different slant than Gordons works: Drawing Human Anatomy by Giovanni Civardi. Where Civardis finished drawings may exhibit slightly less finesse than Gordons, and is missing a few of her valuable tips, Civardi gains points for thoroughness. What I found to be the most impressive part of his book is what amounts to a Guided Tour of the Head. Theres a section where he isolates and identifies every muscle of the face and head [i.e., a lot of em!] -- and he accompanies it with a drawing showing what the surface of the face and head look like when that muscle is being used! Some muscles make facial lines, others are subtler and only make little waves in the skin -- Civardi guides you through all of em. A truly awesome resource for the comic-book realist!
At first, How to Draw Portraits in Colored Pencil from Photographs by Lee Hammond may seem way outa line for a comic artist. It discusses the wrong drawing media, doesnt deal with sequential art, etc. But it does go deeply into the subject of drawing the human face -- and its hard to deny that facial expression and close-ups play a pretty major role in the drawing of most comics. So this book has a very specialized usefulness for us: it demonstrates a lot of nifty little tricks and observations that make the difference between the stiff, odd mannequin-faces of many comic artists, and living, expressive, fleshnblood, convincing people-faces. I know which kind I wanna do....