The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Perspective On the Classical Tradition Info

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Many of us want to learn “how to draw.” But as
artist Anthony Ryder explains, it’s much more important to learn
what to draw. In other words, to observe and draw what we actually see,
rather than what we think we see. When it comes to drawing the human
figure, this means letting go of learned ideas and expectation of what
the figure should look like. It means carefully observing the interplay
of form and light, shape and line, that combine to create the actual
appearance of human form. In The Artist’s Complete Guide to
Figure Drawing
, amateur and experienced artists alike are guided
toward this new way of seeing and drawing the figure with a three-step
drawing method.
The book’s progressive course starts with
the block-in, an exercise in seeing and establishing the figure’s
shape. It then build to the contour, a refined line drawing that
represents the figure’s silhouette. The last step is tonal work on
the inside of the contour, when light and shadow are shaped to create
the illusion of form. Separate chapters explore topics critical to the
method: gesture, which expresses a sense of living energy to the figure;
light, which largely determines how we see the model; and form, which
conveys the figure’s volume and mass. Examples, step-by-steps, and
special “tips” offer helpful hints and practical guidance
throughout.
Lavishly illustrated with the author’s stunning
artwork, The Artist’s Complete Guide to Figure Drawing
combines solid instruction with thoughtful meditations on the art of
drawing, to both instruct and inspire artists of all levels.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.17

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Reviews for The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Perspective On the Classical Tradition:

5

September 16, 2017

This book inspired and challenged me to reach heights I hadn't imagined. Attempting to copy Anthony's drawings as best as I could while reading about the mechanics of his process taught me more than any of my professors ever did about capturing the human form. I went from moderately skilled in gra...Full Review
4

Apr 06, 2011

I enjoyed the overall tone of the book -- friendly and helpful. The discussions on rendering and pencil-hatching techniques were highlights for me, and I intend to do some studies from his example drawings.
2

Jan 19, 2019

I don’t have anything bad to say about this book, but I must admit I grew impatient with it somewhere in the middle, and yet still I’ve finished reading it.

While I’m not sure the author’s method can be called “classic”, his approach is interesting and as a proof, the drawings are amazing. But like many many other figure drawing books, the endless, exhausting examples which try to put in words what you should really do with your eyes, could benefit much more if it was put in a video instead of a I don’t have anything bad to say about this book, but I must admit I grew impatient with it somewhere in the middle, and yet still I’ve finished reading it.

While I’m not sure the author’s method can be called “classic”, his approach is interesting and as a proof, the drawings are amazing. But like many many other figure drawing books, the endless, exhausting examples which try to put in words what you should really do with your eyes, could benefit much more if it was put in a video instead of a book.

...more
3

Jul 23, 2011

I'm reading and reviewing this book this week for a blog post next weekend.

Preface and Introduction: Getting to know the artist and what to expect from the book. Pretty basic stuff.

Chapter 1&2: The Materials, Technique, and Blocking In. Chapter one starts with a discussion of paper types, weight, texture, and tone. Also gives an excellent recommendation to use acid-free papers with rag content. The chapter ends with some basic information on pencils, pastels, and erasers and how to use a I'm reading and reviewing this book this week for a blog post next weekend.

Preface and Introduction: Getting to know the artist and what to expect from the book. Pretty basic stuff.

Chapter 1&2: The Materials, Technique, and Blocking In. Chapter one starts with a discussion of paper types, weight, texture, and tone. Also gives an excellent recommendation to use acid-free papers with rag content. The chapter ends with some basic information on pencils, pastels, and erasers and how to use a pencil for cross hatching. Chapter two is about layout and conceptualizing a finished piece. It is important to get a feel for seeing models as they appear and not with preconceived ideas on how the body should look. From here, various tips and techniques are given to reach that end.

Chapter 3&4: The Gestures and Contour. "This isn't called life drawing for nothing." It is common in drawing books for the author to lay out the eight heads model and basic muscle anatomy, in chapter three the author chooses to focus on active and passive sides of the human form. When a person is in a pose, some muscles are engaged and active while others are relaxed and stretched, this will give the gesture of the body and give the drawing life. The chapter ends with showing the dominant curves of the body, forget stick figures, the body curves. Chapter four starts fine tuning the drawing by bringing in the envelope and body curves with the contour.

Chapter 5&6: The Shadow and Form. To get a realistic drawing, gradations of tone are highly important. Chapter five is about tonal progression and shading. Mr. Ryder stresses that light has shape and form and to bring shine and life to a drawing, it is important to understand how to "draw" light. For me, this is the most useful chapter in the book and something I continue to practice. Chapter six can be nicely summarized by saying "No part of the body is flat." This chapter is about skin texture, curves, and the continuous form that is the human body.

Chapter 7&Epilogue: ...more
3

Jan 11, 2009

The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing is a step-by-step instructional manual describing one particular approach to drawing the figure. The author's drawings are lovely and I could probably never do anything as polished and masterful. But I also think his approach may need to be modified for each person's style. The book might have been a little more helpful if he'd included other drawings (by his students perhaps) as examples, rather than illustrating only with his own work. As a The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing is a step-by-step instructional manual describing one particular approach to drawing the figure. The author's drawings are lovely and I could probably never do anything as polished and masterful. But I also think his approach may need to be modified for each person's style. The book might have been a little more helpful if he'd included other drawings (by his students perhaps) as examples, rather than illustrating only with his own work. As a result of the narrow focus, I did not feel this book was quite as approachable as Classical Painting Atelier. ...more
5

August 11, 2018

This book inspired and challenged me to reach heights I hadn't imagined. Attempting to copy Anthony's drawings as best as I could while reading about the mechanics of his process taught me more than any of my professors ever did about capturing the human form. I went from moderately skilled in graphite rendering to nearly professional quality, and to my delight, copying from the book made drawing from life much less intimidating. If you can, buy the physical version as well. You won't regret it.
5

May 24, 2019

Highly technical approach and very helpful, particularly with breaking down light and shadow.
5

Oct 07, 2019

For the first time I believe you can watch Ryder's videos here:
renaissancelifenow.com
3

Aug 19, 2019

The writing is perfectly serviceable, though without any distinguishing characteristics. It's like those MFA bores all are.
4

Mar 22, 2015

This book presents a specific method of figure drawing that one can incorporate in part or in whole.
For my part, I was made aware of some powerful concepts that will definitely immediately improve my work. In particular, the concept of the "terminus" between light and shadow being used as a central point to define form. It's clearly present in many great drawings and paintings, but it's something I had never fully understood or internalized. Feels like I've found a missing puzzle piece.

This This book presents a specific method of figure drawing that one can incorporate in part or in whole.
For my part, I was made aware of some powerful concepts that will definitely immediately improve my work. In particular, the concept of the "terminus" between light and shadow being used as a central point to define form. It's clearly present in many great drawings and paintings, but it's something I had never fully understood or internalized. Feels like I've found a missing puzzle piece.

This has made me want to take up figure drawing and work on improving my craft for its own sake, which I haven't really done since college. ...more
4

Jul 06, 2011

This loses a star only because of its misleading title. This is not a compete guide to figure drawing. It is a complete guide to one particular method of figure drawing. It's a method I find very appealing and the end result is quite beautiful, but it is by no means the only way to draw a figure. That being said, for what it is this book is an exceptional instructional tool: a well-written, lucid, gorgeously and lavishly illustrated description of a traditional, painstaking, unhurried approach This loses a star only because of its misleading title. This is not a compete guide to figure drawing. It is a complete guide to one particular method of figure drawing. It's a method I find very appealing and the end result is quite beautiful, but it is by no means the only way to draw a figure. That being said, for what it is this book is an exceptional instructional tool: a well-written, lucid, gorgeously and lavishly illustrated description of a traditional, painstaking, unhurried approach to figure drawing. ...more
5

Nov 13, 2012

Anthony Ryder presents a book on figure drawing that will leave you breathless. His artwork is amazing, and he is able to clearly present his thoughts to the serious student. Although there are sections with step by step instruction, due to the nature of his "pencil washes", this material would be better off being presented in a video format, so that the techniques could be demonstrated in action. And as I mentioned earlier... the included examples of the artwork are amazing!
3

Oct 15, 2013

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Master Reveals the Secrets of Drawing the Human Form
5

Jan 09, 2011

A very philosophical approach to an analysis of drawing the figure. Not a step by step book, although the approach is in there if you dig; envelope, refine, render. The author is both a great teacher and artist.

4

Jul 04, 2014

This book is easily one of the very best textbooks on how to do charcoal figure drawing. The book has numerous drawings that illustrate all of the principles in each lesson clearly and precisely. I highly recommend this book to beginning, intermediate and advanced drawing students.
5

May 03, 2008

If you are into figure drawing, this is the most amazing book I have found. It has inspired me in a great way. Anthony Ryder is a realistic/classical artist, simply amazing.
0

May 28, 2014

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. fuk
5

Got this for my artist daughter to help with her drawings she loves it!Full Review
5

This book will really help you if you need to brush up on your drawing skills and take you to the next level of drawing as well.Full Review

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