The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Perspective On the Classical Tradition (Anglais) Broché – 1 juin 1999
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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.
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The techniques described are time-consuming and require a steady eye and hand - not something the average beginner has a lot of, with five or twenty minute poses and a wobbly easel.
But if you can get a model to hold the same pose for hours, possibly over several sessions, and you have some experience in figure drawing, then you may find this book extremely valuable.
Anthony Ryder talks the reader through the techniques, step by detailed step, aiming for understanding rather than slavish repetition. His method is logical and elegant, and if understood and practised, may result in some extremely good drawings.
Don't expect overnight success, however - there is a lot that is required before you can even start with this book. You'll need to know basic techniques with your media, be able to judge angles and proportions, have a good understanding of anatomy, and probably be able to handle a model in adopting the same pose session after session.
There is a good reason why most of the drawings in this book are of reclining models. Standing poses simply cannot be held for the amount of time it takes to achieve the same results. You'll need at least half an hour just to achieve the basic outline, probably more.
But having said all of the above, I must now state that this book is proof positive that Ryder's techniques work, are reproducible and can result in images of stunning beauty.
You still have to select a model and a pose, and this is another basic skill required, but Ryder is obviously a master at this, and the book is filled with drawings of the nude that are simply breathtaking in their beauty. Model, pose, arrangement and execution are all perfect. Classically elegant.
This is a book that rewards the eye as much as the mind, and it is a feast for both. If you aspire to greatness in your figure drawing, then buy this book, study it, and apply the lessons.
Recommended for artists of moderate experience. Highly recommended.
I would strongly recommend this book with the warning that there are no shortcuts to drawing as brilliantly as Ryder - one thing that makes this book great is that Ryder doesn't pretend that there are any shortcuts. He admits up front that it takes hours of careful attention and work to get to the finished contour - which is the outline of the figure without the shading. But what he does give you is a very helpful technique. He helps with tips on judging distances, widths, proportions, angles; he helps with shading, seeing light and dark, building up tones.
Ryder is scrapping the scales of our eyes with this book, helping us to see - ultimately the most important aspect of drawing from life - and then showing you the best ways to get what you see on the page. It seems assumed that you will be working from a model or at the very least a superbly lit photograph. I think this book, coupled with Drawing on The Right Side of The Brain, would make an at-home-art-course that would be hard to beat.
The book is sectioned into three areas of awareness, the Block-In, the Contour aand Drawing on the Inside. Each section builds on the other. The drawing examples are very well presented. I have found myself reading pages two and three times in order to make sure that I fully comprehend what is being described. Repeated reading has nothing to do with the way the material is presented; I just want to make sure I comprehend every word of what he is presenting. What he has to say is very important and worth taking the time to read.
I then actually put the techniques to work in my sketch book. The results are outstanding. Throughout my career I have wondered off into areas of artistic adventures that have altered my focal point as an artist. I have discovered that there are missing links in my training. Mr Ryders approach has helped restore that focus. I strongly feel that this book should on the shelf of any artist interested in drawing the figure or portraits.
As with any book, the words are only as good as the reader is willing to put them to use. Mr Ryder has done a wonderful job of organizing his thoughts and feelings about drawing the human figure. You will not be disappointed in adding this book to your collection.