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Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life (英語) ペーパーバック – 2009/4/7
The timeless classic on drawing human figures is back! Following impressive runs by Sterling's previous editions comes a new, redesigned version of George W. Bridgman's landmark work. It combines six well-known books by the celebrated artist and lecturer, who taught figure and anatomy drawing for many years at New York City's Art Students League. This edition preserves Bridgman's lessons and original sketches, but now features a nostalgic, eye-catching cover that distinguishes it from the competition. In its sleek new format, this comprehensive guide will certainly continue its reign as one of the premier figure-drawing publication of all time.
"...the return of a classic...Bridgman was a legendary teacher at New York's Art Students' League. There he originated a system of drawing known as 'constructive anatomy.' In 1952, his seven books on anatomy were gathered into one volume, which became a standard work at art schools and universities. Published now, for the first time in paperback, it holds up as an indispensable volume with more than 200 illustrations of hands and hundreds of images of arms, shoulders, heads, torsos, legs, knees, and feet." -- Library Journal --このテキストは、絶版本またはこのタイトルには設定されていない版型に関連付けられています。商品の説明をすべて表示する
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I have downloaded Mr. Loomis book "Figure Drawing for All It's Worth" and if you're a beginner like me, it's a better deal (heck, it's free) because the text are clearer and the visuals cleaner. Please consider my rating a beginner's gauge rather than a professional's or a fine-arts student's.
I'll just probably use this book as a visual reference rather than a self-study guide...
It has a little bit of everything depicting figure construction from memory. It's also great for general improvement; a few tips & tricks- an in-depth reference for all working artists.
This somewhat large-sized Complete Guide seems intended to represent the best of 6 out of his 7 individual books. Drawing the Female Form is the book that gets left out. Assembled & designed by editor Howard Simon in 1952; Bridgman passed away in 1943, so it's not Bridgman's fault if anyone has issues with the layout(!).
Here's a quick breakdown of his 6 individual books, from my very favorite to least...
1. Book of a Hundred Hands- His *best* representation of hands; if hands are your main interest, skip all else & buy 100 hands.
2. Constructive Anatomy- His clearest & most detailed line work in his figure anatomy- especially with his cube-based construction of the head.
3. Bridgman's Life Drawing- Like a mini Complete Guide, it's often considered Bridgman's best individual book. It gives us full-figure movement, as well as briefly treating the figure in its essential parts.
4. Heads, Features and Faces- Great for beginners; it isn't in-depth, and it isn't nearly overwhelming like this Complete Guide.
5. Human Machine- Genius in concept- drawings exceedingly sketchy. These are the sketchiest drawings in this Complete Guide.
6. Drawing the Draped Figure- *Very* basic. Everything you need from this exceedingly thin book is included in this Complete Guide.
In short- The basic point of Bridgman's Complete Guide is to help people to draw figures more convincingly, and even from memory. To a great degree, at least in my opinion, this book still succeeds in a very effective way...
P.S. This book is definitely *not* for beginners! Only *intermediate-level* artists need apply. For beginners, I highly recommend getting Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm.
P.P.S. Even though I give this Complete Guide 5 stars based on its content, presentation-wise I actually, usually prefer using Bridgman's original, smaller-sized works. People looking for a great financial deal might want to check out The Best of Bridgman: Boxed Set. It's basically three of his best, original books at a currently reduced price.
The idea of breaking down the human figure into simple forms for construction is not new - most good figure books I've come across outline methods of doing this. (One of the other reviews suggests Andrew Loomis, for example, which everyone should definitely check out.) What makes this book unique, though, is that it takes the principle a deeper extreme - you learn how to construct not only the basic masses (rib cage, legs, head, etc) but the individual bone and muscle groups that they are made out of. Solid drawing taken to a new level.
The loose, simplified style of the illustrations is necessary, I think - they capture the bare essense without any distracting detail. They also demonstrate how dynamic a drawing becomes when it is not overworked. On the other hand, they can be hard to "read" if you have no idea what you're looking at, so I think a companion book is necessary as a counterpoint for beginners like myself. My recommendation would be Dr. Paul Richer's "Artistic Anatomy," whose diagrams are the exact opposite of Bridgman's - exhaustive in detail and clarity. Usually, I have the two books open side by side - Bridgman for construction, Richer for clarification. Andrew Loomis is another must - very clear, very accessible. His system of construction is simpler, but as a result it is great for gesture drawing.
Bottom line, this book can be challenging in places, but it is well worth it to puzzle through them.
From a more subjective point of view, Bridgman has never quite impressed me for learning life/figure drawing... personally I just never quite warmed up to his style. The text is appropraite to the illustrations in terms of the mechanics of the body and naming the parts that do the work, but there is little to nothing by way of drawing theory/technique, elements of what makes a successful drawing work... Bridgeman rightfully focuses in breaking down the human body as simplified shapes... although in Bridgman's drawings simplified shapes appear rather grotesque distortions. On pages 212/213 where he describes how to draw an armpit... well, I'm looking at it right now and... well... frankly it's a mess. If you want to learn to draw the various parts of the human form as architectural moulding, block and tackle, wedges and fulcrum, etc., this is the book for you. If you want to learn how to make a realistic anatomically correct figure drawing jump off the page through line quality, contour, compostion, perspective, light and shadow, subtlety, etc., seek elsewhere.
The extremely brief breakdown of facial expression is sad (pun intended).
There is a nice section on 'draping', how cloth folds, hangs, bunches and masses, but the reproduced images are poor to the point of being near useless in these editions.
The question of learning/knowing human anatomy so that one may render it believably in a artistic sense is best covered, I believe, elsewhere. But depending on your artistic goals, level of experience, interest and commitment, this might be a good book for you; just make sure you get an edition where you can actually make out what the good Mr. Bridgman is trying to show you.
Open to almost any page in Bridgman's and you'll see several illustrations to begin working from if you choose. Or, read from the beginning the simple text that helps break down the figure, and the figure's components, into shapes and go from there. This book is brimming with accurate and easy to read text and anatomical poses to learn from.
I guarantee you, if you draw as you see in the Bridgman's book, or if you even copy every drawing in the Bridgman's book, you will draw the figure, and everything else, like a professional. This book should be on every teacher and professor's course syllabus for all drawing levels. Great tips, great tools, great reminders. Enjoy drawing!