Bridgman’s Life Drawing Review

Bridgman's Life Drawing is a book by George Bridgman that aims to teach artists the basics of drawing the human anatomy through the use of visual aids.

Though originally published in 1924, Bridgman's Life Drawing has made so much of an impact in the art world that it is still used as a textbook for many beginner/intermediate drawing classes today.

This book is sort of the "pocket" version of Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life, so if you don't mind a bulkier version of this book and you've liked what you heard in this review, this version may be worth looking into.

Bridgman's Life Drawing Details

FormatPaperback, Hardcover
AuthorGeorge Bridgman
PublisherDover Publications
Edition1st Edition(Reprint)
Originally Published1924
Edition Published1971
Page Number192 pages
Book Dimensions0.8 x 6.5 x 9.2 in

Drawing the Figure

From the moment you open the book, Bridgman's Life Drawing has almost a "clinical" feel to it.bridgman's life drawing At times it almost feels like more of a book on anatomy rather than a book on drawing. This approach was more common back when Bridgman's Life Drawing was written as artists were more expected to learn more about anatomy then maybe they do now.

Unfortunately, this is an area that some artists tend to skip nowadays. If you want to really become good at drawing the figure you'll need to learn at least some of the muscle groups, and this book definitely delivers on teaching you that.

There is less of a focus on direct instruction in Bridgman's Life Drawing and more of a focus on anatomical information and the visual references given.

Bridgman gives you information relating to a certain part of the body, gives you a few ways to make it easier to draw, gives you a few visual references at different angles and expects you to begin practicing. There is no hand-holding.

I'd say this book is great for visual learners but people that need abridgman's life drawing little more instruction may want to go with Figure Drawing for All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis. It still isn't 100% instruction but I feel as though Loomis allowed me to pace myself a little bit more than this book does.

Throughout the book Bridgman constantly uses what can be described as a "blocking" technique when simplifying the anatomy. Think of those early video game characters that looked like they could pop a balloon if they got too close to one. They were just made up of simple polygons because that's all those early video game consoles could handle! The same simplicity used in those characters can be used when simplifying the figure.

If you know the muscle groups and learn how to simplify things through the above-mentioned method, you'll soon be able to create complex drawings of the human figure that seemed utterly impossible before.

Art's Assessment

Bridgman's Life Drawing is a great book for artists that want to gain a solid foundation in anatomical knowledge and are confident enough to get out there and draw without strict instruction.

The book can feel a bit "clinical" for a drawing book, but gives good knowledge about the human body and ways to help make drawing it easier.

There is less focus on actual instruction, instead the author gives you the muscle groups for a certain area of the body and several visual references related to the topic, which can be great for more visual learners. However, I'm taking a few points off just for the fact that Bridgman's Life Drawing can sometimes be a little TOO visual. There could have definitely been more of a balance between telling and instructing but that doesn't mean there still isn't a lot of great material in this book.

Bridgman simplifies things using a "blocking" technique to make the complex human body seem more simple.

Bridgman's Life Drawing serves as a good resource for students looking to learn the nitty-gritty of drawing the human body.

4.0 out of 5.0 – Fantastic

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