Andrew Loomis' book Figure Drawing for All It's Worth was first published in 1946 and to this day is still thought of by many in the artistic community to be a great introduction into learning how to draw the human figure.
Following his first book Fun With A Pencil, Loomis expanded on the more anatomical aspects of drawing that were maybe not fleshed out as much in the first book, in this one.
Loomis has almost a cult following in some areas of the Internet and whenever I asked which books by Loomis I should read they say all of them, but especially Figure Drawing for All It's Worth.
Lets see what's driving the Loomheads nuts with this book and dive right in.
Figure Drawing for All It's Worth Book Details
|Publisher||Titan Books, Facsimile|
|Page Number||208 pages|
|Book Dimensions||9.2 x 0.8 x 12.4 in|
Constructing The Body
Figure Drawing for All It's Worth from the very start is full of diagrams and charts showing us the ideal proportions of that and the why this is supposed to move, etc. Already this is a stark difference from Fun With A Pencil.
There's much more reading in this book, but it serves a purpose. You really get good insight into the thought process of Loomis every time he tackles a new drawing. All these charts he's put into this book are floating around in his head.
If anything this book shows that to truly be good at figure drawing you need to constantly be practicing the fundamentals until they become ingrained in your head or you won't ever improve.
Let's discuss some of these fundamentals. Loomis implores us to learn how to "manikinize" the figure. This means that you have to learn how to simplify the figure into that of a manikin. This makes it easier to learn how the body moves and you can slowly add back in the detail until you get a detailed figure.
This was touched upon in Fun With A Pencil but it's done in much more detail in this book and with many more visual references.
Seriously, Loomis is a god with the pencil but he's also the god of references. There are always a million references for each concept he introduces in his books and a million more references in the back of the book.
In my opinion that makes these books worth all the more because you can look back at them and always find an answer to your problem quickly in a neat little sketch.
Once the foundations of figure drawing are laid out, Loomis begins talking about the more complex parts of the body. Certain parts of the body such as the head, hands and feet are harder to accurately depict without the use of shading.
Adding these techniques to the mix really helps bring the drawing to life if you want to do more than just quick-sketches.
Loomis goes into more depth on this topic in another one of his books, Drawing the Head and Hands.
A Look Under The Hood
It wouldn't be an anatomy book without many diagrams showing muscles and their unnecessarily long names.
There's plenty of these in Figure Drawing for All It's Worth and they actually help a lot when you begin to think about them as you're drawing.
I was nervous when I first began getting into anatomy and I thought I had to memorize all these muscles but with practice I began to find that knowing certain muscle groups and where they were located helped me make more accurate drawings.
The best approach is to just get in there and draw and during your studies on specific parts of the body you'll find yourself picking up the muscle groups as you study.
After a while it really does begin to feel like you're building something from the ground up.
Once you learn what's behind a certain pose or placement of the body it's much easier to build the pose more accurately. Figure drawing actually requires a lot more thinking to get everything accurate than just measuring and drawing.
Drawing one or two lines out of place can make a big difference. Our brains are really good at discerning if something looks human or not.
Figure Drawing for All It's Worth is a great introduction into figure drawing for artists that have never drawn the figure or are just looking to improve their work.
The book starts off with many diagrams and charts showing the correct proportions you should use when drawing the figure.
A big concept that Loomis introduces is that of "manikinizing" the figure. If you can learn how to draw the figure as if it was a manikin and slowly add on detail, you'll get a greater understanding of how the human figure works.
Loomis also brings up how to draw things like the head, hands and feet but if you want a more in-depth look at how to draw those features then you may be interested in another one of his books, Drawing the Head and Hands.
Figure Drawing for All It's Worth comes packed with many anatomical drawings depicting different muscle groups of the body, like any book on drawing the human figure should.
When you learn these muscle groups you begin to have a whole different approach when drawing when you draw the figure. You build the drawing up with these muscle groups in mind and you end up with a more anatomically correct rendering.
Figure Drawing for All It's Worth is a fantastic book on drawing the figure with plenty of visual aids and references that helps make the complex human body a bit easier to understand.
4.8 out of 5.0 – Fantastic