Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators by David H. Ross

book cover
Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators
by David H. Ross

ISBN-13: 9780385346238
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Released: July 28, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
For comic creators, animators, video game artists, and concept designers, being able to quickly draw the human figure in a variety of action-packed poses is a requirement. But what do you do if you don’t have models or photographic reference readily available? In Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators, artist and instructor David H. Ross shows how to block out actions and poses using a basic or advanced mannequin form. He illustrates basic poses (standing, running, jumping) to extreme motions (throwing punches, high kicking).

My Review:
Freehand Figure Drawing for Illustrators would be better titled "Mannequin Figures from Any Angle." The book mostly provided reference illustrations rather than detailed instructions on drawing a figure without any reference. If you don't have a live model or photo reference, you can use this book to look up a variety of poses from a wide variety of angles (front, back, 3/4, high, low, etc.).

The author provided many reference illustrations: mannequins and parts of mannequins from different angles and anatomy labels for the ear, hand, foot, a full skeleton, and major muscles. He described in step-by-step detail how to draw a head, hand, and foot. He also described in a generalized, "it'll be about here" way how different angles affect the apparent placement or size of various features.

The author assumed a certain amount of previous experience in drawing figures. For example: in his first section, he explained perspective and how to draw a box in perspective. He then gave a two-step lesson: (1) a rotated box viewed from low perspective (2) a fully rendered figure in that box. I was hoping for help in drawing a mannequin correctly into that perspective box or through using perspective lines. That help is never provided beyond a few, brief tips.

The mannequins were all super-hero types (skinny women or muscled men) and many of the references were from extreme angles or of exaggerated movements. From this, I assume the book is really targeted at superhero comic illustrators. I'm more interested in drawing normal humans in natural poses. I got some useful tips, but it's not really geared toward my interests.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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