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Anatomy for the Artist Hardcover – October 3, 2001

148 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Anatomy for the Artist is like having your own life-drawing studio in the privacy of your home. Carefully constructed photographs of the human form allow you to see the structure and function of the skeleton and main muscle groups. Six imaginative drawing lessons, each supported with photography, show how to portray the bones, head, rib cage, pelvis, hands, and feet in perspective, from different angles, both in still poses and in movement.

About the Author

Sarah Simblet teaches at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University, and at the Royal College of Art in London. She has studied and worked extensively in Europe, and her drawings are in many national and private collections, and she has had three solo shows of her large-scale works. Sarah has also acted as a consultant for several radio and television programs, including the Discovery Channel.

Photographer John Davis is renowned for his beautifully lit, strong images. He contributed to the acclaimed book Atlanta Dream, a collection of nude portraits of Olympic athletes.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: DK Publishing; 1 edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078948045X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789480453
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 1 x 11.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

150 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Rico Lebrun on November 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book in that the photography is excellent. Do you like nude bodies that are in very good shape? This one has it in excess. As one who has studied artistic anatomy for over twenty years I own just about every book written on the subject. One of the things I appreciate are sources showing surface anatomy; with models that have muscle definition. The odd thing about this book is how much could have been done with it. There are about 7 or 8 transparencys that over lay the photos. All but one of these show the skeletal detail over a photo. When I am looking at the surface anatomy of a figure and trying to determine which muscles are which, I would rather have an overlay of the muscles than of the skeleton. This must have been the decision of an editor. The drawings depicting the muscles are good, no better than what has been done. Goldfinger's Human Anatomy for Artists or Richer's Artistic Anatomy are very hard to beat. The other odd note about this book is the bibliography. It's as though the items chosen were selected for their quirky nature and not their value as a source of information. Five stars for the photography, negative two stars for the anatomical content.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By drollere on October 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is really a coffee table anatomy book, as it is centered on john davis's spectacular color photographs of physically pleasing young models, artsy anatomical illustrations of bones and muscle groups, a gallery of studio poses, and kewl design touches. (the translucent muscle diagrams are especially neat: they fold over matching full color photographs of head, limbs and torso, though the book bindery doesn't always line up the two exactly.) a bonus is the unique and interesting introductory history of anatomical studies. the coverage is broad stroke -- focusing on large muscle groups, or anatomical units such as the hand, not on individual bones or muscles. my disappointments include the appallingly skimpy treatment of facial emotions, the breezy anatomical descriptions (one gets a poor idea of individual muscle form and action), the narrow sampling of model physical types (all are gorgeous), and the fatuous gallery of simblet sketches, who likes to draw bodies piled on top of each other. for practical work, i much prefer eliot goldfinger's masterful "encyclopedia" of human anatomy for the artist, but simblet's book is easier to use as a quick or general reference and also makes a provocative browse for your dinner guests. best is to own both, and go to goldfinger if your question requires authoritative, in depth information.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By mothhead on November 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have one other excellent anatomy book besides this one--Human Anatomy for Artists by Eliot Goldfinger. Both books have thorough explanations of skeletal and muscular systems as well as illustrations in both sketch and photograph form for each body section. Which book would be most helpful to you is probably more a matter of individual learning style. Here are the major differences between the two books:

The best feature of Anatomy for the Arist is its exquisite photography. The photos are large with very fine resolution (both color and black-and-white). Some are full-page and many show the entire body. There are about an equal number of male and female models, all athletically built, with a variety of skin tones. The poses are varied, expressive, and graceful. If you want a wealth of detailed photos, not sketches, to practice from, get this book.

Human Anatomy for Artists, on the other hand, is much more user-friendly if you want to memorize every last bone and muscle from the Procerus to the Medial malleolus. One great thing this book has that others don't: For each body segment, the underlying skeletal and muscle structures are shown, all labeled with the names of the parts, along with a photograph of the segment ON THE SAME PAGE. This makes it very easy to see where everything lies and how much or how little it shapes the skin without having to flip from page to page to compare diagrams with photos.

In addition to skeletal and muscle systems, Human Anatomy for Artists also addresses fat pads and where they grow on men versus women, and also includes diagrams of the major veins.

Main drawbacks: Although this book has many photographs, they are all small, black-and-white, a little bit grainy, and are almost all of men.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm an art student taking a life drawing class, and I have looked at a number of books on anatomy and own several, most of which I find unequal to my needs. Some are geared to people in health-related fields, and some are geared to artists.
Of all the books I have seen on artistic anatomy, this is one of the absolute best. The translucent paper overlays of anatomical structures are very helpful to an artist trying to figure out how bones, muscles, and skin all fit together. Additionally, the photography is amazing, modern, and not at all cheesey. There are many different motion shots and poses depicted, and the drawing lessons and "master classes" are truly useful to any developing artist and should help people refine their skills and gain confidence in this difficult area of drawing. My only quibble: I could have done with fewer explicit shots of genitalia, but they were necessary to a book that covers its topic as completely as this one.
The bottom line is that this book is worth its weight in conté crayons.
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