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on June 14, 2006
About the models,
If you buy the book expecting to get airbrushed ultra skinny fashion models, you might be disappointed. But, if you want naturally beautiful models photographed in clear lighting so you can see every bit of them, then this book is great. And there's a nice range, from Susan who is slim and athletic and has a classic Greek-sculpture face to someone like Jen with her amazing natural figure and more modern look.

The previews above give a good idea of the range of models but it's kind of hard to see how beautiful they are. And a couple of my favorites, Jessica and Jennifer (who have pin-up style figures) are missing.

So, if you want supermodels, go buy a fashion magazine, or if you want erotic models airbrushed to look like plastic, go buy a men's magazine, but if you're looking for attractive naturally beautiful models, this is the book to get.

The poses are good too.
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on June 20, 2006
I was surprised by how many photos they could fit in a 160 page book. They're on just about every page and they fill the page. And since the book is 8.5x11, the photos are really big.

Other pose books I've seen put the photos in little frames. Maybe little photos and lots of white space looks nice, but it's a bad idea if you really want to see the models. Would you rather work from big color photos or little ones that you can't really see?

The quality, size of the photos, and the sheer number of them is stunning. Definitely the best bang for the buck of any pose book out there.
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on November 5, 2006
The photographs are high-resolution and well-lit. The models show a variety of poses and each pose is shot from multiple angles. It's also nice to have different body types represented. However, the photos are too small to see much detail of hand, foot, or muscle tone. Also, some of the poses are ridiculous. Maybe you can get an idea from their titles. For example, "country boy" (complete with wheat sprig sticking out between the man's teeth), "super surfer", "razzle dazzle". There are silly props too. For example, one nude half-reclining in a chair is reaching for a bowl of chips. Adding to the cheap effect, the book is arranged not by theme, but by model (first names only).

A much better reference is The Figure in Motion by Thomas Earley. The photos are black-and-white and somewhat grainy, but they are full-page, graceful and dynamic, and much more thoughtfully chosen for use in studying anatomy or for incorporating into compositions.
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on December 27, 2006
When I first received this book in the mail, I was quite impressed with its quality. There are several models featured in the book, the lighting in the photographs is inoffensive, and the pages are beautifully printed. I soon discovered, however, that the book itself would be of little use to me.

While the book initially appears to provide an abundance of photographic material and a variety of models, a few flip-throughs will reveal that many of the poses and models are incredibly similar. It focuses mostly on the female figure and provides female models who, but for one, appear to be young, slender (but not athletic), and white. They are all heavily made-up, they have no visible body hair and their genitals (while intact on the DVD) are nonexistant in the printed images: they have been airbrushed out. I find this choice particularly offensive considering that the male models did not receive the same treatment, nor do they adhere to the same idealistic standards. The one female model who is an exception to being thin is also not white: though she is a beautiful and capable model, I feel it is unfortunate that she alone bears the burden of "otherness". Although the average western (American) dress size for women is size 14, and the majority of people in the world are non-white, there is only one model out of nine that reflects this reality.

Variety is not just lacking in the bodies of female models, it is also absent in their poses. The poses are, for the most part, very passive, static, and inactive. Although there are a few dynamic poses, the majority of them are constructed and trite, showing little or no tension in the muscle or weight in the form. This is an important matter to consider, since much of the DVD is comprised of different angles of the same pictures represented in the book. If you are looking for stiff, formulated and "feminine" poses, you will be no doubt satisfied.

The two male models featured in the book provide better material. they are different than one another, in age and athleticism, although they are both still white. Their poses range from active to passive, the more graceful ones reminiscent of Greek and Roman statues.

One of the biggest disappointments for me was the discovery that the lighting in the images doesn't appear to differ in any way, from one model to another. It is an all-over, seemingly directionless light, hardly useful to the artist in my opinion. It is so bright that there are few form shadows to be found on the models, and little contrast.

The images on the DVD-ROM are generously large, but strangely lacking in texture. I don't know if this is due to the way the lighting was set up for the photographs, or if the models were "touched up", but their skin looks flat and plastic. Even when an image is zoomed in on, rarely can there be seen any veins, muscles, wrinkles or pores.

I have not owned many other model reference books, but I have found that my anatomy books in conjunction with internet resources have provided me with more stimulus than this collection of poses. While the print quality exceeds older books of its kind, I do not think the book itself is a great reference. The DVD-ROM is more worthwhile, and the publisher's website provides some nice extras, such as free downloads and contests. If you are interested in purchasing this book, I definitely recommend visiting the site and having a look around - maybe even purchase some of their images available for download to see if you like them.

In conclusion, I think this set will appeal to artists who are new to figure drawing and to hobbyists who have not had much experience rendering the human form. To anyone else, however, it is simply more of the same.
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on February 15, 2006
What a wonderful book created for the support of figurative artists! It seems like this book has it all, from drawing reference material to inspiring examples of actual artwork based on the reference material, to helpful perspectives from the authors and models, in short everything. It is so very heartening to find a work so committed to the art of the human form that is not tempted to sully the human body in any way. This book is clearly not just a "project" for the authors, it is a work of love and passion, indeed it is a work of art all its own and in its own right.

P.S., this is supposed to be 5 stars, and I can't figure out how to change it....
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on February 18, 2016
Unfortunately not that useful- even for general practice; and less so if you have a specific project in mind. Because unlke with working with a live model- in a book you don't get to pick the pose- the lighting- the shading- the props- or anything else really. And obviously the book is flat so you don't get a sense of the correct lighting as you would if it were reflecting off a real person. In short this book is just not effective either for practice in drawing the figure or doing your own projects. There's really no substitute for drawing/painting a real model. If you work from a book youre using someone elses creative choices and not your own. Which is the exact opposite of what you want.
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on January 26, 2006
This book/CD set is a must for anyone producing visual images of the human form. The photographs are art in themselves, beautiful enough to enjoy for their own sake without intruding on the creative process of an artist/user.

Tastefully done with wonderful models and well worth the investment. A treasured addition to my art study library.
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on April 21, 2016
As I'm learning art, this book was excellent to help study the human body. "Blocking" the human body for the sake of cartoons is incredibly easy when you have models to use. The models are shown in a variety of positions, and some positions have several different angles so you can really get a sense of how the body moves and is connected.
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on March 26, 2013
While I was in art school (online-Art Academy University) I was provided figure study images I was required to draw from of really poor quality. I purchased this book as a substitute for those online images. It worked for me but in the end I ended up creating my own library of high quality figure study nudes. Again, good to work from and if you need a source to draw on worth the money. It is still a part of my library along with my own 360 degree high res images.
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on March 14, 2009
An outstanding reference for the serious artist. I've been doing art as a sideline since grade school, and I haven't seen a reference as good as this before. It's in extremely high definition and you can enlarge the shots to an amazing degree. Each pose can be viewed from numerous angles, and there's an excellent variety of body types and poses, and they're all well lit. There's no replacing drawing or painting the actual model, but if you can't afford modeling fees this is a good substitute.Buy it; you won't regret it.
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