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The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Perspective On the Classical Tradition [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Ryder
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $24.99
Kindle Price: $18.75
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Many of us want to learn “how to draw.” But as artist Anthony Ryder explains, it’s much more important to learn what to draw. In other words, to observe and draw what we actually see, rather than what we think we see. When it comes to drawing the human figure, this means letting go of learned ideas and expectation of what the figure should look like. It means carefully observing the interplay of form and light, shape and line, that combine to create the actual appearance of human form. In The Artist’s Complete Guide to Figure Drawing, amateur and experienced artists alike are guided toward this new way of seeing and drawing the figure with a three-step drawing method.

The book’s progressive course starts with the block-in, an exercise in seeing and establishing the figure’s shape. It then build to the contour, a refined line drawing that represents the figure’s silhouette. The last step is tonal work on the inside of the contour, when light and shadow are shaped to create the illusion of form. Separate chapters explore topics critical to the method: gesture, which expresses a sense of living energy to the figure; light, which largely determines how we see the model; and form, which conveys the figure’s volume and mass. Examples, step-by-steps, and special “tips” offer helpful hints and practical guidance throughout.

Lavishly illustrated with the author’s stunning artwork, The Artist’s Complete Guide to Figure Drawing combines solid instruction with thoughtful meditations on the art of drawing, to both instruct and inspire artists of all levels.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anthony J. Ryder studied at the Art Students League of New York, the New York Academy of Art, and the École Albert Defois in France with oil painter Ted Seth Jacobs. He began his teaching career at the New York Academy in 1985, and has taught at the Art Students League and in various locations in the United States and France. His paintings and drawings are in many private collections. Mr. Ryder lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Product Details

  • File Size: 221703 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill (March 2, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00G8ELT02
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,955 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful people, beautiful pictures. January 28, 2002
If you are looking for an introductory book to ease you into being a whiz in life class, this is not it.
The techniques described are time-consuming and require a steady eye and hand - not something the average beginner has a lot of, with five or twenty minute poses and a wobbly easel.
But if you can get a model to hold the same pose for hours, possibly over several sessions, and you have some experience in figure drawing, then you may find this book extremely valuable.
Anthony Ryder talks the reader through the techniques, step by detailed step, aiming for understanding rather than slavish repetition. His method is logical and elegant, and if understood and practised, may result in some extremely good drawings.
Don't expect overnight success, however - there is a lot that is required before you can even start with this book. You'll need to know basic techniques with your media, be able to judge angles and proportions, have a good understanding of anatomy, and probably be able to handle a model in adopting the same pose session after session.
There is a good reason why most of the drawings in this book are of reclining models. Standing poses simply cannot be held for the amount of time it takes to achieve the same results. You'll need at least half an hour just to achieve the basic outline, probably more.
But having said all of the above, I must now state that this book is proof positive that Ryder's techniques work, are reproducible and can result in images of stunning beauty.
You still have to select a model and a pose, and this is another basic skill required, but Ryder is obviously a master at this, and the book is filled with drawings of the nude that are simply breathtaking in their beauty. Model, pose, arrangement and execution are all perfect.
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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breathes new life into drawing from life June 23, 2000
If you're looking for anatomy lessons and short cuts (the eyes are one eye apart, the head five eyes wide sort of thing) then this is not the book for you. If you want to learn how to draw from life, to develop the basic techniques in tandem with a loving patience and relaxed attention, then this book will be hard to beat. Ryder demonstrates his method - starting with the "envelope" moving on to the "block in" then finished contour, and ending with the delicate shading that give life and mass to the drawings - with painstaking (but painless) care and wonderfully helpful illustrations from his own work.
I would strongly recommend this book with the warning that there are no shortcuts to drawing as brilliantly as Ryder - one thing that makes this book great is that Ryder doesn't pretend that there are any shortcuts. He admits up front that it takes hours of careful attention and work to get to the finished contour - which is the outline of the figure without the shading. But what he does give you is a very helpful technique. He helps with tips on judging distances, widths, proportions, angles; he helps with shading, seeing light and dark, building up tones.
Ryder is scrapping the scales of our eyes with this book, helping us to see - ultimately the most important aspect of drawing from life - and then showing you the best ways to get what you see on the page. It seems assumed that you will be working from a model or at the very least a superbly lit photograph. I think this book, coupled with Drawing on The Right Side of The Brain, would make an at-home-art-course that would be hard to beat.
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80 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE definitive work on quality figure drawing! June 27, 2001
By A Customer
As a practicing artist I have to say that this is the finest book of its kind I've come across. If you are serious about taking a traditional approach to figure drawing and want to produce artwork of the finest quality, this is the book to look at. If you just want to learn to do quick sketches then you might look elsewhere, since the approach discussed is time-consuming and painstaking. But it is THE way to go if you are serious about fine art. If I was only allowed to have one book on my shelf this would be it.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Approach to Drawing December 6, 2001
By SBell
Although I wouldn't recommend Ryder's book to be the very first instruction book to use if you're just beginning to learn to draw, it definitely should be the second one. (If you're just starting to learn to draw realistically, I would recommend beginning with a book like Edwards' "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," which, despite flaws, can give you faster results and motivate you to keep drawing.) Ryder doesn't say much more than the bare essentials about nuts-and-bolts technical matters (like what sort of pencils to use, etc.), but rather concentrates on describing a general approach to drawing- how to look at your model and transfer what you see to the paper. He does this with an economy of style that can get dense at times, but at the same time he avoids talking down to you or trying to make good drawing seem easier than it is. As he repeatedly emphasizes, it can take many hours of persistence and re-working to make a good drawing (or even a mediocre one if you're a beginner), and in fact it is that persistence- rather than some special ability- that makes it possible to draw well. Too many "teach yourself to draw" books aim you toward producing cartoonish or soft-focus drawings like you can buy from that guy with a portrait booth in the mall. The excellence of Ryder's drawings- which, as other reviewers have noted, are worth the price of the book by themselves- show that he probably has more important things to say and higher goals than most authors of art instruction books. Even if you don't understand everything right away, this books rewards re-reading as you progress and get a better hand-on sense the issues and techniques of drawing that Ryder talks about.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Truly Excellent Figure Drawing Resource
The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing is an excellent resource for those desiring an understanding of drawing the human form in classic, artistic realism persented on an... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A bit advanced for me but I am learning from it
Published 1 month ago by Hazel J. Mooney
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing work and good art direction
Amazing work and good art direction. Hi level of skill required to get to this level of drawing. Well worth the price of the book.
Published 1 month ago by Bryan
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good and instructive
Published 1 month ago by Real Campeau
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST
Published 1 month ago by eb
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Drawing Book.
This I.M.O. is a must have book, Lots of details to take your drawings to the next level.

I would say this book is geared towards the intermediate level artist although... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bill Kearney
5.0 out of 5 stars Great teaching guide
A very thorough guide to drawing the figure. Excellent tips on beginning by blocking a shape. Continuing in detail how to shade and contour. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Renata Vigoda
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Beginners!
There is little drawing instruction in this book. If you are getting started, or just serious about figure drawing, you need these books:

-Drawing head and figure, Jack... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tim Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars It is an excellent book to help me in figure work
It is an excellent book to help me in figure work. I am happy with it. I would recommend it to otheres
Published 1 month ago by P. Lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good for the genre. Seems more college level.
Would work with the seller again.
Published 1 month ago by beagal
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