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The Figure: An Approach to Drawing and Construction Hardcover – January 13, 1989

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Hardcover, January 13, 1989
$91.86 $9.73
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Walt Reed is an artist, author, illustrator and one of the world's top scholars on illustration art. He based The Figure on teaching methods developed by the faculty of the Famous Artists School where he taught for 15 years. He attended Pratt Institute and the New York Phoenix School of Design, beginning his art career as Art Director for CARE in New York. Reed has written several books, including the classic The Illustrator in America: 1900–1960s and The Western Art of Harold Von Schmidt, as well as numerous magazine articles. Reed founded the Illustration House in 1974, Americas foremost gallery devoted to the art and history of illustration (illustrationhouses.com).

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 143 pages
  • Publisher: Gramercy; Reprint Edition edition (January 13, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517679523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517679524
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,645,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I review DRAWING books, the first question I ask is, "Is this for BEGINNERS?" Because I feel an obligation to the book buyer to provide good information, and also to prevent a beginning student from being discouraged, and feeling that they are defective, or ....just cannot get it.

It does not seem to occur to the buyer that many authors just cannot teach. Instinct seems to suggest that that if book gets published, it must contain credible instruction by someone who knows how to teach, and everyone seems to desire to cash in on the Big Bucks market of HOW-TO-DRAW. It may seem surprising that this is just not so. Perhaps as many as half of all drawing books are not very good for beginners. I know. I've gotten familiar with most of the books on the market, and I know what I'm looking for in good instruction.

I've purchased over 25 drawing books from Amazon.com, and own the most popular titles of the HOW-TO-DRAW genre. Walt Reed's "The Figure" rates in my top four choices.

It is not "wordy" and "overly intellectual" nor does it presume to teach ZEN or YOGA, or "Drawing on the Artist in your Brain". This book sticks to the subject and it is darn good.

It is chock full of illustrations, and does not throw you to the wolves; but takes you step-by-step through proportion, basic shapes, and finally, detailed drawing. Of the books using the classical (best) approach to drawing, I rate "The Figure" one of the top five books on figure drawing. The price is "right" too. This book doesn't even cost twenty bucks!
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Format: Paperback
I have used this book for about a week and am totally impressed with the results. Before, I did not like to draw hands or faces or lips, now, I find them amazing and a great adventure to draw. I would recommend this book to any one who has never drawn the human figure in a proper way, it's a great way to learning how to. I would like to thank Walt reed for being such a good person as to allow us to know what he knows and sharing all his knowledge. Learning how to draw the human figure is not scary as I thought, I now have discovered a new world of excitement and fun through the use of a simple pencil and paper. Oliver Gonzalez.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easily one of my favorite-ever figure books(!)-

If you've ever seen the bestselling How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way, a major teaching that stands out is its emphasis on spheres, cubes, and cylinders when learning to draw anything & everything, including the human figure. Well this is *exactly* what Walt Reed's The Figure is essentially all about.

The teachings here were developed in & represent the Famous Artists School, and the figure basics here are really excellent yet seemingly standard fare. I've even seen some of these principles repeated by recent Japanese animation & comicbook instructionals. Yes, these principles are definitely great; it's the style & way these principles are communicated that makes this book seem a little bit dated, which may be why this isn't currently more popular. Reed's instruction here is presented with a combination of work by various artists and black & white photos of nude models, giving this entire effort a very mixed-media effect in its overall design. It was created in 1976, updated in 1984, and while the photos are generally well done, the models here look very much to be from that time, and maybe even earlier. Also included: drawings, etchings, paintings & sculptures; all by various masters in the history of western art. Add to this the book's physical dimensions- 9" x 12" x 1/2"- and this is really not a simple looking how-to-draw type book. Yet the teaching here really *is* simple & effective! It's basically about building the figure with cylinders, although spheres & cubes are depicted as well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very easy to use, clear and practical guide to constructing the figure from imagination.

"Classic approach" here simply means the methods that have been handed down from the Masters of the renaissance, where art and science came together. For instance, ideas of perspective, which are analytical and mathematical, were applied to art to create realism.

Similarly the constructive approach is based somewhat in the lines of geometry, and attempt to reduce all objects and forms to be a composition of a few basic forms. This resulted in the usage of sphere, box, cylinder etc. to construct any three dimensional figure, including of course the human figure. There were no hard and fast rules as to what these basic forms were. Some would use cones, cuboids etc.

This book is a very clear exposition on the use of constructive approach to drawing the figure.

The Figure is analyzed using the basic forms first, to get a sense of proportion, relationships etc.

The idea of using two glasses (glasses with which we drink water etc.) as the two parts of the body: the upper torso and the pelvis, is amazingly an effective tool, in studying the relationship of these two major forms of the figure. same is done to study the upper and lower arms, upper and lower legs.

The book aids in seeing the figure as made up of these simple forms, which results in clear understanding of the underlying structure which is easy to cast into memory, and can be applied both in life drawing as well as drawing from imagination.

There are parts of the book that deals in details about the body and the movable parts.
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