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The Human Figure: A Photographic Reference for Artists Paperback – March 1, 1979

ISBN-13: 978-0471289494 ISBN-10: 0471289493 Edition: 1st

8 New from $47.90 27 Used from $19.25
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Paperback, March 1, 1979
$47.90 $19.25

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 1, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471289493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471289494
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 8.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,862,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Now you can draw from your own life model anytime you want without paying expensive models’ fees! This handy volume contains over 600 detailed anatomical photographs for artists to study and draw from. Subjects included are male and female, and the models range in age from two years old to ninety years old. All together, seventeen different models were photographed, in the most useful and instructive poses for the artist. They are shown clothed and unclothed, full-figure and in closeup, in classical poses and in action, and in a wide variety of views—the standing male and female models, for instance, were photographed from eight different angles in a 360-degree circle. Sections one and two, covering the male and female nude figure, include photographic representation of running, walking, standing, sitting, and reclining, as well as detail studies of head, hands, and feet. Section three shows close-ups of facial expressions: joy, pain, surprise, etc., as well as sequences of expressions such as the transition from slight annoyance to great anger. In this section too are found details of a variety of heads, hands, eyes and noses, mouths, and ears. Section four is composed of photographs of a two-year-old child.

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Customer Reviews

This should be in any serious artist library for reference.
EO39
Instead of getting this book I have previously owned and lost I opted to get a used book instead of a new one after long deliberation.
S. Atwell
This book has some interesting poses and there were an equal number of male and female photos but that's about where the praise ends.
T. Stocks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By T. Stocks on July 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book has some interesting poses and there were an equal number of male and female photos but that's about where the praise ends. This would be a better book for reference had there been a variety of different models. Another problem is the fact that the male model is wearing something that interferes with the lines of his body. This book is also somewhat difficult to use because of the layout. With every turn of the page some of the pictures are upside down and some are rightside up and some are sideways. So you are constantly flipping the book around to view the photos. There are other better reference books available.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Due to it's size and the fact that real, live humans were photographed (vs. drawings), this is a good reference for both the beginning and advanced artist who may not have access to a live model. Personally, I find that drawing from a real human is the best way to draw, followed by a photograph of a live person, with drawings of people being last on the list.
I will echo the other comments of past reviewers: the book is good but needed to have a greater variety of models, a better layout of photographs and an honest-to-goodness nude male model. People come in all shapes and sizes and colors and a greater range of people and poses would have been more helpful. The photographs are laid out at all different angles, meaning you have to move the book all over just to LOOK at which photo you'd like to sketch. Finally, the male is wearing an athletic supporter that interrupts the lines of his body. This is not a terribly big concern, but it's annoying and silly looking nonetheless. If one paid their money to sketch a live male model, you can bet he wouldn't be sporting something as ridiculous looking as a jock strap. Is this some sort of penis fear on behalf of the author?? Certainly there's nothing erotic about these poses and I doubt that anyone looking to be titillated would spend the money for an artists' reference book...
There are other references that are better (or at least more varied or not requiring the reader to stand on their heads to read it), but if you're collecting model books, this is worth adding to your collection.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. Reinhardt on December 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is not a new book and I have had it for many years. While I don't think there is enough variety (in models and positions) to make it a great book I have found it to be a useful reference quite a number of times. I do wish that the lighting had been stronger to give sharper shading in general for muscle definition.
It doesn't have the variety or sheer number of options available in the *pose file* series but quite a few pictures are fairly large in this book which is very nice. If you do find a shot that works for you than this is a very nice book to have.
I think this would be a good adjunt book if you already own several. I wouldn't make this your only figure book or your first one...unless you happen on it and find a figure in here that you wish to draw. this book isn't an instuction book on how to draw as much as it is a nude figure reference.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Holly P on August 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Because of comments like the reviewer who assumes that because it includes a few shots of a nude child it must be harmful trash and banned. This book was on the library shelf at my community college, and I never expected to find it still in print now because of its age.

I would not be interested in owning this book if it weren't for the various shots of different faces at different angles, hands, older and younger models, etc. Drawing children is incredibly difficult, the proportions of their bodies and faces are different from adults. It's very frustrating if you are working on a piece that requires children, especially if you have no children of your own to model for you, and going to public places to sketch or take reference photos of children will get you suspicious looks from parents. A nude child is NOT sexually provocative, and none of the other poses by the adults in this book are provocative either. I do wish there were more full-body poses of models besides the young adult male and female model, but you can't have everything in a single volume. The male model's jock strap is silly, especially considering there is no such censoring garment for the female model - underlining the silly belief in western society that female nudity is acceptable, but male nudity is taboo. It doesn't get too much in the way if you just need a generic pose reference. There are also some shots of the male posed with a stick, holding it similar to a shovel or other such prop (Can't recall if there are similar poses with the female), which is also helpful if you need to draw a character in action. Certainly no equal to having a real live model, but a good alternative in a pinch.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I own a copy of this book and it is a decent reference for figure drawings. But there are better figure reference books available.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David on July 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
From the back cover: "Subjects included are male and female, and the models range in age from two years old to ninety years old. All together seventeen different models were photographed, in the most useful and instructive poses for the artist." This is a grossly misleading statement! What it should have said is: "We photographed one young male and one young female in some very uninspired, amateurish, and rather stiff poses. Because we have a ridiculous, prudish, and skewed Victorian attitude, we clothed the male in a distracting jock strap, making all of his photos somewhat useless as an honest reference for drawing and painting complete figures. We then filled up the rest of the book with a handful of equally uninspired shots of children, and a bunch of closeup photos of things like ears, but we made them such extreme closeups they contain no proportional reference and so are rather out of context with the rest of the figure. It did however, allow us to state, categorically, that we portray 17 different models!" I'm not sure who this book was meant for; prudish, Victorian, amateurs and shy, easily offended, weekend sketchers maybe? For a serious artist involved in the serious study of the human figure this book has nothing to offer. Don't waste your time or money. The only reason I gave this book one star is because I couldn't give it 0 stars... I sent it back the very next day after recieving it.
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