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Art Models: Life Nudes for Drawing Painting and Sculpting Multimedia CD – January 1, 2006
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From the Publisher
Through careful research and consultation with a variety of artists, the authors have created a truly useful art reference. Packed from cover to cover with over 100 poses photographed at multiple angles, Art Models provides a supplement for routine work such as practicing with new mediums and studying body features and also creative work like planning compositions. By encouraging extra practice and planning, Art Models makes studio time with live models more worthwhile and rewarding for both artists and models. See full previews at the author's livemodelbooks site. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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.
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.
This book/cd is an economical way to deal with the issue of how to learn/practice life drawing on your own time. I am a university desgin instructor and have drawn from live models in a classroom setting before. I compare this process favorably with my experiences. The book is well layed out and the images are larger than previous pose books that I have used. The real advantage for me is the CD. Using a video projector I can project a life-sized image on a wall and have a studio drawing experience. Better yet, I can spend as long as I want on a drawing/painting and the model never moves. I spent three hours on one pose, stopping and starting over several days, and I could pick back up and continue with the image right where I left off. Try that with a live model! The ability to zoom the high quality images is another great feature. Even working from a computer, I can lay out a figure porportionally/gesturally and then focus in on head, hands etc. to finish out details. The zooming can also help you set up different compositions within each pose making the possibilities almost endless.
A wonderful high quality resource for those who love working artistically with the human form.
Tastefully done with wonderful models and well worth the investment. A treasured addition to my art study library.
It's not that the models are too ugly or not ugly enough. It's just all so "ordinary". The poses don't work either. No suspense, no strong lines, no nudes, just a book/DVD full of naked people.