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The book is basically a how to on the mannequinization of the human body. This is an essential step in drawing action figures, especially from imagination. The book is full of a variety of poses including action, reclining, sitting, etc., and in that way should be helpful to illustrators. However, my pet peeve with this book is the absolute failure to show dimensions or construction details for a single figure or part. For example, nowhere are we told that the mannequin head may be approximated by a sphere for the cranial mass, nor how to divide that mass to locate the hairline or brow ridge. Neither are we shown how to construct the jaw approximation that attaches to it or how to locate the nose or mouth. Neither do the torso, pelvis, or limbs have any associated dimensions or construction details. Yes, we do see plenty of examples of each of these elements drawn from a variety of angles, twists and rotations. The author's intent seems to be to provide a large variety of examples which he expects everyone to practice over and over. I understand this. There is no substitute in drawing for rehearsal ad nauseam. But construction details/methods are also enormously important and would be very much appreciated.
If you would like to draw figures from imagination and are interested in the mannequinazation of the human body, I think that the best book for this is Andrew Loomis' "Figure Drawing for All Its Worth." This is the volume that Normal Rockwell often praised and I find the treatment much more satisfying than Ross' book. At the time of this writing, it is still in print and available new or used from Amazon. It is an established classic and still used in figure drawing curricula the world over.
So I should have done a bit more research on this book. This is definitely not for a beginner. Which is the only reason I gave it 3 stars. I think once I'm a better artist and have a grasp on things this book will help out a lot more. But for now it doesn't. It is not a step by step book. It touches on perspective but it doesn't show you the detailed process to get there. So if you're just starting out with perspective wait get a grasp on a few things first and then get this book.
This book is very much not for beginners. This is pretty clear the first chapter's exercise (which covers the basics perspective), asking you to take a box, sub divide it, then draw a figure in that box. Unless you have prior knowledge of figure drawing (and given this exercise, figure drawing from memory) this book will leave you rather overwhelmed from the get go. I do not, so this book is not go for me.
The rest of the book does do a pretty good job of expanding on how to construct figures in dynamic poses from various perspective. Given my experience level its hard for me to completely judge the quality completely, but I think the information is pretty solid.
Who should buy: People who already can draw simple figures from normal angles and want to expand to a more dynamic comic book-ish feel. Who should not buy: People without previous figure drawing experience.
I may come back for this book in the future if I feel like I can get more out of it, but for now its of little use.
A manikin based system for drawing the figure from your imagination. The only problem is that you end up with doll like figures. You will still need to learn artistic anatomy to make your figures look realistic. I admit that I have several manikins that I use to pose when I am stumped on the placement of major masses. There are several good Japanese, made in China, plastic ones out there. My favorites are by Triad Toys. If you get a male and female manikin you can draw from them and forget about this book. There is a long history of using manikins in art. Leonardo made wax figures to pose. Some artists even draped their manikins and fixed the folds with starch to study lighting on fabric. The standard wooden ones are pretty much garbage. Humans don't have light bulbs for heads and necks.