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A concise but comprehensive book about all matters pertaining to drawing the human figure, this well-illustrated and accurate guide demonstrates the interplay of structure, anatomy, design, and expression in effective figure drawing; and shows how the integration of these four factors is essential in drawing the figure in a compelling and lucid manner. Topics covered in this book are the structural, anatomical, design, and expressive factors in figure drawing. The book's text is supported by many illustrations, photos, and works of art. For professional and amateur artists.
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Highly acclaimed as one of the most comprehensive and dynamic explorations of figure drawing available, this innovative and in-depth text brings together the structural, anatomical, organizational, and expressive factors that make for more compelling creative representations of the human form.
Author Nathan Goldstein examines the universal conditions and forces at work in the best examples of figure drawing by old and contemporary masters alike, and incorporates almost 500 examples, including a full set of his own, clear, anatomical illustrations.SIXTH EDITION HIGHLIGHTS
For anyone interested in refreshing or broadening their understanding of drawing, this how-to-see-it book enhances the ability to experience and state the world in visual terms that communicate, and to better comprehend the options and obstacles often confronted when drawing.
Nathan Goldstein emphasizes drawing as a responsive encounter with the physical world and examines the following factors: a subject's measurable, structural actualities, its relational possibilities, and its emotive character. He explores the tools and materials of drawing, and the concepts, forces, and "pathologies," or common failings of perception, organization, and expression in drawing. In addition, Goldstein presents suggested exercises to help the reader experience the concepts and processes dealt with in each chapter.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
That the five earlier incarnations of Figure Drawing met with immediate and substantial acceptance among artists and students alike is a matter of personal gratification and a dependable sign that something about the book's overall presentation and character has struck a responsive chord among those who want to reinforce their interest in figure drawing with more information and options. This new edition tries to serve those interests with even greater clarity and effect.
The earlier editions—expanded in some places, simplified in others, and further strengthening the original text—were shaped by the opportunities I have had in the intervening years of examining the book's effect on countless readers by the good counsel of colleagues arid students, and by the insights and experiences that time provides. The thing about time, though, is that it keeps on providing new notions. Although with each edition I was satisfied with the book's essential form and content, it occurred to me after a few years that yet another revision was in order. So it is again.
I am, however, a staunch believer in the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Consequently, this sixth edition continues in the same vein as its predecessors, with a few useful additions and changes. Again, I have included a number of colorplates to show how "the queen of the visual elements" can amplify our creative purposes. Most of the works new to this edition are by contemporary artists, and each strongly amplifies various matters of importance in the text. Additionally, I have expanded Chapter 8 with photographs showing the figure's forms in ways I hope the reader will find useful as a source of study and practice. As for the text, the change I am proudest of is that rarest of all occurrences: a reversal of the usual tendency for new editions to gain weight. This edition's slightly reduced text is, I believe, clearer and stronger than previous texts, and it contains some useful adjustments in presenting the relative importance of the book's several themes.
If some of these additions and changes originated with me, many came from readers, students, and colleagues too numerous to list here, and I want to thank them in this public way for helping me to more closely realize my goals on this sixth time around. Always the optimist, I have high hopes for this latest revision. But, always the artist and teacher, I know in my bones that it is the quality and quantity of good figure drawings reproduced in the text that will give this book its ultimate worth. For that important reason, I have tried to reproduce figure drawings that represent a wide range of styles, themes, and eras, though I am less concerned with when they were done than with what they say and how well they say it.
As before, this edition is designed to assist the art student, the amateur, the art teacher, and the practicing artist in developing a more extensive understanding of the figurative and abstract considerations of drawing observed or envisioned human forms.
I continue to hold the single assumption that the artist-reader's interest in expanding his or her understanding is motivated by a wish to comprehend those universal qualities present in the best examples of figure drawing by old and contemporary masters alike, rather than by a wish for ready-made formulas and techniques. Although five of the eight chapters provide suggested exercises, these exercises are intended to clarify and reinforce the particulars and potentialities of the chapter's subject, not to suggest canons of figure drawing. The exercises may be simplified, embellished, otherwise varied, or even be bypassed without interrupting the flow of the text.
The term figure drawing as used here refers to drawings of the draped as well as nude figure, and drawings of parts of the figure or drawings in which the figure represents only a small part of the configuration. Very often, the beginner is too much in awe of the figure to bring to bear those skills he or she does possess, and which are more readily applied to still life and landscape subjects. This broader view, in regarding the figure in its context among the multitude of things that make up our physical world, helps us to recognize that many of the concepts and skills we call on in responding to the things around us apply just as much to the figure's spirit and form.
For the same reason, I have abandoned the traditional approach to anatomy, which is isolated from the figure's dynamic and humanistic qualities and often seems clinical and remote from living individuals. Instead, I have tried to integrate with master drawings and sculptures creative applications of the various parts of anatomy under discussion and to show anatomy's role as both servant and source of structural and dynamic inventions.
In this volume, anatomy is regarded as only one of the four basic factors of figure drawing. The best figure drawings always reveal a congenial interaction among the factors of structure, anatomy, design, and expression. The best teachers, sensitive to this interplay, try to show students the mutually reinforcing behavior of these factors, both in their teaching and in their own creative work.
To my knowledge, no one has previously written a comprehensive discussion of the ways in which the four factors assist and govern each other. If this formulation of the concepts at work (and at play) in the figure helps the reader to better focus on the options and obstacles of figure drawing, or even if in contesting aspects of this presentation the reader is aided in forming a pattern of issues more suited to his or her views, I will have achieved my goal.
I would like to acknowledge my debt to tire writings of Rudolf Arnheim, whose important contributions to the psychology of perception frequently clarified and occasionally confirmed my views on various aspects of perception as they apply to figure drawing.
I wish to express my gratitude and thanks to the many students, artists, and friends whose needs, advice, and interests helped to shape and test the views presented in earlier editions of this book and in this present revised form of the book. I wish also to thank the many museums and individuals who granted permission to reproduce works from their collections. I must thank Charles D. Wise of Medical Plastics Laboratory, Gatesville, Texas, for his cooperation in providing the skeleton replica reproduced in Chapter 3; David Yawnick, Don Hirsh, and Gabrielle Keller for their excellent photographic skills; the late Walter R. Welch for his help with the book's first edition; and Bud Therien of Prentice Hall, whose co-operation and generosity in numerous ways have made this a better book.
The author also thanks the following reviewers for their helpful suggestions: Professor Stephen Lewinter, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; Professor Anita Giddings, Herron School of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana; Professor Janice Kmetz, University of Minnesota at Duluth; and Professor Elen Feinberg, University of New Mexico at Albuquerque.
My deepest gratitude to Harriet and Jessica for their practical assistance, care, and understanding, and to my daughter Sarah Hannah, herself a published writer, whose interest, affection, and patience are always there.
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