Posted in Notes, Research & Reflection

Figure Drawing Research

This may be a bit of a strange post, as I am effectively documenting a set of resources that I’ve been using to try to improve my figure drawing. Most of them I’ve collected together fairly recently, but some I’ve been using for a while. I can’t say the list is exhaustive but this is an area I’ve been struggling with for a while, as I suspect do many people when learning to draw figures. This means I’ve collected quite a few sources of information, and am identifying some of the key ones here to give an idea of the signposts that I’ve found to point me in roughly the right direction. I think between them these resources provide the information I need to make progress. Now I need a lot of practice and reflection.

Anatomy books

The first resource I’m going to outline is “Anatomy for Sculptors”, originally in book form (  – though the best access approach might now be the website ( The book has become somewhat expensive. Although this wasn’t the first book I got on Human Anatomy, it is packed full of useful reference information. It includes proportions, changes to proportion due to age and so on. For a while the web site was a free resource, but they’re trying to find different ways to get you to pay now. There is also additional material appearing on a regular basis. The information is technically focussed on what is going on in the body in a way that is significant to an artist, but doesn’t help much with what to do with all that information.

The next book worth mentioning is “Classic Human Anatomy: The Artist’s Guide to Form, Function, and Movement” ( This helps to fill the gap of what to do with the information, whilst still including a lot of anatomical information. It is more readily available than Anatomy for Sculptors and in many ways more accessible.

Andrew Loomis

Andrew Loomis was a prolific author on the subject of drawing, much of which is based around figure drawing. Some of these are available to download as PDFs, and the following are particularly relevant here:

I’m still working through these, but they are being worthwhile. He provides some of the same information as the Anatomy for Sculptors books in places, but also adds a good deal of advice on how to approach drawing.

Simpler articles

I started on this path die to reading the follow shorter and simpler article and some linked from it:

These articles are interesting and helpful for drawing, and there are a host of such hints-and-tips articles available out there.

Life Drawing

Figure drawing implies life drawing, that is drawing from a clothed or naked model, which can itself be a challenge to arrange. Over time I’ve collected a reasonable supply of photographic reference material which I am using when I can’t arrange for a model – in addition to the Life Drawing supplement provided by the course. The following provides a catalogue of such resources: There are also a range of web sites and books dedicated to providing reference materials where models are absent. The following is an interesting example: I have managed to attend some actual life drawing sessions, but I struggle to get to them on a sufficiently regular basis, and so I’ve had to find other ways to fill this particular gap.

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