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Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life [Paperback]

George Bridgman
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.95
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Book Description

April 7 2009
The timeless classic on drawing human figures is back! Following impressive runs by Sterling’s previous editions comes a new, redesigned version of George W. Bridgman’s landmark work. It combines six well-known books by the celebrated artist and lecturer, who taught figure and anatomy drawing for many years at New York City’s Art Students League. This edition preserves Bridgman’s lessons and original sketches, but now features a nostalgic, eye-catching cover that distinguishes it from the competition. In its sleek new format, this comprehensive guide will certainly continue its reign as one of the premier figure-drawing publications of all time.


Frequently Bought Together

Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life + Constructive Anatomy + Heads, Features and Faces
Price For All Three: CDN$ 28.64

  • Constructive Anatomy CDN$ 9.02
  • Heads, Features and Faces CDN$ 5.22

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Product Details

Product Description

From Library Journal

It's rare to find good, comprehensive books on drawing the anatomy. Each of these the first, the return of a classic; the second, a focused study; and the third, lessons from the masters deserves a place on library shelves. Bridgman was a legendary teacher at New York's Art Students' League. There, he originated a system of drawing known as "constructive anatomy." In 1952, his seven books on anatomy were gathered into one volume, which became a standard work at art schools and universities. Published now for the first time in paperback, it holds up as an indispensable volume, with more than 200 illustrations of hands and hundreds of images of arms, shoulders, heads, torsos, legs, knees, and feet. Fairley's book concentrates on those troublesome extremities hands and feet. Sketchbook exercises are followed by eight detailed painting demonstrations in watercolor, oil, and other media. Fairley then continues on to portraits in which variations in age, skin tone, composition, mood, and movement are integrated. Advanced students will find Hale and Coyle's Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters a rich source of inspiration. Hale, like Bridgman, was one of the great teachers at the Art Students' League. His student, Coyle, gathered together Hale's famous lectures to produce this compendium. Hale drew on principles found in 100 masterpieces by such artists as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Rubens, Raphael, D?rer, Titian, and Rembrandt. In 1995, Giovanni Civardi's trilogy Drawing Human Anatomy (Sterling, 1995), Drawing the Female Nude (Sterling, 1995), and Drawing the Male Nude (LJ 3/15/96. o.p.) reached a high standard for good, basic books in this genre. These three surpass Civardi's works and are highly recommended for serious artists and comprehensive library collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"...the return of a classic...Bridgman was a legendary teacher at New York's Art Students' League. There he originated a system of drawing known as 'constructive anatomy.' In 1952, his seven books on anatomy were gathered into one volume, which became a standard work at art schools and universities. Published now, for the first time in paperback, it holds up as an indispensable volume with more than 200 illustrations of hands and hundreds of images of arms, shoulders, heads, torsos, legs, knees, and feet." -- Library Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST DRAWING BOOK YOU COULD EVER BUY!!!! Nov. 20 2002
By J.P.
I own several drawing books including: Drawing A Contemporary Approach (Betti / Sale), Figure Drawing (Goldstein), The Craft of Drawing (Wood), Gray's Anatomy, Drawing on The Right Side of The Brain (Edwards). BRIDGMAN'S is bar the best purchase, and possibly the only drawing book you need to teach yourself to draw. Let me preface that by saying, Betty Edwards book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain I also give five stars, primarially as a fantastic tool for teaching drawing, and for those beginners who are not right-brain dominant but want to draw.
Open to almost any page in Bridgman's and you'll see several illustrations to begin working from if you choose. Or, read from the beginning the simple text that helps break down the figure, and the figure's components, into shapes and go from there. This book is brimming with accurate and easy to read text and anatomical poses to learn from.
I guarantee you, if you draw as you see in the Bridgman's book, or if you even copy every drawing in the Bridgman's book, you will draw the figure, and everything else, like a professional. This book should be on every teacher and professor's course syllabus for all drawing levels. Great tips, great tools, great reminders. Enjoy drawing!
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In my opinion, perhaps it is best to review this book in two aspects: a) what & how they are covered in the book and b) how I use this book.
WHAT & HOW THEY ARE COVERED IN THIS BOOK: This book covers every part of a human body and how to draw them. These include proportions, balance, light & shade, head, torso, arm, hand, pelvis, leg, foot, and drapery. Not only does each section show how to draw these human organs, their anatomical aspects are also discussed in sufficient detail. Illustrations are drawings by the author, going from simplified to realistic expressions of the organs. Movement, gesture, and balance are the most useful and interesting aspects discussed for each organ as well as for the whole body. These aspects are usually not as clearly covered in other anatomy books as in this one. This is a special strength of this book compared to others.
HOW I USE THIS BOOK: Although the approach I use to do life figure drawing is more like that described in "The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing : A Contemporary Perspective on the Classical Tradition" by Anthony Ryder (also read my review on this book), this book is valuable to me for the following reasons:
- Certain poses that are impossible to set sufficiently long for a detailed rendition, either due to their complexity or time restraint, that a live model cannot maintain. In this case, quick sketches or incomplete drawings are done from a live model; the rest will be done based on an understanding of human anatomy. This is when this book becomes a big help.
- Even when drawing from a life model, certain features are not clearly visible or existent in the same model. For instance, a beautiful face does not always come with an ideal body proportion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best July 9 2002
After purchasing too many sub-par reference books on anatomy for artists, I highly recommend any of the Bridgman books. However, this one is the best of the bunch, as it combines the illustrations of the others in a larger format. Hey, you can spend triple the price of this book on newer books with poorer illustrations on better quality paper, (a.k.a: "Drawing the Human Body" by
Giovanni Civardi -blech!), but for my money, Bridgeman has yet to be beat. An absolute must have for any serious illustrator or figurative painter.
I also recomend "The Human Figure: An Anatomy for Artists" by David K. Rubins as a no-nonsence, highly useful anatomy reference.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book May 11 2001
This book is excellent for those artists who need practice drawing the human figure because the book has so many progressive pictures to look at and utilize. The section for "hands" is very good showing the artist, by example, how to go about starting each finger and on to the thumb and how to attach them to the hand. Each of the sections on the figure is self contained with several sketches with varying views (top, side,etc.) I have a hard time with specific components of the figure and this book has made everything very clear and helpful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book. Feb. 18 2003
By A Customer
If you would like to really know how to understandand draw the human body this is the book to get. Bridgeman makes the body easy to understand, but not like many drawing books were most of this how to draw books last 20 or 30 years this book has last almost a 100 years and is still used today. Bridgeman teaching has develop many top master such as norman rockwell. enjoy the book and really read and draw the human form like he develop it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a bargain! April 8 2000
By A Customer
You are getting alot in this book! George Bridgman is the master at constructive anatomy. If you are taking or want to take a lifedrawing course, get this book! It is invaluable for visualizing human anatomy as 3dimensional shapes! I am an animator and find this book indispensable - especially for doing gestures and quick studies!
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4.0 out of 5 stars great to have, but not the sole reference Jan. 27 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Who am I to criticize a Bridgman classic? I believe that this book is a great tool to have in the collection, but not the only anatomy reference you will need to master anatomical art (hence loosing 1 star).
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing & very informative!
Published 1 month ago by nazz
1.0 out of 5 stars A non effort,unworthy of a star.
There seems to be little or no effort to match the drawings with the text.After scratching my head one to many times the enjoyment of learning to draw vanished as did the book... Read more
Published 10 months ago by jonpa
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone from fine arts to comic book artist needs this book
This is by far the best book for study after you have the basics knowledge of the body.

When you first look at it you may think they are badly drawn but I've had to... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jared
5.0 out of 5 stars George Bridgman is Awesome!
I bought this book after I watched Marshall Vandruff's lecture about anatomy. He showed that even Frank Frazetta copied Bridgman's drawings. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Riman
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what i expected
Its good, but it did not meet my expectations. At least you can learn from it and use some of the illustration as a guide/model.
Published 16 months ago by puppylove
1.0 out of 5 stars little or no value
This book would best be an introduction to artistic anatomy for junior high school students. I don't consider it a serious book for real artists. Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by Sparkly Raven
1.0 out of 5 stars Total waste of Money
I have bought many drawing books and have been able to gleam at least something from each that I thought warranted me keeping the book. Read more
Published on June 7 2004 by Jimmy Thomas
2.0 out of 5 stars Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing From Life
I read one other review that was critical of this book. I think most opinions are swayed by Bridgman's reputation. It is hard to agrue with his credentials. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by Don
3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, but there are better anatomy books.
I feel almost guilty, like I'm missing something, but I just couldn't get into this book. Everybody spoke so highly of it, but I just didn't find anything in its pages that made... Read more
Published on June 18 2003 by Rembrantley
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for beginners!
You MUST have an in-depth knowledge of the human anatomy (particularly the bones and muscles) before you buy this book. Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2003 by Carlo R. Montoya
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