This powerful book offers a systematic approach to rendering action figures that seem to leap off the page.
I see that a few of the reviewers have been rather harsh with this book. Well in that affair, let me say that they are cases of people not looking at this book as a comic book referrence, but rather a realistic, fine arts way. So if that is what you are looking for, I do not suggest this book.
As to the explanations in the book, they are a bit tough to understand, but if you study carefully the illustrations, then the instructionsbecome much clearer.
Also, as a side note, as its been stated this is NOT a good book for beginners in the comic book field. In that regard, I suggest "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way," by Stan Lee, and John Buscema.
To sum it up, this book is for the small group of people who are not beginners to comics, but still need to refer or learn about the comic book style male body.
This work is a classic in the field, and for perhaps the first time introduced the general public with a methodology of constructing any human figure, in any posture, purely from imagination, without the need for a posing model.
The basis of this system is the concept that any part of the human body can be simplified into a handful of fundamental geometric shapes, which can then be connected in space, and then interact with one another. This approach culminates in the astonishingly realistic construction of the human form in action, of which numerous examples are provided. The emphasis is always upon the spontaneous creation of human characters, projected from three dimensions upon a two dimensional surface.
Most disciplines and endeavors, and consequently the practitioners within it, tend to become complacent, increasingly relying upon a fixed set of tools and habits. This system, in contrast, is sufficiently general that any posture of any form, at any angle of view, can be drawn with equal facility. Just as there is a standard for cursive handwriting, yet eventually each individual projects their own unique personality and style into their writing, this system begins with a standard of figures, yet allows and actually encourages justifiable stylistic changes.
Furthermore, the actual form itself need not be limited to any particular type. One need merely alter the proportions and distances of the geometric archetypal shapes, and the new character, with its unique and symbolic composition, will be well on its way to creation. The figures in this work were wisely kept in an ideal stage, for it is from that form that any other can be created, as deviations from that standard. In this way differences in height, weight, and age, for example, can be readily projected upon the character, and their own personal story will be indelibly and visually told.
Hogarth instructed for years at the world-renown Pasadena Art School, and has also written numerous books supporting this one, including one focusing upon anatomy, as well as detailed books on rendering the hands and feet, not to mention an incredible work on drawing the human face. Remarkably inexpensive when the information provided is considered, the entire collection serves as a foundation for the spontaneous creation of characters whose physical form is symbolic of their capabilities and attitude, always completely independent of the artist having ever viewed a similar living representative.
Do not hold the mistaken belief that examples are limited to the pages of this work. Throughout movie storyboarding, comics, fashion design, medical illustrations, Japanese Anime, and commercial art, you will discover this system being put into practice, through some of the most respected artists of their fields.
This is a system which ultimately facilitates artistic creativity, and deservedly receives the highest possible ratings for its pedagogic contribution.
I purchased Hogarth's Dynamic Figure Drawing book along with the other books in his Dynamic series almost a decade ago. Since then, I have been studying the books and learning the methods slowly but surely. The books take a great deal of practice and dedication to master the knowledge contained within them. I still feel that I have much to learn from these books, despite the number of times I have referred to them through these years. However, I feel that it is because of the knowledge gained from these books that I have grown so much as an artist over the past years. I only regret that Hogarth died before I could sign up for any of his classes.