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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jack Hamm approaches the student with respect...#1 book
"Drawing the Head & Figure" by Jack Hamm
'Practice the "rough"! Hamm writes. Jack Hamm's book is refreshingly straightforward. There's nothing here for the "drawing on the right side of my ambition"
crowd. Hamm's freehand illustrations are absolutely PACKED into this book, from 10 to 25 illustrations generally, on each and...
Published on June 30 2004 by Bruce Bain

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty solid, but I needed more practical exercises ...
... and his style is somewhat 'spare' for what I want to do with graphite and charcoal. I came into art from drafting/design and have been struggling with 'too much technique and not enough drawing'. While this book hasn't cured me yet it's a start (for life drawing) and appears so far to be better than most figure texts costing twice as much. Most life drawing books...
Published on Nov. 25 2001 by Burton Houck


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jack Hamm approaches the student with respect...#1 book, June 30 2004
By 
Bruce Bain "Romans 9:33/Remember Jackie Robinson" (Englewood, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Drawing the Head and Figure (Paperback)
"Drawing the Head & Figure" by Jack Hamm
'Practice the "rough"! Hamm writes. Jack Hamm's book is refreshingly straightforward. There's nothing here for the "drawing on the right side of my ambition"
crowd. Hamm's freehand illustrations are absolutely PACKED into this book, from 10 to 25 illustrations generally, on each and every page with brief but concise text.
Hamm's presentation does not overwhelm the beginner because he does not use a confusing style of teaching. It's as though he took Stephen Peck's "Atlas of Anatomy for the Artist" and reduced it to its bare essential text, while at the same time, increasing the number of illustrations in the book. I'm truly amazed at how much good basic instruction Hamm has packed into only 120 pages. He is to be complimented.
$11.95 is the list price, but Amazon discounts that down to $9.56, and with the many clunky HOW-TO-DRAW books are approaching $20 and $30, this is one of the best bargains on the market.
Want to know how to draw the shoulder, the "six-pack" (abdomen), the pectorals, upper body and the neck? Hamm shows how better than 95% of the drawing books on the market today.
Hamm devotes an entire page each, to show how to draw lips, nose, eyes, etc. Likewise, there is an entire page to show closed hands, and another entire page to show the open hand. The Nose page shows 21 different styles of noses. And on page 41, Hamm shows the SIMPLIFIED FIGURETTE, with an Egg-shaped head, egg-shaped chest, egg-shaped pelvis, a couple of stick legs and arms, and illustrates its use in dynamic action poses. BRAVO!
Another feature I like about Hamm is that he has acheived clear mental focus. That is to say, when he offers a book on "drawing" there's nothing in there on Working With Color, or Painting, or Composition, or worse, attempts to burden the student by imposing metaphysical ideas. Hamm approaches the student with respect. When he titles his book "DRAWING" then drawing is exactly the subject he treats, and not other complicated and non-essential matters. By the way, Hamm does offer separate books on the subjects of:
"Still-Life Drawing and Painting" "How to Draw Animals"
"Drawing Scenery: Landscapes and Seascapes" etc. all at bargain prices.
Hamm reminds me of the working draftsmen of the Rennaissance era with his uncomplicated teaching method, and he's a teacher for the working day. If I could rate it higher, I certainly would. Jack Hamm's book belongs #1 of all beginner drawing books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed, Jan. 18 2007
This review is from: Drawing the Head and Figure (Paperback)
This is how you write books; complete, detailed and also a good reference. This is a writer who actually wants to teach you something, even when it means for example that he has to draw 40-60 legs to get his point across. I write educational stuff myself and I know one thing that is important; details. Jack Hamm understand this and it's not without a reason why his books are still so popular after 44 years. Jack, if you can hear me; well done sir!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The complete one-book reference on drawing head and figure., Jan. 18 2004
This review is from: Drawing the Head and Figure (Paperback)
This book is a clearly written, easy to follow, detailed and concise handbook to drawing the head and figure by using several different approaches and understanding the anatomy of the human body from the outside without going deeper into its musculature or skeletal structure. This fully illustrated reference contains over 900 diagrams and illustrations and is structured into fourteen carefully organized sections that pack into one book, without leaving anything out, all the information that usually takes other authors 2 or 3 volumes.
The author covers general topics like figure and head construction, basic lines of the figure, head patterns, angles and comparisons, movements, proportions and simplified figures. He also goes into specific topics like facial features, hair, torso, neck and shoulders, arms, hands, legs, and feet. As an added bonus he includes not so common topics such as youth and age, and clothing, but as a warning, note that most fashion elements like clothing, hairstyles and makeup are from the 1960's since this volume is a reprint of a book originally published in 1963.
By studying this book as if it were a textbook on a course, doing all the exercises and reviewing each section afterwards, I have noticeably improved my drawings in a very short time.
If you are a beginner, this is the first book you should buy to understand the fundamentals of head and figure drawing before going into deeper, more complicated and not so thorough figure drawing books. If you are a seasoned or professional artist, get this book to discover new principles and techniques to experiment with. This book is a must for any artist's bookshelf.
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gets you going...right away., Oct. 24 2001
By 
Ganapathy Subramaniam (Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Drawing the Head and Figure (Paperback)
--
This is an excellent book for the beginner to get started on drawing the human body right away.
Pick up a pencil, charcoal or whatever (ballpoint pen is a real tool too!) and start drawing what Jack says. In no time you will be amazed at what you can draw.
The lessons are profusely illustrated but the text is very concise and hence one has to focus on what he says carefully.
It begins with the head, moves to the body , details the hand and goes on to clothing, dealing both the female and the male equally well. There are hundreds of *tips* that one can learn in this book.
For example the author talks about the 'T' technique. Using this very simple observational method one can capture the realism of an object in terms of how the edges of the objects are all made of different forms of the letter 'T'. And using this technique one can depict the 3 dimensional illusion on paper. Especially this helps is drawing the human body. (if you are wondering what the hell this is, pls take a look inside the book)
There are countless number of such practical tips, using which one can, not only start drawing right away, but also learn how to approach drawing the body on their own.
The secret of using Jack's book is to pick up a lesson, one at a time, follow the tips and practice that lesson until one can draw that particular piece without seeing. Also 'Read what he says very carefully', 'Pay attention to every word'.
A more personal approach and continuity in the conversation with the student as one progresses thru the pages and more 'exercises' and a note on how to use the book, which one takes a while to figure out would have earned it 5 stars.
But.. it has *practical* tips and techniques to make anybody with the desire, to draw a human body with ease and confidence......Right away!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reference book, Feb. 24 2010
By 
This review is from: Drawing the Head and Figure (Paperback)
If one can forgive the rather awkward and chaotic layout of the pages, I think the book is a rather interesting read. There are many many many examples that illustrate almost directly what the author writes about, so merely copying those drawings can already be very good exercise. There is a lot of detailed and precision talk involved in the drawings, but the language is fairly straightforward, so most people could understand and enjoy it. The drawing style is 'comic realistic', so if you like the more vintage comic book Superman kind of drawing, this book's definitely for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The #1 Best Figure Drawing Book, June 14 2004
This review is from: Drawing the Head and Figure (Paperback)
I've read several anatomy and figure drawing books and flipped through a bunch more. I think this is probably the very best figure drawing book of all. Anatomy books generally just throw a bunch of bones and muscles at you and teach you nothing about drawing them. You soon forget the names of most of the bones and muscles and you're not much better off. In the opposite extreme, Anthony Ryder's book gives you a few good drawing tips, but that's all. Jack Hamm's book is different and far better than the others. He points out the shapes of the human body in many different positions and shows you how they are defined by light and shadow. He tells you hundreds of details about how different parts of the human body look and should be drawn. He makes you aware of so many things that help you visualize and draw the human body. He gives you a much deeper understanding of the body. I wanted to be able to construct bodies from my imagination instead of being limited to copying what I see. This book helps you do both. You can draw something better if you understand it better. He teaches you what kinds of things to observe about the human body, so that you are able to observe and learn even more after you have finished reading the book.
And even though this book seems modern, by the time I finished it I got the feeling that this book taught me a lot of what the great old masters knew, before modern art took over the art world. This is the real book you should get if you want to be good at figure drawing, not that horrible hoax of a book "The Natural Way to Draw" by Nicolaides.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The #1 Best Figure Drawing Book, June 14 2004
This review is from: Drawing the Head and Figure (Paperback)
I've read several anatomy and figure drawing books and flipped through a bunch more. I think this is probably the very best figure drawing book of all. Anatomy books generally just throw a bunch of bones and muscles at you and teach you nothing about drawing them. You soon forget the names of most of the bones and muscles and you're not much better off. In the opposite extreme, Anthony Ryder's book gives you a few good drawing tips, but that's all. Jack Hamm's book is different and far better than the others. He points out the shapes of the human body in many different positions and shows you how they are defined by light and shadow. He tells you hundreds of details about how different parts of the human body look and should be drawn. He makes you aware of so many things that help you visualize and draw the human body. Finally, he gives you a much deeper understanding of the body. I wanted to be able to construct bodies from my imagination instead of being limited to copying what I see. This book helps you do both. You can draw something better if you understand it better. And even though this book seems modern, by the time I finished it I got the feeling that this book taught me a lot of what the great old masters knew, before modern art took over the art world. This is the real book you should get if you want to be good at figure drawing, not that horrible hoax of a book "The Natural Way to Draw" by Nicolaides.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unconditional recommendation, Sept. 15 2002
By 
Michael D. Sweeney (Berkeley, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drawing the Head and Figure (Paperback)
In most of the fields I work in (and I'm old enough to work in quite a few) I rely on a collection of "tools"; shortcuts, rules-of-thumb, ways to solve a problem that have worked in the past and will probably help the next time, too.

Jack Hamm seems to think this way too. His book does not give a single dogmatic approach (or worse yet, solve problems invisibly, never letting you know how he got the results he did); what he does is lay out possible ways you can approach the problems of proportion and perspective, anatomy and drapery, shadowing and expression. Not just one method but many methods; many "tools" you can use or not use as you shape those first pencil scratches into a completed drawing.

His techniques for proportion are absolutely wonderful. His understanding of the action line is now the basis of all my figure art. This book is slim but it is all red meat, no fat.

His skills are solid. He has no illusions and pulls no punches. He knows well there is stuff you can "fake" and stuff you are going to have to get right no matter how hard it seems. Yet, somehow, without the breezy pollyanna "just let it flow!" of too many "Yes, you too can draw!" books Jack Hamm manages to make it seem possible. Every time I open his book, I find myself opening my sketch pad as well, and that is one of the highest praises one can give a drawing book.

The usual caveat...you are not going to get far with figure drawing without one solid dedicated hardbound anatomy book. Add Jack Hamm to the short shelve....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Carpenter or architect?, July 22 2002
This review is from: Drawing the Head and Figure (Paperback)
I've read and used some really sorry figure drawing books ( and unfortunately bought most of them ). I purchased Jack's book on drawing animals aeons ago, and was impressed with it. This book warrants similar accolades. Simply put, it demonstrates the essentials for drawing the human figure. Burne Hogarth also wrote some excellent books on the subject, but was a bit heavy on the theory. In addition, you can see Hogarth's emphasis was on comic book illustration. He's more...theoretical? Jack Hamm, from what I can see, was more of an illustrator for everyday subjects. His section on clothing is priceless...he tells you the essentials in a few pages. Hogarth takes another entire book to do that, and still another to cover drawing the head. I'm not knocking Hogarth, I think he's a genius. Essentially, we are talking about the difference between an architect and a carpenter. For anyone just starting on figure drawing, this is the most helpful book in my opinion. If you are already drawing people, you can still gain an immense amount of insight from Mr. Hamm.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What This Book Will Teach:, Jan. 24 2002
This review is from: Drawing the Head and Figure (Paperback)
The cover might not be impressive, but the content is the best I've seen. If you are pretty good at drawing, this book will show you what you need to give your figrues that extra boost to make them look real.
His FOCUS is NOT so much ON the BASIC ASPECTS of your figures, but he makes it easy to understand the nature of the body and how it appears. I wanted to take anatomy so I could understand the parts of the body and how to draw them with the REALISTIC MUSCLES and curves. But now I don't care too much about that anymore because this book was able to show me the ANATOMY of the body AS it is SEEN FROM the OUTSIDE, and showed me how to draw it--He takes about 2 PAGES FOCUSING on the apperance of EACH BODY PART and reveals useful tricks about them (that you probably wouldn't have ever noticed) that might make a world of difference in your drawings. He also showed me how to keep things proportional. Plus I can finally draw that ever annoying issue of drawing CLOTHES and FOLDS in FABRIC!
Don't be decieved by the price or the cover; this book is a classic and a keeper!
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Drawing the Head and Figure
Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm (Paperback - Jan. 17 2002)
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