6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2003
This book , though I have only seen it for one night has shown e thigs I never would have thought of about drawing comic book-esq figures. Its definately a great book for people who aspire to professionally pencil comic books, like myself. But it is not medically accurate, so in that case, not meant for realist drawing.
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2002
There is an undeniable rapport which every one of us has with the human form. It has been shown that even newborn infants almost immediately recognize and differentiate between faces and expressions. The human face and body remain amongst the most complex physical instruments known, and the scientific and artistic expression of them has remained a priority throughout past and present civilizations.
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2001
This is one of the greatest, most comprehensive guide to drawing figures in complicated poses and angles. Most people find this book to be too complicated. It's true that the book is very scholarly and requires a thorough study. It's not a how-to book for hobbyists and kids that guides people through figure drawing step-by-step. To get most out of it, one must already be fairly experienced at drawing the figure in more common poses and very committed to learning more. The book is an intellectual collection of techniques and methods to solving *problems* that arise in figure drawing.
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2000
There's no short cut to learning to draw the human figure realistically in space. What you will learn from Mr. Hogarth is in essence his own system with it's own deep-seated lapses. If you want to learn to draw like somebody else, why not study Alex Raymond and Hal Foster, two great realist-illustrator cartoonists who were far superior to Hogarth?
Although his fans will disagree, if you read carefully between the lines of their reviews, they're often saying the same thing; with a radical difference in emphasis. They think it was worth it. In my opinion learning this system is a form of artistic suicide, a one-way ticket to hack-dom. I sincerely doubt that what is valuable in this book can be separated from what is artificial, hackneyed, mannered and sterile.
Even if you want to draw super-heroes (the only application of this book that I can remotely entertain), you should read and work through a variety of books. The public library usually has decent ones available for free. Of the books that I've used, Master Class in figure drawing by Robert Beverly Hale gives you a taste of what it must have been like to sit in on Hale's legendary classes, and Artistic Anatomy by Richer provides more than you'll ever need to know about the human body. Learning to draw the figure should be approached as a great adventure (as all great challenges are). Learn anatomy systematically - don't learn a system of anatomy... You'll end up with a system anyway, but it will be your own, earned through study, practice and inquiry.
Using this book is caking out. Don't do that.
on May 17, 2002
First, I have to point out that this is NOT an anatomy book. If you purchase this book as an anatomy book, you will be diasappointed. (you probably wanted "Dynamic Anatomy" by the same author)
This book focuses on drawing the human figure in dynamic poses. It offers many good techniques on foreshadowing, proportion, and balance. I found this book to be helpful within the first several pages. Hogarth provides ample description and explanation of his techniques.
I would not recommend this book to people who are more interested in fine-arts figure-drawing and life drawing, as this book is intended for drawing the human figure without a model. If you are interested in comic book art, illustrations, or other drawing that involves drawing dynamic scenes without a model, this book is a *wonderful* starting point.
And like any how-to-draw book, it is not an instant solution to all of your drawing problems. The only way to truly improve is by lots and lots of practice, but this book gives you great techniques to practice.
on March 6, 2001
Burne Hogarth is a wonderful artist and that cannot be denied. However, DYNAMIC FIGURE DRAWING lacks simple to understand language and structure.
The start of the book seems to throw various techniques of figure drawing in no particular order (which are strangely re-examined in later chapters) and most of the language is so complex i ended up resorted to simply looking at the pictures (as they say, "a picture is worth a 1000 words.")
It is a good book but definately lacks the fundamental basics of "how to draw" and is more of "hints and tips" as it is more about the intracacies of the human figure. That said, it does have some very, very good techniques, hence its 4 star rating. Though i can't stress how impossible to understand the text is (maybe its just me???)and how few profile and frontal diagrams there are as pretty much everything is drawn on a 3/4 angle.
I recommend it as good material for an experienced artist with a firm grasp of incomprehensible, university english. (I'm hoping to find someone from law school who can decipher the paragraphs because i'm sure i'm missing some good advice!) For those wishing to get the basics of figure drawing you can't beat a "how to draw" book by Stan Lee or Andrew Loomis.
on August 5, 2000
Mr. Hogarth's book is clearly targeted at raising consciousness on human movement and visual perception and that is the most impressive, why not to say 'effective' point of his writing style. He describes what one should see in a drawing from varied points-of-view. That surely helps in identifying the most commom flaws most people starting at human body drawing have ever come to in the attempt. He points directly to the most disappointing in learning drawing: gaining the perception of space, proportion and movement and distributing the visual or imaginative input on paper. Concerning the practical aspects of learning through Mr. Hogarth's book, the author does not include exercises for practicing but that does not count as a weak point at all. The sketches in the book are more than helpful in showing how an oval shape becomes a head, all the initial strokes and lines are visible so that one can see through the sketch how it began to be created. As said before, through this book one will be able to understand the dinamics of human body movement and the sketches that come with these theoretical descriptions will help you redraw your own heads, torsos, legs and arms in the movement you may be able to imagine. That is not a tutorial or a how-to manual, it is a book that teaches you to think and see the human body with keen mind and eyes. A book based on understading not copying.
on December 8, 1999
Subtlety is certainly not the strong point of this book. If you want realistic figures, look elsewhere like the Barcsay anatomy book. DYNAMIC FIGURE DRAWING doesn't explore the nuances of quiet poses or the beauty in overweight, underweight, or aged figures.
But if you aspire to draw or paint powerful, idealistic, and expressionistic figures, combine the lessons of this book with drawing from athletic models. If you're into Michelangelo with his use of larger-than-life figures that use exaggerated poses and anatomy to convey strong emotion, you'll like this book.
After practicing the lessons inside the book, you'll be able to spot and draw them better when you draw from a model. Your powerful figures will have more authority to them. And with enough figure drawing under your belt, plus what you've learned from this book, you'll be able to draw figures out of your head in any position you want them in.
The Disney animated feature "Tarzan" was obviously inspired by Burne Hogarth's version of the comic strip "Tarzan." The animators learned many lessons from Hogarth, including foreshortening and dynamic poses and anatomy. I'll bet this book was an important reference to whoever worked on that film.
on February 2, 1999
A great book, one to read and enjoy (especially the last 1/3), one to practice with, and one to keep as a reference. I found it takes a few readings to develop the sense and style that your sketch hand will develop thru practice. The format of the book walks you through a great progression of visual understanding. Thereby providing the reader the tools required to develop patience for sketching. Most importantly: the figures are drawn in dynamic poses, and the accompanying text instruct on how to capture this moment in time... unlike many books/teachers whom teach very static poses. After this book and lots practice, you will not require a model: you will have the movements and proportions in your head. As far as I'm concerned: figure drawing should be done and taught this way. If you only buy one figure drawing book then one authored by Hogarth is the way to go, and if you buy only one of his: this is the volume you need.
on July 12, 2000
This is a must buy book for artists,animators comic book artists,or enthusiasts of figure drawing,who have dreamed of drawing foreshortened human figuresand human figures in action from memory/imagination. This book doesnt contain realistic anatomy,the author uses his own verson of human anatomy toexplain his methods andprinciples,these have to be taken as tools only and not rules. But after you have practised from this book hard enough you will find that your life drawing speed and skill is miles further than when you started,i also recommend the other books by burne hogarth ,dynamic anatomy,drawing dynamic hands, dynamic heads,dynamic light and shade and dynamic wrinkles and drapery.Only one word of caution its very easy to get influenced by burne hogarths work,and your work might start looking like a clone of his.So the key is get inspired not influenced ,keep your own style and use this book to add to that.