Book Review: Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life

Book Review: Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life

There are a couple of George Bridgman anatomy books if you look around. If you just want one Bridgman anatomy book, Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life is the book for you. It essentially collects most of the illustrations and commentary from his other books.

This edition is published by Sterling and it's much larger than the Dover editions. It's also thicker at 352 pages. Books included here are:

  • Bridgman's Life Drawing
  • Constructive Anatomy
  • The Human Machine
  • Heads Features and Faces
  • The Book of a Hundred Hands
  • Drawing the Draped Figure

That's six books for the price of one. Well, almost. It's not a complete duplication of those books, some drawings are left out. The text is slightly rewritten and move around but the main gist remains.

This book covers all parts of the human body. It also touches on topics like use of balance, rhythm and light in drawing figures.

This is not a book that I will recommend to beginners. The commentary is great only if you already understand your anatomy and know your muscles well. This is because most of the illustrations don't have labels so it's not easy to figure out which part he's referring to, unless you already know generally where those muscles are. The drawings are a little sketchy and sometimes hard to make out different muscle groups.

The main use of this book is probably to help artists visualise the weight, forms of construction and mass of the figures. To that extent, the plenty of illustrated examples are helpful at bringing the concept across, and to practice from.

Below's the preview I found on Google Books. You can get a feel of the style just by browsing through the pages.

This book is very helpful when used with a clearer anatomy reference book. I'll recommend for intermediate to advance artists. For beginners, it's still pretty good for inspiration.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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