Drawing the Head and Hands (160 pages; ISBN-10: 0857680978, ISBN-13: 978-0857680976) will be the second in Titan Books’ new line of facsimile editions of Andrew Loomis’s celebrated art instruction books. The first volume, Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth, is available now, and it’s a beauty. Other volumes that have already been announced include Fun with a Pencil and Creative Illustration.
And keep in mind: you don’t have to take my word that Loomis’s sophisticated but practical course of instruction will benefit any student of art who wishes to become proficient at drawing lively human figures in deep pictorial space from imagination as well as from life. Loomis’s books have been available for free download online for several years now. So before you order, you have nobody but yourself to blame if you haven’t already test-driven the content; however, if you have already taken Loomis’s analytical concepts and encouraging words for a spin, and you have a notion that what Loomis has to offer will help you get where you want to go as an artist, now is definitely the time to buy, because I daresay that even if you are much, much younger than I am, you are unlikely to see better reprints of Loomis’s books in your lifetime — though if Titan Books also decides to publish softcover editions, you might, eventually, see slightly cheaper ones.
Back on 10 November 2010, I posted to alert readers to the possible re-publication, in hardcover, of the art-instruction classic, Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth, by Andrew Loomis (see Heads Up: “Figure Drawing” by Andrew Loomis).
Well, I don’t have the book in my hands yet, but earlier today I received notification from Chapters.indigo.ca that my order for “Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth” has shipped! Which is odd, because when I subsequently checked the record in the Chapters.indigo.ca catalogue, the status of Loomis’s book was given as “Preorder Today! – Not Yet Released.” But apparently being “not yet released” is no hindrance to shipment via Canada Post!
I’ll certainly update this message if and when the book actually arrives at my door. But I have to say that, right now, it’s looking pretty damn good!
The good news is, the book arrived at my door about an hour ago! The better news is, Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth from Titan Books is exactly what any artist who is also a bibliophile would wish for in a Loomis reprint: hardcover, sewn binding, classic dustjacket, classic trim size (9.23 x 12.3 inches), excellent paper selection, crisp reproduction, and no silly additions. And what’s more, given the overall excellence of this reprint, the very best news is, the bottom corner of the back cover flap includes the following notice:
COMING SOON IN THE SERIES
FROM TITAN BOOKS
Drawing the Head and Hands
Fun with a Pencil
I don’t know whether to believe this or not — other Loomis reprints have been announced before and come to nothing — but an Amazon.ca search of drawing books to be published in 2011 brings up the following:
Figure Drawing [Hardcover]
Andrew Loomis (Author)
List Price: CDN$ 46.00
Price: CDN$ 28.84 & this item ships for FREE with Super Saver Shipping. Details
You Save: CDN$ 17.16 (37%)
It’s strange to think that Loomis’s legendary art instruction books are all out of print in English. I read once that the lack of reprint editions had something to do with a certain lack of interest on the part of the copyright holders; however, if the copyright holders have had a change of heart, all I can say is, HALLELUJAH!
Of course, Loomis’s books are all available for download from various sites, but I say that a book in the hand is worth a dozen on the hard drive.
Nick Zuccarello put together a set of six anatomical reference sheets for a class he was teaching, and he has kindly made those plates available on his blog for others to download. The drawn diagrams are from one of Zuccarello’s “favorite anatomy books,” Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier, and the photos are from the 3dsk site. The sheets, which cover the basics in extremely condensed form, focus on the torso, legs, and arms, and at the very least, will give you a preview of what the diagrams in the Strength Training Anatomy book are like.
UPDATE (25 November 2010):
Here are seven anatomical charts from the first edition of the book, Human Anatomy for Artist Students, by Sir Alfred Fripp and Ralph Thompson, with drawings by Innes Fripp; sorry they are such low resolution images, but if only one impoverished artist out there finds them useful, it will have all been worth it:
[CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE]
Funny thing is, Human Anatomy for Artist Students is NOT currently out of print. Of course the book has long been in the public domain, so anyone could potentially publish a new edition. The only company that has done so, however, is Dover Publications (see ISBN-10: 0486447715, ISBN-13: 978-0486447711). Ah, Dover! I do love you so!
(The books used to be distributed via the Illustration Age site, but that’s no longer the case. The explanation offered is as follows: “Out of respect for the Andrew Loomis estate, Illustration Age has removed these out-of-print books from our free collection.” Previously, however, Illustration Age site claimed that Loomis’s books “are free to distribute because of their public domain status.” My view is, if the books are in the public domain, they’re in the public domain. Too bad for the estate that they didn’t give a shit about the books when they could easily have protected the copyright. But what’s done is done. In fact, the free PDFs are what prompted me and others to buy the lovely the hardcover reprints a few years back. Free e-Loomis for everyone!)