“Drawing People: How to Portray the Clothed Figure” Art Book Review (Practical Advice For Figure Drawing Beginners)

I got this book on a suggestion by a lecturer that I think was taught by the book’s author personally before, if I am not wrong, I appreciated that lecturer’s suggestions a lot so I decided to get the book myself and it’s a nice read.

Easy to digest with two page by two page short and sweet descriptions and tips for figure drawing not just in the studio but outside with your sketchbook as well. For more detailed information of what is inside the book, I elaborate further on that in the review.

So, in both my non-instructional and instructional art book reviews, I don’t really want to give a score/rating system to the books but have categories in which I feel are important for an artbook to succeed.

For non-instructional art books, like say artbooks of movies, games, etc. I have certain categories to access them, for instructional/how-to books I have other categories.

Art books do take up a lot of space and if you don’t have a lot of space, its best to buy only the best of the best or what you yourself like.

The categories for instructional books are: Overview, Inspiration, Ease of Access (Beginner, Intermediate, Expert), Usefulness, Summary.

Overview: General, short, introduction of the book.

Inspiration: Does the book give a spark to light the artistic flames of creation or whatever, does the book inspire/make you want to draw and create your own things yourself.

Ease of Access: Certain books are only helpful to certain levels of artists, by this I mean technical skill, some books won’t make sense to beginners, others will be telling what experts already know, so starting from Beginner, to Intermediate, to Expert. Which level, the book caters to.

Usefulness: How useful the book is, does the book help to solve the problem you bought the book for.

Summary: Whether you should buy this book or not.

And so now the review:

Overview: This book focuses on the clothed figure because usually a lot of books are all about the nude figure in a studio setting, so this book wanted to cover the problems of drawing the clothed figure such as fabric folding across the figure, what types of folds there are etc.

It also touches on the certain settings you can be drawing in like how to handle drawing people outside, how the expectations in drawing are different with people who are constantly moving, etc.

There’s also works inside by Barbara Bradley’s students to showcase how they learn/handle drawing the figure, so its not just only her drawings, she shows how her students does it as well which is nice to see.

Inspiration: I would say this book can be a bit inspiring towards giving you tips on how to handle drawing outside, moving people etc. To help you over come the anxiety of “Oh, I’m bringing my sketchbook outside for the first few times”

But that is also only a few pages of the book, the rest are quite cut and dry instructional stuff on how to draw people in general, which can be inspiring in its own right, if that helps solve a problem you have been itching to solve and finally you can solve it so you are inspired to create once more.

Ease of Access: This book is definitely for beginners to intermediates, a lot of the information is something that experts have absorbed more or less already like general anatomy proportions, idealistic proportions, perspective etc.

The types of folds and how to draw fabrics can help beginners and intermediates more and perhaps for experts that needs a refresher on how many types of folds they are and how to best draw them. Otherwise, ultimately, this is a book for beginners and intermediates.

Usefulness: This book is most useful for beginners looking into how to draw clothed figures, intermediates can still benefit from some tips in this book that they do not know yet but experts may be ok with giving this book a pass unless they really need a refresher on how clothes are drawn, there’s great two paged easy to absorb tips and advice on each topic of fabrics, drawing while outside, drawing while in the studio, etc. There’s even extra chapters on drawing children, heads and hands. These are all great introductory reading to start on drawing those things but more in-depth books on that subject is definitely required.

Summary: If you are a beginner looking into how to confront drawing clothed figures for the first time then yes, I think intermediates can benefit just a bit from this book, I would say for them definitely a maybe leaning towards a no, experts very likely no to not so much to buying the book. So know your experience level and decide accordingly. There are stuff and tips like only sketching in pen to help you make decisions better which I think a lot of art school people might know already but maybe some experts and intermediates don’t.

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