Fig­ures from Life: Draw­ing with Style

As an in-depth ex­plo­ration of life draw­ing, the pas­sion for art in this book is de­li­ciously in­fec­tious

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

As an in-depth ex­plo­ration of life draw­ing, Patrick J Jones’ pas­sion for fig­u­ra­tive art in this book is de­li­ciously in­fec­tious.

Each chap­ter opens with a de­tailed step-by-step guide on how to draw a cer­tain pose

Ob­ser­va­tional draw­ing from the hu­man fig­ure is a clas­sic skill, and one that can take a life­time to per­fect. Artist and teacher Patrick J Jones be­gan hon­ing his cre­ative skills at just 17, and now, over 30 years later, he shares his ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge in this tu­to­rial-style book.

Its lux­u­ri­ous-to-the-touch cover, with its raised ty­pog­ra­phy for the ti­tle and a strik­ing sketch of a woman kneel­ing, pro­vides an early glimpse of the glory held in­side. Patrick’s artistry and ad­vice is spread across 160 pages, and con­tained within six won­der­fully in-depth chap­ters.

Each of the top­ics un­der scru­tiny – ges­tures, long and short poses, artist’s stu­dio, rhythm of life and “love de­vo­tion sur­ren­der” – open with a de­tailed step-by-step guide on how to draw a cer­tain pose, each stage ac­com­pa­nied by a large pho­to­graph for ref­er­ence. It’s here and in the fol­low­ing pages, which fea­ture the most in­tri­cate and im­pres­sive draw­ings of the male and fe­male form, where you get your money’s worth. Not only does each chap­ter spell out how to draw a spe­cific pose, but also they also in­clude a num­ber of in­valu­able artis­tic tips. Com­mon mis­takes and prob­lem ar­eas are noted too, as well as the oc­ca­sional elab­o­ra­tion for tack­ling cer­tain trick­ier ar­eas of the body, such as the head, hand, arm and leg.

At A4 size, this book would eas­ily fit in most stan­dard-sized bags, and while it’s fairly thick and the qual­ity clear, it’s sur­pris­ingly light to carry around. One slight down­side is the size of the body copy, which is a lit­tle too small when you con­sider the word count. But then this al­lows for larger im­ages so it’s all about bal­ance. The im­age-to-word ra­tio will work for some and not for oth­ers. Ei­ther way, it takes noth­ing away from the book’s bril­liant con­tent.

There’s a strong sense of au­thor­ity sur­round­ing Fig­ures from Life: Draw­ing With Style, and it’s not dif­fi­cult to see why. The fact that art leg­end Julie Bell has writ­ten the book’s fore­word should tell you all you need to know about Patrick’s tal­ents as an artist. And if that doesn’t, the ex­per­tise and pas­sion for art that oozes out of the other 159 pages cer­tainly will. If you want to mas­ter draw­ing the hu­man form, then this is the ref­er­ence book for you.

Over­lap­ping forms and shift­ing per­spec­tive are cov­ered by Patrick in his sec­tion on fore­short­en­ing. The book con­cludes with a fine se­lec­tion of draw­ings from Patrick’s port­fo­lio.

Here, Patrick cov­ers the draw­ing tech­niques of mass­ing and omis­sion.

Patrick’s keen to em­pha­sise the im­por­tance of bal­anc­ing ges­ture with anatom­i­cal struc­ture.

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