Artists Complete Guide to Figure Painting – Anthony Ryder


A Word About the Book – by the author Anthony J. Ryder

It is easier to draw the figure than it is to paint it. And you can only paint the figure as well as you can draw it. If, through the medium of drawing, you do not understand the surface of the human body, nor comprehend its subtle formal structure, there is very little likelihood that you will master it in paint. All the great painters have been great draftsmen. This is because drawing is the essence of painting.

It is therefore essential that all aspiring painters learn to draw: to draw, not simply to sketch. Sketching is in itself a beautiful art. But sketching is not drawing. A sketch captures in a few strokes some aspect of the movement, proportion and character of the figure. Sketches can be exquisitely beautiful. Drawing on the other hand builds an image of the figure, an image replete with every subtle curve, both in the outline, and throughout its entire visible surface. This is accomplished in drawing through the work of shading. Through shading is described the ever turning, ever modulating form of the surface of the body that occurs within the confines of the contour.

The Artist’s Complete Guide to Figure Drawing was written for those who wish to develop an in-depth vision of the human figure. It was written for painters and draftsmen alike, who, having seen the drawings and paintings of the masters, desire to work in that ancient and venerable mode. As, to the refined and sensitive palate, fine aged wine is better than newly squeezed grape juice, so the great art of centuries past is infinitely more pleasing than much that goes by the name of art today. Would that we all might discover the richness of the beauty of the human figure as it was once known to artists of old.

I hope that The Artist’s Complete Guide to Figure Drawing might contribute to a reawakening of such an awareness, to a renaissance, and to a rebirth in each artist of this subtle understanding.