Learning anatomy is an ongoing process. The body is complex and subtle in how it carries weight, balances, shifts, and expresses emotion. And yet all those subtle nuances are based on large, simple forms.
I was slow to get a grasp on anatomy. I’m still grasping and probably always will be. A lot of books I found hard to understand in the beginning, which was probably a personal learning style issue. One thing I’ve learned during my ongoing struggle to work on anatomy is that you’ve got to find the book that resonates with you and how you learn.
Here are five great books for learning anatomy. They differ a bit in how they approach the basics, but I found each one helpful in different areas. There’s probably not going to be the ONE book that you buy and does the trick. You’ll have to spend a little time mining for the information that helps you learn. Maybe this list will help you narrow the options a bit.
1) Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth – By Andrew Loomis
This book has resurfaced in recent years (it used to be out of print) and for good reason, it’s a classic. Andrew Loomis goes in to detailed explanations in an understandable way. This is the book that taught me to put multiple figures in perspective in an image.
2) Drawing the Head and Figure– By Jack Hamm
This was my most-used resourced for learning anatomy. The way things were broken down just seemed to resonate with me.
3) Drawing the Head and Hands – By Andrew Loomis
Any figure drawing book list without two Loomis suggestions is an incomplete list.
Wizard Magazine used to have a “Basic Training” Section where professional comic book artists would draw out tutorials. They were pretty great. Eventually they were collected into various volumes. They can run a little expensive on Amazon and I’m not entirely sure they’re still in print. If you’re at a comic convention maybe you can find one fairly cheap…but I don’t know for sure.
5) The Figure: The Classic Approach to Drawing & Construction – by Walt Reed
This was the first anatomy book I bought and there’s lots of good information. It may help you, though at the time I found things hard to grasp. I don’t think it was the book’s problem, I think I was having to unlearn bad habits. It’s also fairly inexpensive. I’d say give it a look.