How to Draw: Figure Drawing Resources

This is a concise and practical list based on a selection from my art book collection that could be useful for learning the basics of figure drawing. The emphasis is on construction rather than life drawing, detailed muscle anatomy or expression.

Comprehensive Treatment

Gottfried Bammes (April 26, 1920 – May 14, 2007) was a professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden (Dresden Academy of Fine Arts).

“Der Nackte Mensch” and “Wir Zeichnen den Menschen” are probably the best comprehensive texts with hundreds of photographs, drawings, sketches, proportions, anatomy, etc. These books are hard to find though (or easy, depending on your methods…). Warning: the translations of these books that you see on the Amazon are just a very small portion of the books! “Der Nackte Mensch” alone contains 465 pages, 840 anatomic figures, 120 examples of masterpieces of the fine arts, and 190 separate models!

Baby Steps

Jack Hamm (1916–1996) was an artist recognized both for his Christian-themed artwork and editorial cartoons and for his books on drawing technique. He both studied and taught at the Frederic Mizen Academy of Art.

If you could read just one book, this is it: Drawing the Head and Figure

William Andrew Loomis (1892–1959), better known simply as Andrew Loomis, was an American illustrator, author, and art instructor. His commercial work was featured prominently in advertising and magazines; however, Loomis is best known as author a series of instructional art books printed throughout the 20th century. Long after his death, Loomis’ realistic style has continued to influence popular artists.

At one point his books were close to extinction, but have been reprinted recently. They are similar to Hamm’s book with detailed instructions. Some of them are: Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth and Drawing the Head and Hands


George Brant Bridgman (1865–1943) was a Canadian-American painter, writer, and teacher in the fields of anatomy and figure drawing. Bridgman taught anatomy for artists at the Art Students League of New York for some 45 years.

Some of his books are: Constructive Anatomy and Heads, Features and Faces

Victor Perard (1870 – 1957) was an internationally know illustrator and painter. He was born in Paris France and immigrated to the United States some time in the early 1930’s. He lived near Dorset Vermont and painted many landscapes around the surrounding areas. He illustrated many books on figure drawing and animal drawing. He exhibited at the Salmagundi Club in New York at least in 1941 and possibly other times.

Anatomy and Drawing is an excellent book with 179 black-and-white annotated line drawings of anatomical structure for the beginning artist.

Burne Hogarth (December 25, 1911 – January 28, 1996) was an American cartoonist, illustrator, educator, author and theoretician, best known for his pioneering work on the Tarzan newspaper comic strip and his series of anatomy books.

I strongly dislike his style, but some of his books can be useful: Drawing the Human Head, Drawing Dynamic Hands, Dynamic Figure Drawing

Anime/Manga How to Draw Books

Oh my… They can be at least somewhat useful. I especially like Ozawa’s books because he shows numerous characters from different angles (don’t let the silly cover of the new edition make you assume that is the style of the whole book). The following books are probably the most helpful of the series for learning the basics:

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the above mentioned authors/publishers/websites.


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