What ressources have I used in the past?
4. my own anatomy
6. Tutorial found online
8. live drawing
I'd like to share my thoughts on those methods. Most people when starting to learn anatomy will probably start with books or reference photos, so let's start with that as well.
These are some of the books I own or that I have used in the past:
- Gottfried Bammes
- Burne Hogarth
- Anatomy for Artists by Jenö Barcsay
- Anatomy for the Artist by Sarah Simblet
- How to draw the Human Figure by Louise Gordon
- Medical Anatomy
Gottfried Bammes was a german professor for the arts and his books are considered to be essential. Much like Burne Hogarth - who lived around the same time as he did - he focused on proportion and form. I've read two of his books: "Der nackte Mensch" und "Wir zeichnen den Menschen". None of these books are cheap, if you can, rent them or save some money. You can't fault the man for not being thorough, you really need to read those books to understand them and he doesn't go easy on his readers as his speech is very dry, stilted and academic. Do I recommend his works? yes and no. Bammes is for serious studies, these books aren't for quick studies and consulting. A lot of pages are devoted to life-drawings, but these are "merely" sketches, beautiful to look at, but.. eh.. let's say I consider those a bit "ego-stroking" on Bammes part. Sure, they are beautiful to look at, but when I read an anatomy book, then I want to learn about anatomy and don't look at what my instructor can achieve in 20 seconds after having studied anatomy for decades, if you get what I mean.
Burne Hogarth is sort of the american pendant to Bammes, but his approach to anatomy is even more stylized to the point where his drawings almost look like sketches for sculptures. He doesn't waste much time with words either. Unlike Bammes books, Hogarths's are cheap, so that's a plus. Deconstructing the body into easily understandable forms is a good way to learn about proportions and work on general understanding of the human body. BUT! I don't consider this to be an efficient way to learn realistic anatomy, so be careful. Hogarth's style is also so... stylized that it can distract from actual anatomy. There is one book that I can recommend and it's "Dawing dynamic Hands". Here Hogarth's technical approach actually works as he explains form and function of the human hands and as his books are easily available and cheap, it's a great buy.
Jenö Barcsay drew/wrote several books and these are my personal favorites. You would not guess from his drawings that he actually lived during Bammes and Hogarths time. Unlike Bammes and Hogarth Barcsay focusses on ACTUAL anatomy, his books don't rely on teaching via words, they are more like catalogues. Bones and muscles are beautifully rendered in a clean and neutral style. Unfortunately some of the detail in his drawings is lost due to the scanning. If you want to learn anatomy, don't want to be confused by walls of text and just want to have a quick look at what anatomy looks like - then buy his books! They aren't expensive either, so that's another plus.
Sarah Simblet is the youngest of the artists on the list who wrote about anatomy and it reflects both in her art and her way of teaching. Anatomy of the artist starts with an overview of anatomy in history and offers lectures based on photos of photomodels, dancers and athletes. It's really beautiful. Her style reminds me of Jenö Barcsay. If you're new to anatomy-studies this could be a great start, it's easy to read, but somehow it's not specific enough for me. I read the book and somehow I wanted more when I was done - maybe it's just me ;). Anatomy for the Artist is not a cheap book, but Amazon offers a free preview.
Louise Gordon drew several books about drawing and one of her books was the very first anatomy-book I ever got, so that makes me a bit nostalgic. Her drawings are clean and easy to understand, she offers tipps and in general her books are quick reads. She may be a little misunderstood, at least I get the impression that her books are marketed for the hobby-artist. That's unfair, but good for the beginner - her books are reallyreally cheap! some of them go for as little as 3 Euros.
Medical Anatomy is the oddball on the list, but medical anatomy is no different from artistic anatomy, so it makes sense to include it. For example: http://www.bartleby.com/107/ or "Atlas of human Anatomy" by Bourgery.
Of course this is just a fraction of what is available today and I haven't included books that are popular like Loomis because I never used his books. Since this is a rather lengthy post I'll split it and continue another day.