Monday, July 27, 2015

Classic Human Anatomy in Motion by Valerie L. Winslow

book cover
Classic Human Anatomy in Motion
by Valerie L. Winslow

ISBN-13: 9780770434144
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Released: August 4, 2015

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Cover:
Fine-art instruction books do not usually focus on anatomy as it relates to movement, despite its great artistic significance. Written by a long-time expert on drawing and painting human anatomy, Classic Human Anatomy in Motion offers artists everything they need to realistically draw the human figure as it is affected by movement.

Written in a friendly style, the book is illustrated with hundreds of life drawing studies (both quick poses and long studies), along with charts and diagrams showing the various anatomical and structural components.

This comprehensive manual features five distinct sections, each focusing on a different aspect of the human figure: bones and joint movement, muscle groups, surface form and soft tissue characteristics, structure, and movement. Each chapter builds an artistic understanding of how motion transforms the human figure and can create a sense of expressive vibrancy in one's art.

My Review:
Classic Human Anatomy in Motion is an anatomy book for artists who draw, paint, or sculpt human nudes. Much of the information can be applied to clothed figures, too, which is how I intend to use it. I appreciated that the nude figures were treated respectfully (rather than shown in sexually suggestive poses) and really were anatomically accurate.

This book contained many high-quality illustrations. Many of the illustrations showed the bones and muscles of the human body as you'd find them in an anatomy book. The author also pointed out which features can be seen on the surface and to look for them as reference points when drawing. She described the motions that each joint can do and how muscles work, so you can more realistically render the human body when it's in motion. To quote the book description, "each chapter builds an artistic understanding of how motion transforms the human figure."

Rather than having the reader repeat her drawings as exercises, the author described how to draw the figure you are interested in (from models, everyday life, pictures, or video). She suggested warm-up exercises and ways to suggest an active (rather than passive) figure. She gave some advice about working from your imagination, but she generally assumed that you'll have some reference to draw from as you work.

I'm familiar with human anatomy from my college days. I was impressed with the quality of this work, and it was a good refresher course for me. It has helped me understand how to apply that knowledge to my art. Overall, I'd recommend this book to artists who want to improve their depictions of human figures.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using a Look Inside feature.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Industrial Revolution by Laura L. Frader

book cover
The Industrial Revolution:
A History in Documents
by Laura L. Frader

ISBN-13: 9780195128178
Hardcover: 158 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Released: April 6, 2006

Source: Bought used online.

Book Description from Goodreads:
The Industrial Revolution: A History in Documents uses a wide variety of primary source documents to chronicle a period of great international social and technological change that began in England in the 18th century.

Improvements were made to the steam engine that meant that many tasks that had been done by hand in the past could be mechanized. With locomotives and steamships, goods could now be transported very quickly and within a reasonably predictable time. Other changes included the use of iron and steel, invention of new machines that increased production (including the spinning jenny), development of the factory system, and important developments in transportation and communication (including the telegraph). This all led to agricultural improvements, a wider distribution of wealth, political changes reflecting the shift in economic power, and sweeping social changes.

This book relies on primary sources such as personal diaries, advice books, poems, business reports, letters, photos, and essays to tell the story behind this rapidly changing period and its far-reaching effects.

My Review:
The Industrial Revolution is a historical nonfiction book about the Industrial Revolution and is based on documents from the time period. These documents allow the reader to see different views of the changes at the time they were occurring.

The focus started out in England and, as time moved on, to America and parts of Europe. The book started by describing what life was like before the Industrial Revolution and then showed how things changed. It included excerpts from essays, diaries, books, business reports, letters, and even a few poems. It also included black and white photographs and illustrations from the time period. The editors provided some information before the text of each document to help the reader to understand the context of the document.

I found this book to be easy to understand and very informative. I'd highly recommend it to those who want to better understand the social changes--especially those in England--at the time of the Industrial Revolution.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.