Anatomy for the Artist

Specially taken photographs show the construction of the human body while underlying anatomical structures are revealed using illustrations by the author.


  • Hardcover: 255 pages
  • Publisher: DK Publishing; 1 edition (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078948045X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789480453
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.8 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
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4 thoughts on “Anatomy for the Artist”

  1. This is an interesting book in that the photography is excellent. Do you like nude bodies that are in very good shape? This one has it in excess. As one who has studied artistic anatomy for over twenty years I own just about every book written on the subject. One of the things I appreciate are sources showing surface anatomy; with models that have muscle definition. The odd thing about this book is how much could have been done with it. There are about 7 or 8 transparencys that over lay the photos. All but one of these show the skeletal detail over a photo. When I am looking at the surface anatomy of a figure and trying to determine which muscles are which, I would rather have an overlay of the muscles than of the skeleton. This must have been the decision of an editor. The drawings depicting the muscles are good, no better than what has been done. Goldfinger’s Human Anatomy for Artists or Richer’s Artistic Anatomy are very hard to beat. The other odd note about this book is the bibliography. It’s as though the items chosen were selected for their quirky nature and not their value as a source of information. Five stars for the photography, negative two stars for the anatomical content.

  2. this is really a coffee table anatomy book, as it is centered on john davis’s spectacular color photographs of physically pleasing young models, artsy anatomical illustrations of bones and muscle groups, a gallery of studio poses, and kewl design touches. (the translucent muscle diagrams are especially neat: they fold over matching full color photographs of head, limbs and torso, though the book bindery doesn’t always line up the two exactly.) a bonus is the unique and interesting introductory history of anatomical studies. the coverage is broad stroke — focusing on large muscle groups, or anatomical units such as the hand, not on individual bones or muscles. my disappointments include the appallingly skimpy treatment of facial emotions, the breezy anatomical descriptions (one gets a poor idea of individual muscle form and action), the narrow sampling of model physical types (all are gorgeous), and the fatuous gallery of simblet sketches, who likes to draw bodies piled on top of each other. for practical work, i much prefer eliot goldfinger’s masterful “encyclopedia” of human anatomy for the artist, but simblet’s book is easier to use as a quick or general reference and also makes a provocative browse for your dinner guests. best is to own both, and go to goldfinger if your question requires authoritative, in depth information.

  3. I have one other excellent anatomy book besides this one–Human Anatomy for Artists by Eliot Goldfinger. Both books have thorough explanations of skeletal and muscular systems as well as illustrations in both sketch and photograph form for each body section. Which book would be most helpful to you is probably more a matter of individual learning style. Here are the major differences between the two books:

    The best feature of Anatomy for the Arist is its exquisite photography. The photos are large with very fine resolution (both color and black-and-white). Some are full-page and many show the entire body. There are about an equal number of male and female models, all athletically built, with a variety of skin tones. The poses are varied, expressive, and graceful. If you want a wealth of detailed photos, not sketches, to practice from, get this book.

    Human Anatomy for Artists, on the other hand, is much more user-friendly if you want to memorize every last bone and muscle from the Procerus to the Medial malleolus. One great thing this book has that others don’t: For each body segment, the underlying skeletal and muscle structures are shown, all labeled with the names of the parts, along with a photograph of the segment ON THE SAME PAGE. This makes it very easy to see where everything lies and how much or how little it shapes the skin without having to flip from page to page to compare diagrams with photos.

    In addition to skeletal and muscle systems, Human Anatomy for Artists also addresses fat pads and where they grow on men versus women, and also includes diagrams of the major veins.

    Main drawbacks: Although this book has many photographs, they are all small, black-and-white, a little bit grainy, and are almost all of men.Read more ›

  4. First the good things:
    The models in the book are very fit, and the pictures are arranged in a very aesthetically pleasing manner. The overlay pages do a decent job showing you how the underlying skeletal/muscle structure affect the surface shape. Every part of the body is covered in this book with equal attention. The illustrations are detailed and quite comprehensive. If you need high quality images of models in moderately interesting poses, this should be adequate. I find that the pictures are useful as supplementary material to more rigorous books, such as Goldfinger’s famous Human Anatomy for Artists.

    Now the bad:
    Although the coverage of content is broad, it really isn’t deep enough for serious study or reference. While the illustrations are very detailed when provided, the author omits many views from important angles. You’ll get a very detailed side view without a front or back, or you’ll get various tilted views sans any orthographic angles. In a similar fashion, many of the photos are cropped to show only the part of the body being explained. There’s nothing wrong with this, but there are very few full-body images in neutral standing poses. Added to the fact that angle coverage is also arbitrary, this makes it somewhat difficult to get a grasp of the body’s 3d shape in general.

    In conclusion, the good things about this book could have helped so much more if the negative points had been treated properly. Given how detailed the muscle and skeleton illustrations were, views from all angles would have made this an excellent reference for internal anatomy. Also, most of the models that you find in online image stores (or other anatomy books, for that matter) are not nearly as fit or well-proportioned as the models from this book.Read more ›

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