Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth: Human anatomy for the artist book
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  • The vast majority of figure drawing anatomy books (as informative as they are) are downright dull and boring and regular
  • And if you simply want to have a new and fresh artistic rendering and experience of the drawn human figure, then you won't be disappointed

    • by wushuflow
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      “Dynamic Anatomy” is one among few art instruction books by Burne Hogarth, renowned art instructor, cartoonist, illustrator, author and creator of the Tarzan comic strip series. Drawing Dynamic Hands, Drawing the Human Head, and Dynamic Figure Drawing are some of his other contributions.

      Some folk in the world of figure drawing/painting (my favorite and serious hobby) dislike his books, some love it. I think it’s fantastic! Here’s what some of the naysayers think: his figure drawings are highly stylized; muscle portrayals are distorted and exaggerated; there is no discernable “how-to” system or approach to drawing the human figure; it’s mainly catering for comic book artists.

      My take on


      all of this: looking at exaggerated drawings of muscle groups aids in understanding their basic shape and form, as well as memory. Besides, you don’t have to draw people in the same way. The vast majority of figure drawing anatomy books (as informative as they are) are downright dull and boring and regular; they’re basically all the same.

      And as stylized as his drawings are, his control of the form and flow of the forms comprising the human body is unsurpassed. Every time I look at his drawings I’m stunned at the sheer masterly control and breathtakingly beautiful display of the human form. They make me want to carry ...


      • on drawing till kingdom comes. Besides, he was an artist, not a photographer.

        If you aspire to become a comic book artist or animator, the book is invaluable. I have no such ambition (I just want to improve my figure drawing skills), yet I keep returning to his drawings. (And I am an avid collector and reader of figure drawing and anatomy books).

        No discernable system of drawing? Even though it’s not spelt out on every page, there actually is. Besides, Hogarth leaves the approach to drawing up to the individual artist, though he offers suggestions here and there.

        What I find intriguing about this book is that, unlike conventional art

        anatomy books, there are no drawings or pictures of the skeleton! He does talk about it though, as an understanding of the skeletal structure is valuable for the figure drawer/painter.

        To cut a long story short, if you want to improve your figure drawing and painting skills, get (or download) this or any of his other books. However, I’d suggest using it alongside others with images of skeletons and what not. And if you simply want to have a new and fresh artistic rendering and experience of the drawn human figure, then you won’t be disappointed.

        May you rest in peace, Burne (December 25, 1911 – January 28, 1996).




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