Figure Drawing: The Structure, Anatomy,and Expressive Design of Human Form
by Nathan Goldstein
This is one of my favorite books about figure drawing. It remains in print and is available at Amazon.com.
Goldstein includes a generous sampling of figure drawings through the ages which are selected for their expressive form. He includes examples from the Japanese masters to Pollaiulo to Eugene Delacroix and modern masters.
In a section entitled The Structural Factor he includes both historical examples and illustrations of how to use planes and volume to create form. There are diagrams which show how to render the body in simple forms and examples of drawings showing how various artists have used these methods to create not just accurate renditions but expresive works.
Anatomy is divided into two sections, the skeleton and the muscles. Both use the same method of illustrative examples plus reproductions of masterworks to convey their lessons. The masterworks are carefully chosen to illustrate each section, so that in the skeleton section the artworks are skeletal.
Each of these sections contains a useful list of suggested exercises that the artist can follow to learn from the examples contained in the section.
The real beauty of the book is that finally he combines all the information in two sections called The Design Factor and The Expressive Factor. In these he uses historical examples to show that while rendering the form has its value when the artist combines the elements of line, value, shape, volume, space and texture somthing greater than anatomical rendering can be created.
I usually judge art or art books by whether they make me want to draw or paint and this one does.