Which Anatomy Book Should I Buy?


I am a beginner of drawing anatomy character,
who can recommend a anatomy book to beginner like me?



Hi there,

Check out this thread, which contains links to Anatomy Books that are recommended:

Anatomy Resources : BOOKS


Along with countless artists, I recommend Andrew Loomis books :slight_smile:


I’ve started drawing about 1 and a half months ago … and I ordered 3 books of which 2 have been the honey of my skills so far. The 1st one is for absolute beginners, Drawing the head and figure by Jack Hamm and the second , very very good for reference Bridgman , Constructive Anatomy.

They are both cheap and wonderfull ! I’m not saying they are the best but they have been wonderful for me.

Best wishes,



I have been studied anatomy for 3 years and at the present time I am

Searching the best sources for learning anatomy and figure drawing

In the following I write some of the best and most practical books and

DVDS which I have should them all.

One of the most helpful DVDS in anatomy is RIVEN PHONIX S DVDS

(Drawing the human figure: from your mind. ) In this 5-dvd you learn the

Structure of the man with measurements and very helpful in rendering human


In order to learn: foreshortening-proportions and surface stress and forms

In action you can study burn Hogarth books in list below

[li]Dynamic anatomy
[/li][li]dynamic figure drawing
[/li][li]drawing the human head
[/li][li]dynamic drawing hand
[/li][/ul]I hope you enjoy and successfully drawing in each step

Good luck



“Anatomy for The Artist” by Steven Peck, MD. There are lots of good ones but this one has always stood out for me.


The Burne Hogarth body anatomy books are just the thing I need, well that and money to buy them with. Still have to wait a couple of weeks till I get some money on my card but none the less thank you for mentioning them! :d


Burne Hogarth was a great artist and illustrator, and was also one of the founders of the great School of Visual Arts in NY. However there are better anatomy instructors and in fact the Hogarth books have some serious shortcomings that you should consider.

The most glaring problems are 1) He only talks about musculature and never deals with the bones or skeleton. You have to learn both. There’s no way around this. 2) He never deals with drawing directly from the figure, i.e., life drawing. You can’t learn anatomy without learning to draw the figure as it looks in the real world. 3) His dynamic approach conceals the fact that he doesn’t know how to draw a figure in repose, that is, just relaxing, passive, sitting, etc. This is just as important as drawing the figure in action.

There’s more but I won’t belabor it too much. The Hogarth books are fine for one thing: learning to draw exactly like Hogarth. This is different from learning anatomy or the figure. If you really want to learn from them, I would recommend learning anatomy and the figure first, and THEN learning the finer points of Hogarth’s dynamic approach if it still appeals to you. You may find that once you’ve learned the real figure, his approach may appear limited to you.

And if you still want the Hogarth books, get the Peck book too!


I’m liking the Realistic Figure Drawing by Joseph Sheppard. Its really makes clear the basic shapes and flowing curves of the body. All of the models are nude and drawn with conte I believe.


I second this one, I’m fairly new to drawing body anatomy, and this book covers the basics in depth, without being too overwhelming, i’m sure they are just as many good anatomy books about, but for a beginner I highly recommend this.


I have a very handy anatomy book, “ANATOMY a step-by-step guide” it includes muscle and bone structure. This book was great for me and is to the point. It has the basics right through to more complex figures which makes it great for beginners and more experienced artists. In my opinion, not everyone has the same body so use it for reference mainly.


I aggree with the Joseph Sheppard books. There is one thing that has helped me understand Anatomy even better than I thought I could its called “The Structure of Man” by Riven Pheonix that DVD (works with PC and/or Mac) is worth every penny.

Check it out


Simply learning drawing tricks [“the head is twice as wide as halfway”] is not the goal (although that would be attractive) and will always limit your conception to predetermined views/poses.

No idealized truisms have been found to contain all anatom(ies), although [greater artists than any on YouTube] have searched for millenia.

One thing evinced in these all is the importance of using a pencil and paper, finding figure-drawing sessions (usually without instruction, but the best true learning experience).

The actual musculature, however, is best-learned in labsessions-- probably physically modeling the muscles on a skeletal sculpture, called escorche, available from several sources. {*I did this on cadavers]

Even as well-developed as your visualization experience may be, there simply is no substitute for using your own muscles on a 3D physical form.

I see sooo much errors, please try to learn why it works the way it does, and the form will come directly.

This from a 30±year medical illustrator, painter, and animator.


I agree about all these measurement things, working out how many heads long someone should be didn’t help me at all - in fact it just holds you back thinking things should be a certain way. I did the Loomis and riven pheonix measurement diagrams several times and to me they never looked right, and were pretty pointless exercises other than the benefit of practicing to draw.

I find the bridgeman fun to copy, but all those shapes and blocks and stuff (for me) seem a bit gimmicky. What I have found helps so far is gesture drawing in town and on posemaniacs.com - several hours a day. I found now I can look at a picture a notice what is wrong with it, I have drawn so many thousand 10sec-1min poses (in the last 2 months) that I know the proportions - all that loomis stuff was a waste of time, luckily I didn’t use it much. On the other hand everything else in his books is great, just not the 8 heads high pages etc (imo).

For more detailed study on bones, muscles and just shading and rendering nicely and just general practice I like jack hamm, joseph shepherd, henry yan, glenn vilppu and the Peck one. They all have good books to practice from. And of course life-drawing classes help, I can only do 4hours a week, so books and online is always my main source.

For me, nothing beats raw drawing practice, any figures, anywhere, any book, online, RL, draw draw draw draw and eventually you will KNOW exactly how something should look - this is something I have noticed myself the more a draw figures, the more I see errors in my work and peoples work online.

Lots of good advice here anyway :slight_smile: Though watch those exercises where all the proportions have set distances etc, because in real life they’re all way off the mark.


Hi all,

I wonder if anyone here has taken a look at Valerie Winslow’s Classic Human Anatomy (published in December 2008 ). If so, what do you think of it? I’d be particularly interested to know how it compares with Eliot Goldfinger’s book, since Winslow’s book seems to give much attention to individual muscles insertion and origin on the corresponding bones… I know Goldfinger’s book is quite thorough on that, but it can also be quite overwhelming-- sometimes it seems to me there’s just too much information there. How is it with Winslow’s book?



Lots of great books recommended here.

I would like to suggest a video worth purchasing from http://www.zackpetroc.com/ he, through Gnomon, sells one about the skeleton and muscles of the body and one covering the head and facial muscles. Both have helped me understand the origin and insertion of muscles far better than any book. Though I will never be without the bridgeman books.

All the best,


I really learned alot from Vanderpoel books, as well as john shephard. Vanderpoel talks alot about Figurative rythums. Very interisting stuff


Get outta the dark (most animators need more sunshine anyway, right?)
and go to your local swimming pool–
Draw figures quickly (under a minute), especially lifeguards that don’t move so fast…
people will be cooperative if they know your goal is to learn anatomy from real live people.

Learn from life even if you have no figure study group in your area!

Undocumented Feature: the grrrls will think you are more-interesting.


My personal experience tells a different story that Anatomy books help very little, use mirrors and study your own body or real humans as reference see how and why things move the way they do believe me within days you will see increase in your level of understanding of anatomy.



It’s a great book with beautiful illustrations. Bones and muscles shown are only for those that affect surface form. No major information overload here. For the price, I think it’s well worth it.

I’ve a page-flipping video of this book on my blog.