Anatomy lectures for Christopher Allen's Drawing the Figure


For the teaching of the constructional approach to drawing that I emphasized in my lectures, we owe a great deal today to a succession of twentieth century teachers based in the United States, particularly the legendary George Bridgman, his students Robert Beverly Hale and Andrew Loomis, and several of their living successors. You'll find a short account of these men and their books on my Mastery of Drawing (2007) page. Each of them has his limitations and even oddities (don't we all?), but each also has a way of making up for the deficiencies of the others, so that a great deal can be learnt from a thoughtful reading of all of them, combined of course with plenty of drawing informed by that reading.

A good starting point would be the two best books from Hale's output: 

Hale, Robert Beverly, 1964. Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters.

Hale, Robert Beverly, 1985. Masterclass in Figure Drawing.

You may even be interested in downloading a set of colour scans of about seventy of the one hundred drawings illustrated (in black and white) in the Drawing Lessons book, that I compiled for one of my classes at Ashton's. For the filehost I used you need to wait eight seconds after the page loads, then look for the "Click here to download file" link (in red):

For anyone interested in the history of anatomical illustration, this very comprehensive nineteenth century text may be of interest:

Choulant, Ludwig, 1852. History and Bibliography of Anatomic Illustration in Its Relation to Anatomic Science and the Graphic Arts (transl. and ed., Mortimer Frank, 1917?)

Please see my Artistic Anatomy and Historical Anatomies pages for links to various historical anatomical illustrations available on the internet. The US National Library of Medicine Historical Anatomies on the Web is a particularly fabulous resource.  I'll just repeat here some links to Vesalius' De Corporis Humani Fabrica, which figured prominently in the lectures, and is very well represented at the moment on the internet:

1. Selected page images with linked biographical and bibliographical pages:

2.Turning the Pages Online - leaf through a virtual copy of Vesalius:

3. Translation and zoomable illustrations, with some short accompanying essays

For anyone looking for more information on medical anatomy,  you'll find a large number of links grouped in various categories near the bottom of the home page of this site.

Finally, if any of you have any interest in the subject of colour, please take a look at my pride and joy, The Dimensions of Colour, a website that I launched late last year as an attempt  to sort out the immense amount of confusion and disinformation that currently surrounds the terminology used to describe colour. I get a steady trickle of NAS students (quietly) attending my Winter/Summer holiday workshops in colour  at Ashton's  - perhaps I'll see you there one day.

Thank you all once again for your interest in my lectures. It's always very pleasing to see how much serious interest in drawing there is at your school.