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Anatomy for the Artist

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  15,094 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Specially taken photographs show the construction of the human body while underlying anatomical structures are revealed using illustrations by the author.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Dorling Kindersley (first published 2001)
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Dec 04, 2012 Parka rated it really liked it

(More pictures at

Sarah Simblet's anatomy book is a bit of a mixed bag for me.

Unlike other anatomy books, this one features lots of stunning photography of the body in nude. The models have lean muscular figures and the lighting and poses are great. Some photos are used as underlays with translucent skeleton overlays on top. Unfortunately, there aren't any muscles overlay using this method.

As a book that's targeted at artists, I thought the drawings were not good enough. They are
Feb 27, 2012 Jane rated it liked it
Shelves: art
Some nice photographs and drawings however all the models are a bit too perfect. It would have been more interesting if more body shapes and different ages were included. Also the unnaturally coiffed body hair is a bit distracting. I found the anatomical drawings of most use. The text was not really helpful or instructive to me. I think this is aimed more at those with an interest in life drawing rather than for experienced practitioners. Having said that, it is a beautiful book with some lovely ...more
Marie. Kelly
Sep 17, 2009 Marie. Kelly rated it liked it
Very informative, agreed. Everything anyone would want to learn how to "draw". Yet i don't believe in learning art practical - if you like to draw, draw. If it's not anything similar to the object you're drawing,sketching, painting, sculpting .. it's irrelevant. What matters is if YOU enjoy art. It's yours, you created it, it's a piece of you. THAT'S art. You do not need to "learn" how to "draw" .. Subjectivism.

However, Informative :)
Spencer King
Sep 14, 2009 Spencer King rated it it was amazing
Great reference for artists. It has plenty of detail without getting pedantic. The Masterclass sections wherein a model poses like a figure in a masterwork painting s interesting, even if not especially useful. There's a lack of actual pictures of bones or muscles, but the drawings by Simblet are fairly accurate. The vellum layering for structures is helpful, too.

It's the best artists' anatomy book I've seen in terms of quality of information, concise and simple description, and workable referen
Jenni Hibdige
Jan 12, 2015 Jenni Hibdige rated it really liked it
This is my first time reading a book like this, so my opinion simply comes from my expectations. So this book had really great photography of the human body, and the various poses. One fault I found in the photographs was that there was only one type of body shape having photos taken of, for a book on human anatomy there should've been more variety. Another fault I found that there wasn't enough sketches, although I loved the photos, the ratio between sketches and photos were off. Those transpar ...more
Mar 01, 2009 Kerry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-and-drawing
An absolute brilliant book to draw from. This book is ideal for referance work, for those who seek it i would highly recomend this. Not only does it show great quility photos of different poses and angles but also illustrate the relationship between the surface appearance of the body and the complexities of the underlying structure.
Jan 08, 2009 Aaron rated it did not like it
This book is pretty crappy. It reminds me of what an anatomy book would look like if E! did an anatomy book. It's all bells and whistles... and I'm sure it sells well, but in the end the all you'll really get out of it is knowledge of what an air brushed body looks like. blaaaa.
Jul 08, 2007 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, teaching_seminar
Very helpful! This book is full of descriptive text, photographs, drawings by the author, art historical references, and, unlike many books on human anatomy, it doesn't ignore the genitals. No fig leaves here, my friends!
Jun 19, 2009 Joe rated it it was amazing
By far the best anatomy book I have found so far. Amazing muscle reference and vellum overlays make this a permanent accessory at my desk.
Oct 22, 2010 Jekloneo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-related
An EXCELLENT resource for drawing humans, with many hard-to-get reference photos of the human body.
Nov 22, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic
I love how they break down the book into each major body part. And the tracing paper overlays of the bones are just awesome. But I wish they had just a little more variation in the view of poses and I REALLY wish they had a wider variety of of body types. I'm not just talking about no fat people, this book seems to only have generic builds of both sexes. All the women seem to have long narrow waists with about a B cup. All the men have slight muscle definition with hardly any body hair. It just ...more
Jul 02, 2011 Craig rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful and detailed anatomy books.
Apr 28, 2010 Athena rated it it was amazing
I recommend this for any body artist...its a great book
Oct 11, 2013 Melanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference-books
While this is not the most interesting book in the world and definitely not the kind of thing I would choose to read in an idle Sunday afternoon, it is probably one of the most insightful that I have ever read. For someone who is trying to learn how to draw or even improve their skills, this book is awfully useful. It has lots of good reference images, excellent quality photos and excellent bone reference in beautiful translucent pages with the exact positioning according to the model posing. Th ...more
Tracy Taylor
Jul 25, 2016 Tracy Taylor rated it really liked it
An excellent reference book for artists, with anatomic drawings of skeletal structure overlaid on parts of the body, photos of the skeleton and of both still figures and those in motion, male and female.
May 10, 2012 Kory rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
This is a very good on anatomy, sure it doesn't go into complete detail of the human body, but it doesn't have to. As an artist's anatomy reference it's great, it covers the skeleton and muscle systems of the human body in good detail, providing a lot of information useful to artists when drawing or sculpting or whatever the human body.

I'm not much of an artist, and am instead a technical person. I rig characters for animation and this book provides me with a better understanding of the human bo
Luis Fernando
Jun 03, 2016 Luis Fernando rated it it was amazing
very very good book, I love this kind of literature
Oct 02, 2015 Daniela rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: art students / artists
This is a good reference book for anatomy studies. It served me very well in my first year of anatomy studies in art school and I still return to it from timeto time for pose references. It is a great book in an artists' reference library.
Ruth Aguilar
I think this makes me ponder about life
Jun 27, 2014 Mii rated it it was amazing
This book was a great read!
Yar Muhammad
i want to read
Jul 10, 2016 Galal rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 02, 2013 F.P. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, nonfiction
The real title: Porn For The Artist. Some of the men in here are so HOT, and the pictures of them leave nothing to the imagination. One picture is so fantastic I think about it when I'm not "reading" (oh yeah, like I really read) this book. So how on earth can I think of working with these images in front of me? I can't. I didn't buy the book for that either lol.

And I can't imagine the creators think this skin-book is an "art book." Come on with your bullshit now....

Feb 19, 2012 Kalin rated it really liked it
Extremely well put together, although very artsy. Of course, this is the purpose of the book. Most of the musculoskeletal drawings are sketched as opposed to drawn, which is the one thing that takes away from it. It lends itself well to understanding the support of flesh and movement but less so to the exactitude of anatomy.

Jeno Barcsay is more suited to those looking for precision, although his books are very hard to find and aren't even available to rate in GoodReads...
Dec 19, 2008 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Excellent. There is no other book that has affected my figure drawing skills in the way this has. I drew a face, read the book, drew another. That was it. No practicing or sketching. The first face looked flat. The second looked real. 950% improved just by reading their discussion on muscles, interaction and understanding. Since studying their models more fully I have produced some pretty decent human forms.
Oct 28, 2008 Amber rated it it was amazing
THis book is the best out there it's fantastic reference book for aspiring artists, It has a introduction on the history of the study of anatomy, then sections covering each part of the body (as well as the body as a whole). Colour and tonal photos of each part, plus full-body poses, are used throughout as examples, and there are plenty of illustrations of the skeleton and muscle structure too.
Jan 03, 2012 D.L. rated it really liked it
This is really a beautiful book, but I personally think it should be considered little more than a coffee table edition ... something to have, to enjoy and to show off. As far as an actual anatomical reference for an artist? Nah. There are many other books that do a much better job, to be sure. Even so, I am glad I have my copy.
Si Barron
Mar 29, 2013 Si Barron rated it did not like it
Shelves: art
A lovely coffee table tome full of gorgeous photos of beautiful people in extravagant poses (mostly very coy- hardly any rude bits)

This is exactly what you don't want as reference if you are an artist.

Nice to look through in a bored moment, but not one ounce of use for anatomy- an expensive white elephant
Aug 18, 2016 Mohammad is currently reading it
May 13, 2007 Jennifer rated it liked it
The only complaint I have about this book is that the models are MODELS. They're too perfect looking. Most people don't have such sculpted abs, and perfect butts. And since when was drawing or sculpting boring perfect-looking people fun?
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