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Constructive Anatomy

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  770 ratings  ·  24 reviews
"Excellent. The most valuable, detailed anatomical studies (which are also beautifully drawn) of all parts of the figure." American Artist
"The best book on artist's anatomy available anywhere." Art Students League News
Countless artists and students since the 1920s have used this and other books by George B. Bridgman (for nearly 50 years a teacher at the Art Students
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 1st 1973 by Dover Publications
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Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it

(More pictures at

Constructive Anatomy is like the volume two to Bridgman's Life Drawing. While the other book deals more with conceptualizing mass and form, this book takes a closer look at the parts of the body.

The commentary talks about the anatomy, mass and movement. He introduces simplified guides to drawing like using cubes to block in the mass first before going into more detail, The muscle drawings although still sketchy are delineated clear enough to show how they
Arman Behrad
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Mannequinization strategy for instructing surface anatomy is so clever and efficient. Ill hope that Biologist inspire more from Artist. ...more
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
This is absolutely fabulous, and, unusually for an art book, the text is better than the pictures, which were quick, dirty, and instructive, but without finesse. So many lights went off in my brain when reading highly, highly recommended. ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-instruction
This *would* be five stars if it came with an introduction by Marshal Vandruff that said how the hell to study it.

Now that I've learned from Vandruff and Prokopenko, I can finally understand the points that Bridgman tries to make. It's extremely valuable, but I had to learn from other teachers first in order to understand this book.

Tip: Don't copy the images line for line. Use them as guidelines for how to simplify the masses of the body. Bridgman is especially good for figuring out how masses
Sonya Ball
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bridgeman is one of the leading authorities on the human figure, that being said, this book is one of the best he ever created on anatomy and drawing the figure. The illustrations are clear and easy to follow along with his techniques for drawing the human figure. This is a classic on figure drawing and I highly recommend it as a companion book to any other textbook on the subject. Not for beginning students though, it's definitely an advanced text.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Been using this manual for quite a while now.
Pretty good for beginners since it gives a good amount of explanation, however, there aren't as many practical excercises as I expected it to be. Still a useful tool for someone who wants to draw as a hobbist.
Kathy Jiang
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Its good for what it is (a smallish book): a collection of sketches of body parts with a focus on joints and how the body is built. Detailed, but clear written explanations on each aspect its focusing on. All drawings are of white people or body parts of indistinguishable ethnicity. ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Decent art book. Good for beginning ish folks and a good refresher I guess. Not the book I thought it would be.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My SO gifted me this for my bday. Lots of useful info!
Nicole Mosley
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely excellent.

"A book reads the better which is our own, and has been so long known to us, that we know the topography of its blots, and dog's ears, and can trace the dirt in it to having read it at tea with buttered muffins." ~ Charles Lamb, Last Essays of Elia, 1833

This is one of my all-time favorite and most-treasured books. I don't yet understand all of it; in more than twenty years I still haven't mastered its topic to a level of equality with the author; and I'm sure the author himself is not the
Johnny Atomic
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Teen and up
Not a tutorial by any means. Bridgman gives us a series of breakdowns from perfect anatomical accuracy through more manageable shapes representative of the original structures, all the way to "masses" that take in the totality of a large anatomical grouping. If you didnt understand what I just said, dont worry. Ill translate.

Bridgmans method of human figure construction breaks the body down into large, but still distinct masses that are more easily rendered, both in motion and at rest as well as
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-how-to
It's really great for learning a specific kind of anatomy, but it's almost like a personal, little journal with notes that aren't that intelligible to anyone else. More useful for the pictures than the anatomy lessons. His other book about life drawing is much more effective at explaining specific characteristics of good figure construction. This one is more about the eye candy and good to copy from. I love the line quality.
Dec 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
If you draw you should get this reference book. If you're just plain interested in human anatomy, you should get this book. Come on guys, it's like four bucks on Amazon. There's mostly drawings for reference and what little text appears is explanatory and referential. There's a bit of an intro for each part of the body which is pretty interesting and good to follow... but even just for studying and copying purposes, this is a great reference.
Des Small
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Bridgman renders like an old-master's pencil sketches, but that's not actually helpful: the loose cross-hatching is hard for the student to interpret. His cuboid-based construction of the head is an interesting alternative to the usual ovals, but again I can't actually implement it based on the instructions provided.

It is possible that this book is useful to someone but not really to me, pretty though it undoubtedly is.
Josh Vassallo
Nov 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Worst Kindle Edition Ever

If I could give this zero stars, I would. This is the worst kindle edition of a book I've ever seen. It is so poorly formatted, with random nonsense characters scattered throughout that it's nearly impossible to read. Do not buy this. I want my money back.
Lachezar Petkov
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great anatomy book. But do NOT start learning anatomy with Bridgman - his books are for people who already have some knowledge on the subject. Otherwise you may just go nuts without learning much (especially with some of the ridiculous mistakes he made - nobody knows whether he was drunk or if it was all intentional).
Mary Madigan
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very helpful how-to book that's practically a bible for comic artists. My only gripe is - I bought the Kindle version first, and it was full of wonky characters and misaligned formatting. I had to buy the print version in addition to the Kindle, just so I could make some sense of the text. They need to fix the Kindle version -
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: drawing students
Recommended to Alexandra by: Drawing Teacher
Shelves: design
These are figure drawing studies. The book is separated into different anatomy parts; head, ears, feet, arms, etc. Very cool old-fashioned style. Our teacher made the class buy this for figure drawing class, I plan on holding on to it for a while. Shows how to plan and your drawings, how to start. I like!
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: artdrawing
This helps to improve all the parts of human anatomy and ways to construct things with frames etc. A wonderful reference for any type of artist!
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An essential book for figure drawing.
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again the author is the best of what he teaches! Very detailed
One of the best Bridgeman books, nice learning sequence
Steve Atkinson
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Any book by George Bridgman is 5 stars. Period
Ayejuni Ilemobayo
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