In my on-going quest for XP, funded or not, I move forward with studies. I picked up the Kindle edition of Neil Fontaine’s “How to Draw Awesome Figures” (Link to the left). Was it worth my $5 or $6? Mostly.
What I learned –
Neil does a great job in the first half of this book. he simplifies the figure, and makes it really nice to walk through. Doing all the exercises is a joy because he has explained the topic and goal very well. For an artist though, I began to notice the illustrations were rather weak, and the skeletal representations were copied directly from poser or Daz3D.
I DID learn enough to make it worth the purchase. His approach to drawing the figure in the first half of the book is rather lovely. Very simplified to get proportions right, then building it up to be a manikin, then easing muscles on. It was when he moves from the straight on or straight behind view that the whole thing falls apart.
What bothered me –
If I were to judge a book by its’ cover, it might be this one. Yes, that is the cover, and this fella is an illustrator. That’s ok though, I wanted to find something that was at the core of basics and fundamentals.
After the straight pm views, front and back, the author moves to side views. Then things start to slowly fall apart. Gone is the clear commentary. I think he, himself may do some guess work and approximation when he gets to this place. Then in 3/4 view everything falls apart. he has no clear ‘rules of thumb’ or ways to explain the form and how to draw it. I would think one would at least revert to a simplified Loomis approach if nothing else.
Then it becomes clear that the author is trying to fill pages. Then comes a full pitch to sign up for his online courses, Which I will be avoiding because the book fell rather flat. He then finishes up the book with a pile of photos of his girlfriend in her underdraws in his livingroom. eh… at least there was that.
Was it worth it?
Yes, I guess so, but just. It was worth paying the $5 or $6 to really come into the simplified way he approaches figure proportions. (At least in the straight on). I will be using that. I have had to tweak it a bit, and it did remind me that repetition of fundamentals is worth while. I do wish it offered a little more though, and I would be much more disappointed if I paid the $17 for the printed version.
I would have been fine with his web class pitch at the end, but not the last 30% of the book. I also would have been more inclined to all of it if the author included some of his illustrations. even after googling…. I got very little.
I have a number of titles on the reading list for my quest to XP, and I will cover them as I get through them.