It’s an essential skill that every single professional artist learns to develop over years of effort, often continuing with figure sessions for their entire life.
Drawing the human body is tough but so educational. And it’s especially worthwhile for concept artists who need to design entire characters from their head. Mastering the human figure makes that task a lot easier.
This is a reasonable intro to figure drawing since it teaches you how to setup, how to approach the figure, how to warm up and what sort of quality you should aim for in your work.
Let’s have a deeper look to see what this book teaches and whether it’s worth adding to your bookshelf.
The Author & The Subject Matter
The author Kan Muftic is an artist who’s been practicing since the early ‘90s. He’s traveled all over Europe and has quite an amazing story hailing from Sarajevo and surviving the Bosnian War.
His skills have landed him work on film projects, TV shows, and many big video games. As of this writing he’s now working as the Animation Director for a show launching on Netflix.
Kan is a concept artist with a lot of real-world experience and it shows.
The goal of his book is to help concept artists focus more on life and less on imagination.
When you create art for games and films you are typically working from your head. But that knowledge comes from years of studying life, building a visual library, and practicing the fundamentals until they’re second nature.
The best way to do this is through life drawing.
And with this book you’ll find plenty of inspiration and tips from the perspective of a skilled concept artist.
These pages offer plenty of example drawings, some nice exercises, and tips for aspiring concept artists to master the figure room.
Taking A Look Inside
The book totals around 200 pages and it comes with a lot of neat stuff.
Chapters break down into smaller sections with a start-to-finish approach to figure drawing.
You’ll first learn how to get your supplies in order, how to frame your posture in front of the easel, and how to lay down your first mark on the page.
Later on you’ll get into tips on gesture drawing and mastering different styles of figure work(30 second, 2 minute & 5 minute drawing).
I’d argue that’s one of the few courses that would compliment this book very nicely. It’s guaranteed to help you get a lot more comfortable working from the figure.
One nice thing I’ll say about Figure Drawing For Concept Artists: there are lots of HD photos.
I mean, a lot.
I wasn’t sure what to expect here but I’d almost argue the value of this book comes from all the examples you get to study.
Most chapters only have smaller sections for writing with 3-5 paragraphs per page. These paragraphs do share practical advice but they’re definitely short.
Throughout the book you’ll find drawings, quick sketches, fully-rendered portraits, and even photo references. There’s also advice on how to focus when practicing a certain part of the figure such as:
Bodies in motion
Hands & feet
The last few chapters feature galleries from artists with full-page prints.
These prints include traditional drawings from the figure room along with digital work from character designers bringing figure knowledge into their concept art.
The very last chapter features a gallery of nude model photos and they’re large enough to work from.
All of the pages are thick and glossy so the print quality is superb. Plus this is much larger than a typical book so there’s lots of room on each page for these gorgeous photos.
Who’s This Book For?
My biggest gripe with this book is the lack of writing.
That’s not to say the writing is bad or not useful. Quite the contrary, there’s a lot of good advice in here on how to approach figure drawing depending on your goals.
However I did expect a little more of a step-by-step process with this book. Instead it feels like a series of “quick tips” that help you along with your existing figure process.
Granted I’ll praise this book to the moon for all of its high-quality images.
There is so much variety in the way of figure drawings from portraits to full body drawings, detailed renderings to quick sketches. It’s all here.
So is it worth the price?
That really depends what you’re looking for.
If you want a book to help you master figure drawing start-to-finish then this is not it. You’d do better with the Proko figure course if you’re a newer artist trying to improve your figure drawing.
Now let’s say you already practice figures and you just want some references. Maybe you want to see how professional artists practice figures, or maybe you want to see other drawings for inspiration or to compare against your work.