How to Find Good Books on Figure Painting

Books that cover specific art-related topics can be a good companion to artists who are looking to learn more about specific techniques or as a crash course on art lessons.

One popular topic in art books is figure painting, which usually covers the basic figure poses and anatomy lessons.

If you want to start learning to paint figures properly, you might be wondering what kind of book is best suited for you. The answer will depend largely on your own personal preference and interest.

Do you want a book that have step by step tutorial with detailed history of the evolution of figure painting? Regardless, here are some key things to consider when hunting for art books in general.

First and foremost, the art book must have pictures. Since figure painting will involve a lot of lessons about human anatomy, poses, colors and such, it will be difficult to understand and practice it if the book explains everything in only words.

The ideal book will have not only photos or drawings of models, but also the work-in-progress or step by step demonstration so that you can learn through copying the tutorial for practice purpose.


Considering that the topic concerns human figure, it is likely that any book covering this topic will include uncensored nude photos that might be considered offensive for some people. You might want to keep this in mind when comparing different books to find one that suits you.

Second, the book must cover at least some basic tutorial on correct human anatomy. In preparing for figure painting, you need to start by learning to draw human anatomy, from skeletons to muscles and more.

The book does not have to be a thorough manual on human biology, but it need to cover the foundation of drawing human before moving to poses. Of course, some book concentrate solely on figure painting because they work under the assumption that the reader already knows how to draw and paint human anatomy.

Such books are usually directly to advanced students in art colleges. If you want a thorough but easy lesson on human figures, consider finding art books that cover some anatomy examples.

Last but not least, a good book on the subject should cover both the drawing and painting aspects of human figures. In a typical art class the students will start with the fundamentals using pencils and charcoals, before moving on to coloring and painting. The book should reflect this, with relevant and easy to follow practice guide.

When it comes to recommending a specific book, personal preferences makes it that what one artist prefer, another may hate. However, The Eye of the Painter by Andrew Loomis can be considered a classic favorite for many artists when it comes to figure painting book. Full with solid figure analysis and practical advices, there is no wonder why this book is also wildly popular and recommended by various art teachers.

Most books by Andrew Loomis can be found in reputable bookstores and specialized art supply store, although it is also possible to find a pdf copy online if you have a look at the books.

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