Necessary Reference Books For Drawing The Human Figures

Richard D. Burton

Over the years when I drew or painted the human figure, I referred to books I had on the shelf. I still do this. It was especially necessary when I recently took on the assignment of drawing panels to be used in a narrated slideshow graphic story which is filled with different characters from the young to the old and of different origins.

Graphite drawing panel for Graphic Novel
They all came with their appetites intact to celebrate Granny Weena’s good fortune, but mostly to eat her wonderfully baked roast beef.

I somehow settled on reference books that I use more than any other. Two of them I have had for more than forty years. I refer to them most of all.

  • atlas of human anatomy for the artist– Stephen Rogers Peck
  • FIGURE DRAWING-For All It’s Worth- Andrew Loomis

One will get a great lesson in drawing the human figure in every possible position with these two books

For a quick find to draw human figures in different stances, I recommend you join the above on the shelf with this book:

  • Human Anatomy Made Amazingly Easy- Christopher Hart
    Reference Books

    I would feel guilty if I didn’t mention the great watercolor artist, Mary Whyte, who has been a great reference to me with her book:

Painting Portraits and Figures In Watercolor



Representational portion of larger painting
Pappy’s Break: Richard D. Burton




Stan Lee’s book has taught me much when it comes to creating the drawings for the slide show graphic novel.

Although, my work is a touch more realistic and less of the comic strip exaggeration and distortion of the figures as I find in Lee’s book, the information is extremely helpful and encouraging. In other words, I don’t draw humans nine heads tall. However, I understand the purpose of doing so if you have a hero that needs to be bigger than life in the story.

However, after studying different body foreshortening, different turns, twists, different facial expressions, different anything that bodies can do in an illustrated panel, nothing means nothing (double negatives intended) if there is not understanding of perspectives-the world around the figures.

graphite drawing: Richard D.Burton
Old man Pearson just dropped his daughter, Mary Lee, and her luggage off at the Howloon Asylum for the mentally ill, while leaving her in attendance with two nurses. He never even said goodbye!

In the drawings I am working on at this time, there are so many that require the human figure in a surrounding scene, it is necessary that I know the proper perspective. The absolutely best book I have found for this, is:

  • DRAWING PERSPECTIVE-How To See And How To Apply It-Mathew Brehm

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“They were the best of friends, playing together, laughing, cuttin’ up ever so…I thinks they fell in love when little bitties.” -Granny Weena








This entry was posted in Andrew Loomis, art, Art Reference Books, drawing, Human Figures, Mary Whyte, Mathew Brehm, R. D. Burton, Richard D. Burton, Stan Lee, Stephen Rogers Peck and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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