Home Comics Art Nice art: Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis

Nice art: Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis


We were unaware that Titan Books has reprinted the highly sought after anatomy books by Andrew Loomis that have assumed a legendary status among classically minded cartoonists and illustrators. The Lines and Colors blog has a good write-up of the reissues and just why they are so prized:

The book goes into better detail than I have seen anywhere else on understanding the change in proportions that the human face and head undergo as we move from infancy through childhood into adulthood.
His section on hands brings similar focus to the proportions of the various parts of the hand, an understanding of the hand’s underlying geometry, and the distinction between the hands of the young and old, male and female.
In case I haven’t gotten it across, I can’t recommend these books highly enough for those learning to draw the human form without reference to a model. For those who are drawing from a model, you might be surprised how much a study of the Loomis construction methods can inform your drawings with an underlying strength and dimensionality.

Titan has already released facsimile editions of FIGURE DRAWING FOR ALL IT’S WORTH and DRAWING THE HEAD AND HANDS:

Next May they’re releasing SUCCESSFUL DRAWING.

According to reports, these editions are faithful facsimiles of the originals from the ’40s and ’50s — books that routinely go for hundreds of dollars on eBay or are quickly snatched from libraries. If you’ve been relying on crappy pdfs, these new editions should be a formally correct replacement.

Loomis has been cited as a big influence by Alex Ross and Steve Lieber; Steve Rude and Mike Baron named Admiral Loomis in NEXUS after him. It’s not too hard to see the huge influence of the whole “golden age of illustration” encapsulated in Loomis’s pleasing proportions and rounded lines, but it’s still awfully nice to look at.

  1. These are all absolutely amazing drawing texts and it’s great to have them available for legitimate purchase now. The forthcoming Successful Drawing has some of the best material on perspective of any how-to book I’ve seen. Great stuff.

  2. Wow – how did I miss this? These are definitely among the best illustration instruction books of all time, and I’m sure a lot of artists like me will be rushing out to replace our not-quite-legal PDFs quickly. (And in my case, putting my 1940’s printing of “Figure Drawing” in a case where it belongs instead of re-reading it every 6 months or so, and buying the new one instead.)

    For those who are interested, we’ll definitely be talking about these on next week’s Ninja Mountain podcast!

  3. It’s about frickin’ time someone reprinted these!

    My copy of “Head and Hands,” which I picked up circa 1970, is in pretty bad shape, but I’ve found it nearly impossible to replace unless I wanted to shell out more than $100 for a similarly beat-up copy. Regarding Loomis’ other books, I’ve never even SEEN any of them during all of my book-hunting travels during the past 40-odd years.

    Loomis was a simply amazing artist.

  4. I’m a little jealous. For years, I wanted to reprint these, but always got stone-walled while querying various parties.

    I’m just wondering which editions these facsimiles are drawn from. Over the course of many editions, I believe that some illustrations were swapped out in favor of others.

  5. “If you’ve been relying on crappy pdfs, these new editions should be a formally correct replacement.”

    I printed out a few of those crappy PDFs and and had them wire-bound. I’ll replace them as a Christmas gift to myself.

    The PDFs may have been crappy, but they were produced with the best of intentions — to keep the works “in print” so they wouldn’t be completely inaccessible.

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