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Life Drawing

A Sketch and Textbook

Margaret Lazzari, Dona Schlesier, and Douglas Schlesier

Publication Date - 16 January 2019

ISBN: 9780190601546

256 pages
Spiral Bound
8-1/2 x 11 inches

In Stock

An all-in-one introductory text that includes a sketchbook and basic instruction


Richly illustrated and interactive in its approach, Life Drawing: A Sketch and Textbook is an innovative, dual-use textbook/sketchbook, combining technical instruction with the space to actually execute the lessons. Its unique format alternates between education and practice-a critical balance in studio-art courses. Concise instructions are supported by a wide assortment of examples that clearly address the basics of drawing the human figure and the application of life drawing skills in a variety of fields, including animation and the web. Ample blank space throughout the text gives students the opportunity to immediately apply what they have learned, creating a journal of drawings, ideas, and notes right in their text, for use now and later.


  • Covers the basics of anatomy and drawing the human figure
  • Contains special chapters on accurately depicting clothing; life drawing for animation and story-telling; rendering lifelike animals; and applying life-drawing skills beyond the fine arts
  • A wide variety of examples-including reproductions of art by the authors, students, other drawing instructors, and historical masters (Western and non-Western)-offer a comprehensive look at various works in figure drawing
  • "FYI" boxes and "Critical Analysis" pages encourage students to research works of others, thoroughly evaluate their ideas and their drawings, and constructively criticize their own work and that of their peers
  • Printed on sketch-book quality paper with durable covers and open-flat ring binding for ease of use
  • Supported by a free and open-access Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/lazzari, featuring how-to videos that illustrate key techniques taught in the text

About the Author(s)

Margaret Lazzari is Professor of Art at the University of Southern California's Roski School of Art and Design.

Dona Schlesier is Professor Emerita of Art at Divine Word College in Epworth, Iowa.

Douglas Schlesier (1942-2016) was Professor Emeritus of Art and Director of the Quigley Gallery at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa.


"Life Drawing is very relatable to current student interests. It is comprehensive and I like the exercises. I find that the examples relate to images I already use. That is wonderful!" --Kristofer Neely, Wofford College

"The combined textbook-and-sketchbook approach helps reinforce the authors' points. I appreciate how Life Drawing discusses the theoretical notions about drawing the figure. Time-based considerations are an added bonus." --Richard Moninski, University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1 Figures in History
    Prehistoric Cave and Rock Drawings
    Egyptian Tomb Paintings
    Ancient Greek Ceramic Painting
    Roman Wall Painting
    Mayan Temple Frescoes
    European Manuscripts from the Middle Ages
    The Human Figure and Nature in Chinese Painting
    The Human Figure in Renaissance Drawings
    Persian Figure Drawing and Painting
    Images of the Human Figure in Baroque Art in Europe
    Mughal Miniature Paintings
    European Figure Drawing as Studies for Large Paintings
    Social Changes Reflected in European Figure Drawing
    Figurative Images in India
    Japan in the 19th Century
    The Late 1800s in Europe
    Continuing Traditions in China in the early 1900s
    20th- and 21st-Century Art

    Chapter 2 Gesture
    Definition of Gesture Drawing
    Finding the Direction and Placement of Features within the Human Form
    Gestures That Capture Body Language and Movement
    Cross Contours and Building Mass
    Critical Analysis

    Chapter 3 Skeleton and Flesh
    Basic Body Proportions
    The Torso
    Drawing from Life, Using Observation and Consulting Muscle Diagrams
    The Skeleton and Muscles
    Arms and Legs
    Drawing Muscles with Convex Curves
    Drawing Opposing Curves in the Side View of the Body
    Fat and Skin
    How Much Muscle?
    Drawing for Volume
    Critical Analysis

    Chapter 4 Face, Hands, and Feet
    Mapping the Head and Face
    Skin Texture
    Drawing Hands
    Foreshortening the Hand
    Drawing Feet
    Critical Analysis: Portraiture

    Chapter 5 Expression
    Rendering Emotions
    Body Language
    Figurative Exaggeration and Distortion
    Facial Expressions

    Rendering Expression through the Drawing Elements
    Value and Tone
    Shape and Volume
    Critical Analysis

    Chapter 6 Figure and Fabric
    Kinds of Folds
    Drawing Fabric Folds
    Kinds of Fabric
    Fabric Conforming to the Volumes under It
    Textures and Patterns on Clothes
    Fabric for Dramatic Visual Effect or Meaning
    Critical Analysis: The Meaning of Clothing

    Chapter 7 Life Drawing Projects to Develop Skills for Animation and Storytelling
    Framing and Composition
    Showing Movement
    Rendering Characters
    Drawing on Art History
    Critical Analysis

    Chapter 8 Life Drawing Outside the Studio
    Everyday Scenes (Genre Drawings)
    Humans and Animals
    Other Life Drawing Opportunities
    If Your Interest Is in AnatomyEL
    Reworking Your Sketches
    Critical Analysis

    Chapter 9 Applying Life Drawing
    Preparatory Sketches for Painting, Printmaking, and Sculpture Studies
    Street Art and Murals
    Anatomy Drawings and Medical Illustrations
    Costume Design
    Fashion Design
    Book Illustration
    Story Boards, Comics, and Illustrated Novels
    Information Graphics
    Political and Social Commentary

    Anatomy Appendix


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