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Thread: Burne Hogarth Books

  1. #1
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    Burne Hogarth Books

    Hey guys Ive recently been doing so drawing from Hogarths Dynamic Figure Drawing. Im curious as to what principals Hogarth is exactly trying to get across? His drawings have a very specific style to them especially his shading. Ive been copying his drawings very precisely but Im starting to think that Im missing the point here. He draws very "bubbly" musculature.. if that makes any sense.. and it seems to me that its more of a book about surface anatomy than anything else. I feel like Im missing something and theres more to these books that Im not understanding. I HATE simply copying from a book when I dont know why Im doing it.. I also know that this is a useless practice. Can anyone help me understand what Burnes trying to say?
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    I used to think Hogarth was great... now I'm not so sure. For pure learning about anatomy, I now think the other "usual suspects" are better (you know who I mean... Loomis, Bridgeman, Peck, etc). What Hogarth does is reduce anatomical forms into kind of abstract/mechanical approximations. At the time I thought that was just what I needed, because it makes the forms and structures CLEAR. Later I realized he makes things "clear" but not necessarily "right".

    Besides that, don't try to actually READ what he says... he'll tax even fans of convoluted Victorian prose... just take what you can from the diagrams and captions.
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    Bleh, Hogarth...

    Jenő Barcsay's "Anatomy for the Artist" has the clearest muscle illustration that I've seen. Unfortunately it lacks in some other respects such as proportion. If you can find this in the large original size I'd suggest grabbing it, as the newer version is a bit small.

    Stephen Peck's "Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist" has very good bone illustration, but the muscle illustrations don't quite have enough contrast. He does include a lot of other really useful info however including different body types (fat vs emancipated, etc).
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    Burne hogarth's books seem a little odd at first glance. After working fomr it for a while and then back to my drawings from imagination I noticed a big improvement in contour and forms. I think his drawings are exagerated (bulgy) so its easier to recall when you go back to doing a drawing. Just understate what was obviously their in Hogarth's book.
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    Look for Bridgman's books, they may be a lot closer to what you are looking for. Bridgman does a better job in my opinion of showing you the underlaying structure and purpose of the various muscle groups.

    I've never been a fan of Hogarth's books. I agree his figures look strange, and the books themselves didn't seem as helpful as other books did (although I admit it's been years since I looked at his books, so maybe I missed stuff). Bridgman, for me, is when anatomy really started to make sense.
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    I second Bridgman. I have had a few anatomy book where I used to do studies from. But it hasn't been untill a few months ago I started studying from Bridgman. It's been only since I've been doing the bridgman studies that I've had the feeling I was really starting to understand anatomy. Other books show you where the muscles are, Bridgman shows you HOW to draw those muscles.
    And his books are dirt cheap and super easy to carry around, it's a sin not to pick them up imo.

    The Barcsay book I own too. A bit confusing for a beginner I think, it was for me anyway. But anatomy can be very confusing at first, and this was my first anatomy book. I was doing some studies from the book a few days ago and it's nice to have a break from Bridgmans abstractions. I guess it's a good book if you already have a basic understanding of the musclegroups.

    I'll keep my toughts about Hogarth to myself
    I guess he's not all bad, Marko swears by him.
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    Thanks guys.. I actually do have all of Bridgmans books and I love them. They make the most sense to me by far. I just read some stuff about Hogarth so I thought I would take a look.. I dont know what I think about his books yet.
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    A bit off topic from my original post but I was wondering If you guys knew a good way to get a binded book like Bridgman onto individual sheets of paper so that I can lay the pages flat in order to study them. I hate flattening the books because it destroys the bindings and I wanna make sure I keep the books intact. Books are always being put out of print and it would suck if mine fell apart and I couldnt get another copy. I could photocopy the pages but the quality would probably suck
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    Bridgeman all the way, cant stress how much I have learnt in such a small space of time from that book!

    it just seems to be that the way everything is drawn and exaggerated, means i remember it straight away from imagination...well almost i still learning of course


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    Hogarth is okay after learning more straightforward anatomy in my opinion. It's just that it works great for what he advertises which is "dynamic" but as others have said it doesn't necessarily mean correct. I personally find his figures too...rubbery.

    Bridgman is great because of the following reasons. He's sketchy. You might think "I need something clear"! Well the thing to me is I do find it more exciting and get the juices flowing when everything isn't interpreted for you. Learning to sketch and getting things to read is critical in my opinion. If you don't have ideas you can't go back to because you have no idea what the hell you were drawing then that's a problem. Drawback is that..well his females aren't so great.

    Peck was also mentioned as was Loomis. Loomis seems to fare much better than Bridgman in drawing the female form. Peck is good for structure and different forms, child, adult, fat, and skinny.

    Gottfried Bammes is another one I'd recommend. His books are in pdf format online if you know where to look but they're in German. However, his insight on the figure is great.
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    This topic has been covered a lot, and I get into it every time. The long and short of it is, Hogarth has written the only anatomy books in history for which no models were consulted. The entire book is stylizations based on ideas he had about physical movement while working on his Tarzan Sunday comic strip for a decade. If you are a fan of his artwork, your will appreciate that he is instructing you on its construction. Otherwise, Bridgman, Loomis, Bammes, Peck are, IMHO, better choices.
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    well said,
    if you are looking for accurate anatomy he's is definitely the last place to look.
    His perspective and gesture is often straight up weird. (not to mention odd bulbous heads)


    but i still think if used sparingly and appropriately he has his place

    hogarth is great for imparting the idea of weight and volume

    anatomy its just not his forte at all. i think we would excuse alot of this if he had not put "anatomy" in the title of any of his books.
    we might think of him as an interesting illustrator rather than a failed anatomist


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    Last edited by kingshaj; May 5th, 2009 at 09:13 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    The entire book is stylizations based on ideas he had about physical movement while working on his Tarzan Sunday comic strip for a decade.
    I thought most Bridgman sketches were done without reference aswell. I believe I read it somewhere on ca even. Correct me if I'm wrong, though.
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