Artists' Pose Books?
June 30, 2005 9:04 AM   Subscribe

Artists: Do you use pose books (or CDs) for reference or practice? Until recently I never knew there were so many. Which are best? Is one the be-all/end-all? Do you find "pose-dolls" helpful, and if so, are there better ones than the stiff wooden mannequins at the local crafts store?

I remember seeing a gorgeous book that I can't find now ages ago at a Border's, small and square, about maybe 8"x8" but thick and with hundreds of b&w photos of the same model, in both male and female editions--does this ring a bell with anyone?
posted by Shane to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
There is also Poser, a nifty and popular computer program for generating poses. Much more flexible than pre-rendered images.

I use pose examples in art books as a learning tool; I haven't yet tried using them as the basis for real drawings. However, I find it copying predrawn 2D shapes more difficult than drawing real 3D shapes. In the latter case you learn how to translate/interpret 3D into 2D, but you also learn to apply your own idea of shading, texture and so on; if you're copying somebody else's drawing, you're more constrained to their particular execution.
posted by gentle at 10:13 AM on June 30, 2005

I've thought about getting one of those pose books--I always flip through them at the store, but never actually make the purchase. (I always seem to have too many books in my hands to buy, and have to eliminate *something*!)

As for "pose-dolls", the wooden mannequins are classic and fun to have around, but they're just not posable enough for my needs. I prefer the Art S. Buck Anatomical Figures, which have a nice neutral grey finish, come in male and female models, and are amazingly posable. (And while you're on that page, I highly recommend Jerry's Artarama for artist supplies. Nice prices, nice service.)

Another inexpensive and handy mannequin substitute are the highly articulated Spiderman figures available from Toys R Us or Walmart or wherever. Some of them have great posability for those unusual poses you've always wanted to draw.

Finally, if you have an import toy store in your area, check out the Henshin Cyborg figures. There are a lot of $100+ collectible versions out there, but I have seen some mass-produced recent versions for less than $30. They have a nice size and amazing posability.

posted by NewGear at 10:26 AM on June 30, 2005

There's also 3D.SK, which is a truly fantastic resource for drawing and 3D modeling. I signed up for his pro account (30$/month) and downloaded over 30gb of incredible photographs of more-or-less ordinary people in hundreds of poses(nude and clothed). My drawings (and 3d character models) have improved measurably from the wealth of reference material.

I also own the Spiderman figure that NewGear is talking about. I got mine for 18$ at a K-Mart. It's very useful for figuring out poses, but not so much for drawing from, as it has a huge torso and other obvious distortions that can be hard to compensate for.
posted by fake at 10:59 AM on June 30, 2005

I head down to the local college for Sunday night open figure drawing. The models are always open to striking the pose you need.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:30 PM on June 30, 2005

Thanks, all! Good links and info.

I know exactly which ("ULTRA POSEABLE!!") Spiderman figure you mean, but I was thinking the proportions were out of whack (in typical current comic book style.) Henshin Cyborg, eh? Kind of a big version of the '80s Micronauts?
posted by Shane at 6:57 PM on June 30, 2005

Bingo, Shane! The Henshin Cyborg line and the Micronauts line are related in some arcane fashion.
posted by NewGear at 6:17 PM on July 1, 2005

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