In my quest to learn anatomy, I’ve been looking on the net for a good book on the subject. I’ve owned a couple of anatomy books over the past couple of years, but have been unsatisfied with them. My first book, Anatomy for the Artist by Sarah Simblet contained lots of photographic reference, but didn’t explain things in great depth. I sold that several months ago and bought another that was recommended by my colleague, also called Anatomy for the Artist, this time by Jeno Barcsay. I was initially impressed by the level of explanation in this book, but later started to get irritated by the images. They were all side and front views, with very little in three quarter views, and there was very little help as to how to approach drawing the body parts. There is also a stunningly small section on the head that goes into virtually no graphical detail about the bones!
So today I had another look around the net and came across The Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist by Stephen Rogers-Peck. I didn’t go buying it just yet as I didn’t want to end up with yet another dissatisfactory book, so I managed to find a pdf of it for preview purposes. I’ve only had a look at the section on the head so far (it was naturally the first section to look at, given the travesty of the Barcsay book!) but it seems to be great!
The section about the head has several clear orthographic views of the skull, as well as lots of images of other three-dimensional angles. But where it comes into it’s own is how it breaks the skull down into manageable pieces that are easy to understand. It’s a complex set of bones and when a book presents the lot in one go, it’s really hard to work out. Thankfully this book doesn’t do that so much. It also has images showing how the fleshy parts of the head relate to the bones underneath. I haven’t actually read the accompanying text yet, but the images alone are a hundred times more useful than those in the previous two anatomy books I’ve owned. This one is the next book on my “to buy” list!