The Human Form: Techniques for Drawing and Painting the Nude

Author(s): Giovanni Civardi

Art - Techniques

The representation of the human form is one of the most widespread and enduring art subjects in the world. Now, following a long period spent in the shadows of the 20th century's trend towards abstraction, the nude is re-emerging into the mainstream to reclaim its place as a subject both in art and sculpture. Meanwhile, the human form has maintained its central and irreplaceable role in the technical training of artists. The first part of this book contains practical information and advice on the many drawing and painting techniques that are employed when painting the nude. The second part looks closely at the practicalities of rendering the colours of the skin and advises on colour mixes in a range of painting mediums. Part three goes into further detail, breaking down several approaches to painting or drawing the nude into working stages. Here you will find explanations of the principles to be followed and some tips relating to nude studies in various mediums. The final and largest section of the book contains a gallery of female and male life drawings, each accompanied by a short commentary in which anatomical and morphological points of interest to the artist are discussed.


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As life drawing books go, you won't get many that are better than the ones written by Giovanni Civardi. He has a pleasantly straightforward style and simple explanations that are hard to beat. In spite of his having written many books, this is a new one rather than a reissue and it's also nice to report that his style seems to have lost that slightly old-fashioned tinge it once had. The other innovation is the introduction of colour. As well as the drawings, which are in the majority, there are also illustrations in watercolour, gouache and coloured pencil which include useful hints on getting skin tones right. The only thing you might want to note is that there are a lot more female than male studies here so, if you're looking for the latter, you might feel a bit let down. If not, it's Giovanni Civardi is one of the greats when it comes to life drawing books. He writes in an easily understood fashion with numerous illustrations to show his point. The human form has always been of interest to art students - perhaps because its an easily studied subject as we have not just our own bodies but are surrounded by others and each has just that small difference which make us individuals. Giovanni has written many books and yet always manages to keep to a refreshing interesting format. This book is new in that he introduces colour using oils, watercolour, gouache and graphite, watercolour and straight coloured pencils along with pastels and charcoal. A real feast of colours full of useful information on usage. The book has a short but useful section on how to achieve believable skin tones - something essential when rendering colour portraits. The final part is composed of many pencil illustrating of different figure poses each one accompanied by explanatory text on how and why the pose is important and what the skeleton and musculature under the skin are doing. Understanding this is one of the keys to creating believable portraits. Another fantastic book from a master of life study, this book is a valuable addition to the library of any student of the human

GIOVANNI CIVARDI was born in Milan in 1947. While training to become a sculptor, portrait artist and illustrator at the Free Life-Study School of the Accademia di Brera, he also studied medicine and surgery. For over a decade, he worked as an illustrator, producing commissions for newspapers, magazines and book covers. During frequent trips to France and Denmark, Civardi put on one-man exhibitions of this work and pursued his interest in studying the relationship between medical anatomy and the human form as depicted by the artist. His experience gained from teaching anatomy, life drawing and portraiture in schools and institutions over many years has led to the publication of numerous books in which Civardi's experiences are brought into focus.

General Fields

  • : 9781844486014
  • : Search Press Ltd
  • : Search Press Ltd
  • : May 2011
  • : 280mm X 216mm X 10mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : August 2011
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 112
  • : 87 colour
  • : Giovanni Civardi
  • : Paperback
  • : 757.2