Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Andrew Loomis Instructional Art Books

Many years ago someone told me that if I really wanted to become an illustrator, I needed to get my hands on Andrew Loomis' art books.

I dutifully went to the World Supply art store in Hollywood and (after stopping to admire the corkboard behind the counter with sketches that David Hockney had drawn on the supply order fax forms he sent in) asked the clerk if she had any Loomis books for sale.

"They are all out of print," she said, "even though we get many requests for his books." She suggested a used book store in Sherman Oaks.

There, the proprietor told me that he had one copy of Creative Illustration (1947). He told me it was $300. "The Disney animators snap up every Loomis book as soon as it arrives," he told me.

He let me look at the book, and as I carefully leafed through the pages, I understood why his books were in such high demand. His mastery of anatomy was impeccable.

I went home without the book, but always asked for his books whenever I went to a used book store. They either didn't have the books, or they cost too much for me.

I finally bought a beat-up, coverless copy of Figure Drawing For All It's Worth for $80 on eBay. But I wanted his other books. Now, thanks to the interwebs, I have them all, in PDF form. In this useful post on Alberto Ruiz's blog, Process Junky, you'll find links to PDF files of Loomis work, along with Ruiz's suggestions for other good art instruction books. Ruiz is a terrific artist in his own right, so it's worth paying attention to what he has to say.

  1. Fun With a Pencil (1939)
  2. Figure Drawing For All It's Worth (1943)
  3. Creative Illustration (1947)
  4. Successful Drawing (1951)
  5. Drawing The Head And Hands (1956)
  6. The Eye Of The Painter (1961)