Recommended books on Anatomy for Artists

When looking for a good book on the subject of anatomy for artists there were several problems that I encountered. This included not only the level of detail that the books went into but also how easy it was to understand what had been written. The best of these books contained not only text that was easy to understand but also images that showed how the muscles and bones moved.

NOTE: This list is based off of the books that I own / have read and therefore does not cover all of them. It is also based on my opinion of these books yours however may be different.

Classic Human Anatomy – Valerie L. Winslow


This book contains all the anatomy knowledge that an artist needs and some they don’t. The good thing about this book is that it is broken up into sections that can be easily located within the book, each containing information on a different part of the human body. Within these sections things are broken down into bones and muscle groups. The author has even gone as far as describing the movement that is created using individual muscle groups. Also at the end of each section there is a few pages that provides some information to aid the reader in drawing that part of the anatomy. All of this is depicted in various images that are spread throughout the book with anatomy terminology that is explained in such a way that it is easy to understand. It is due to not only the vast amount of information contained within but also the way that it is explained that I not only recommend this book but would also list it as a must have for anyone attempting figure drawing.


Classic Human Anatomy in Motion – Valerie L. Winslow


Like classic human anatomy this book also contains a vast amount of anatomical information backed up by images which help you understand what is being said. Where these two books differ is that classic human anatomy is a reference for muscles and bones, while this book has a greater focus on how to depict that information and also includes things such as facial expressions and different body types. While there is a lot of overlap in the information the two books contain, Classic human anatomy in motion is in excellent complement to the book classic human anatomy.


Anatomy for the Artist – Sarah Simblet


While this book does not go into the level of detail that the books above do, it does contain a lot of information of human anatomy which have been broken down into sections. It also includes many images depicting bones and muscles, but how it differs from the others above is that it includes pages that overlay photos of models. These pages show how the bones sit under the skin and can give an idea of how everything fits together. There are also more photos of models throughout the book with descriptions of what the different muscles are doing. Unfortunately the book is not as easy to understand as the previous ones listed here.


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