George Bridgman’s Book

Bridgman’s Complete Guide to Drawing From Life, 5th Edition

by George Bridgman

This is the book to buy for my Summer Bridgman Bootcamp.

Bridgman’s Complete Guide has been around for decades. It compiles most of the best of the small books.

For a few decades, there was reason to whine about the Complete Guide. An upside-down torso and an un-thoughtful layout of topics, but the 5th Edition is an improvement. It’s still got problems but here’s why it’s not important: nobody recommends this book for ease of understanding, or train of thought.

It’s a collection of great images. Read the text as you like, but you probably won’t. The text offers some excellent thoughts, but in a 100-year-old academic style that may exhaust you by the end of a paragraph.

You can get much better explanations from the best of Bridgman’s student, Robert Beverly Hale. Especially his Drawing Lessons from Great Masters.

But also from Hale’s Master Class in Figure Drawing, which couples well with Bridgman because it is such enjoyable reading by comparison. Also Hale was Bridgman’ student.

Here’s my recommendation for buying a Bridgman book: this one is filled with the bulk of his work. Buy it to look at the pictures. —mv

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