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Drawing People: The Human Figure in Contemporary Art


Edited with text by Roger Malbert.

The act of drawing has long been considered the foundation of an artistic education, and the life class essential to the formation of an artist's style and technique. Yet in the contemporary art world drawing is increasingly regarded as a medium in its own right, and the figure as a subject for ongoing exploration well beyond the sketchbook. Drawing People is a thoughtful and beautifully illustrated survey of the most compelling and inventive drawings of the human form being produced today by 70 contemporary artists from around the world. An introduction places the medium of drawing in its historical context, discussing its intersection with photography, painting, collage and illustration, as well as its ability to intimately express thought, personality and emotion. Five chapters—Body, Self, Personal Lives, Social Reality and Fictions—include short introductions outlining each theme, followed by generously illustrated profiles on individual artists exploring their style, approach to the medium and the ideas, narratives and inspirations that lie behind their mark-making. A selection of finely reproduced images highlights the latest work by each artist.

Drawing People features an international roster of artists working with pencil, ink, watercolor, charcoal and crayon, including Francis Alÿs, Charles Avery, Louise Bourgeois, Francesco Clemente, Adam Dant, Marlene Dumas, Dr. Lakra, Paul McCarthy, Nalini Malani, Wangechi Mutu, Raymond Pettibon, Rosemarie Trockel, Tal R, Marcel Dzama, Barry McGee, Amy Sillman and Kara Walker. Together, their drawings and sketches, illustrations and animations bring to life one of the most creatively rich and emotionally powerful forms of art being made today.

• Flexi Cover
• Measures: 9.5" x 13.5" inches
• 256 Pages / 275 Color

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The Independent
Drawing is now back in the spotlight … this book is asserting the importance of drawing in its own right, as an autonomous artform and not a means to an end.

These weird and wonderful sketches of the human body reveal just what is possible when, pencil in hand, the artist lets their subconscious off the leash.

…a thoughtful and beautifully illustrated survey of the most compelling and inventive drawings of the human form being produced today.

The Art Blog
Alyssa Greenberg
a crucial guide to today’s best artists who draw
New York Journal of BooksJonathan Rickard
The work varies as one would expect from hyper realism to nearly non-representational. There is pure line, chiaroscuro, and color. Reproduction of the art is generous, both in printing quality and size. Each artist’s name, birth date, birthplace, and current location is provided. Some works speak eloquently of the artist’s ethnicity and others reflect this age of instant communication—the blurring of borders.

Art Quarterly
Drawing People is a rich and guttural study of the body.
Association of IllustratorsDerek Brazell
Drawing People rewards through its eclectic mix of artists using drawing as their base, and may inspire an expanding attitude towards the human figure from artistic readers.

Lalé Shafaghi
An art student on any level will obsess over this thoughtful analysis of the most innovative drawings of the human form being created today.

The Art Newspaper
Deanna Petherbridge
Roger Malbert’s beautifully designed book is a welcome addition to the relatively sparse English-language literature on contemporary drawing… Malbert’s selection of artists, known and unknown, establishes his thesis that there is a global reinvestment in the human figure as a source of political, psychological and, above all, satirical commentary. For once, in an art world that worships the casual gestural sketch, these are predominantly complex, skilful and ideas-based drawings, weaving witty, disturbing or powerful fantasies about aesthetics as well as abjection. They celebrate exaggerated graphic elaboration, and also colourful and open-ended anarchic invention.