Mark Simon
Released: April, 2005

Although this book comes under the banner of art technique/photo reference, I think it's a great resource for some cartoonists and humorous illustrators. 50 male and female models of differing ages and ethnicity (is that a word?) are photographed in over 3000 different facial poses, covering a vast range of moods and emotions and from a variety of angles. Need a headshot of a middle aged black woman tilting her head back 35 degrees and wearing a snorkel and chefs hat? Not a problem! (although if that particular picture is for you own personal pleasure then perhaps, yes, it is a problem …

There's a wealth of material in the book taking in everything from skull shape and muscle definition to galleries devoted to couples kissing (careful!) and popular headgear. It all sounds a bit bizarre but actually proves very useful if you're looking for inspiration, on a deadline or need to get proportions correct. As the author notes, these photos should never limit your imagination, but can be used as a starting point on which to build your characters. Also included in the book are about 150 illustrations inspired by the photos, the quality of which are varied.

Of course there are cartoonists with no need for this book – their particular styles don't warrant it, but for those who's style strays more towards character design, animation or caricaturing it's quite a useful resource and at under ten pounds (roughly the cost of a pickled egg in the Cartoonist) you're not going to break the bank.

Excuse me, I've got a snorkel to finish drawing …

Tim Harries

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