The book opens with a brief overview of the comically cyclical history of the art market, which has reintroduced classical ideals during the Renaissance, began gradually obliterating these principles to the point of modern art and then looped around as the demand for knowledgeable animators and illustrators rose with the advent of animated films and video games. Since the same set of words are used in a majority of anatomical names, Winslow acquaints her reader with this vocabulary in her first chapter. The entire book is written like a highly useful textbook, with new words italicized, explained and even phonetically written in a separate text box. New terms are placed in a separate text box as well, with definitions so the reader could glance back at the vocabulary without having to spend time flipping through the index. There is no glossary in the book, however since the entire book is a in essence a gargantuan glossary of anatomy, broken down into sections, a list of definitions at the end is superfluous. The language, albeit a bit dry is easy to understand and well supplemented with a plethora of diagrams. Each diagram, is well labeled, organized, and easy to read. Winslow includes her own drawings, exceptionally useful are the ones for which she includes a separate muscular or skeletal structure sketch.
Winslow has a very creative approach to teaching anatomy. She literally draws visual comparisons between a mundane object, and an obscure internal body structure that a student may never have seen before. An elephant’s head is akin to a sacrum, a lumber vertebrae is obvious in the shape of a Roman column, and a scapula is a lot like a garden trowel. These associations to familiar objects allow an artist to commit the more difficult forms of the body to memory and turn the forms in their heads, creating drawings that are generally accurate and only require some extra modification. Of course these are only for sketches, and Winslow provides plenty of diagrams and images that show exactly how each skeletal and muscle form, from the group to the individual, looks from various angles. Another creative aspect of this book is that Winslow demonstrates not only gestural rhythms of the body and muscles but additional structural flow lines of hair, and even wrinkles. Finally she has included diagrams and explanations of how bones and muscles contract and several drawing cycles of the entire human body.
I can use this book as an encyclopedia for anatomy, a supplement to my animation book, and as wonderful source for studying. An artist who is set on learning the traditional techniques needs a book such as this one to view a human subject inside and out and learn the hows and whys each part of the body functions the way it does.