This book is one of the seminal works on art and art study, as well as one of the most noted published in the last century. It was published posthumously from notes Mr. Nicolaides had in his papers at his death. He was very reluctant to commit to final form his methods of art teaching, as these were always evolving. While the materials and knowledge about art are always present, and most are available in various books, the gift of the teacher/author is to point out a path, a way to get from where you are to where you want to be, and beyond. This book is invaluable -- priceless, even -- for that.
The primary emphasis in this book is one on drawing (and eventually painting) the human figure. If you do not have access to a live model (several artist can get together to hire a model, or they can take turns modeling for the other/s, if money is tight), one may try to get access to a virtual model on the computer, or a VCR tape or DVD of a live model posing for artists. The author suggests that clothed models are, or can be, as valuable as nude models; often friends or family members can be persuaded to pose for you. If all else fails, he says, things or landscapes can be used for most of the exercises. (Some can be done alone with a mirror, also).
The author recommends each section be read and then the exercises done and completed before one reads further in the text.