The art of portrait drawing.
I can't remember how I found this book, probably on amazon. I did not know much about the author/artist at the time either actually. However, I cannot say I was dissapointed with the amount of information, or the helpfulness of this book.
This book is split into two main catagories, but there is so many sub catagories within. I can definately say that this book covers just about every aspect of drawing portraits, ranging from suitable materials, to basic measurements, all the way to actual drawing techniques.
Actually, I would say that the biggest appeal of this book is the way that it goes into great detail with actual drawing methods and techniques, which is what a lot of other art books seem to skim over. A complete novice could pick up this book, and actually gain a great deal of knowledge and confidence because of the portrait demonstrations in here, and a lot of effort has gone into providing photographs during every stage of each drawing.
The book starts off with a few pages of information, covering drawing materials, and then is followed up with photographs of the artists studio.
There is even a few pages briefly covering art history, although this is definately not a history of art book, rather the book just skims over the subject briefly.
This book has a good section on composition and the measuring of portraits, and talks of the "divine proportion" in some detail too, which is something every serious artist should learn about.
This book covers values, lighting, and suitable sitter poses in depth too with a lot of useful info. It also covers working in colour too, although only very briefly. Anyone who is keen to start working in colour will not find this book very useful, as it focuses on drawing techniques as the name suggests.
To summarise, this is a great book really, packed with information, and filled to the brim with high quality photographs. So much so in fact, that it good just to skim through every now and then, which I often do.
This book is written by a well respected artist in the states called Joy Thomas, who's work has appeared in numerous magazines and books, and who has won first prize for portrait painting from the American Society of Portrait Artists in 1996. You can see her work at http://www.portraitartist.com/thomas
A quality book, and I highly recommend it. I paid around £7 for this book, which I think is very good value, as far as I know it is listed on amazon and pretty easy to find.