Great River Books

Life Drawing Life

On Seeing/Drawing the Human
Frederick Franck

World-renowned artist and thinker and author of the international best-seller, The Zen of Seeing, Frederick Franck turns his eye and his hand to a life-long love: the human form. In over a hundred of his beautifully reproduced drawings of the human body in all its variations, he explores the central question of what it means to be human. His sincere and simple humanity rings clear and loud in the many contemplations of his life experiences, and in his fond appreciation for the models and people he has drawn through the years.

As Franck expresses it, "the on-going meditation by hand and eye taught me more about life than any psychologizing and philosophizing." Here is a unique revelation of the inner journey of this celebrated and beloved artist and thinker.

"Like Franck's Zen of Seeing, this new book from his pen is not so much about drawing from life as about his pilosophy of life and art. It also affords the reader a unique glimpse into the author's personal life and work. What Franck seeks to accomplish through his art is 'the breakthrough to a specifically human quality of perception in a less than human world, a leap from programmed looking-at to the original capacity of seeing that was part of our human equipment long before abstract, quantifying thinking ever began'. He describes the act of drawing from life as 'utterly sensuous — which does not imply that it is the least bit sensual. It is noetiic, it is relevatory, it is celebratory.' As the ample illustration in this volume bear out, Franck lives his philosophy, which is surely the best possible recommendation."

— Spectrum Review


Dr. Frederick Franck was a Renaissance man who has excelled as an artist, writer, philosopher, and peace activist. His sculpture and artwork are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Tokyo National Museum, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and other public and private collections. He was the author of more than 30 books.

Originally from the Netherlands, he lived in Warwick, New York, where he turned the ruins of an 18th century water mill into a transreligious oasis of peace and sanity, equally dedicated to three men with whom he had close ties — Angelo Roncalli (Pope John XXIII), Albert Schweitzer and Daisetz T. Suzuki — named Pacem in Terris.


Trade paperback 8 1/2 x 11

128 pages

Illustrated with 106 original drawings

ISBN 0-915556-19-7

LC 89-30757 CIP

US$ 11.95