Peter Steinhart, a naturalist and nature writer, found that he couldn't do his work any longer -- found that his writing about nature kept slipping into writing about people and their impact on nature. When Steinhart is stuck, he finds drawing helpful. He was, it seems, badly stuck, and so he wrote a book about figure drawing.

He approaches figure drawing as a naturalist, not an art critic or an art historian, and this gives the book an original flair and rhythm that is oddly intriguing. He explores the habitats of people who draw. He observes their customs and manners, their rules, their disguises and excuses. He takes a very close look at the complex interdependence of model and artist, and explores their economic interdependence.