Anatomy Question
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  1. #1
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    Anatomy Question

    Something just wont click for me and I need a little mind clearing.

    I understand that anatomy is obviously very important. So far I understand how to draw the figure of people, but I haven't gotten so good in the fine details.

    People say that drawing whats under the skin is a good way to learn your anatomy. It seems so complicated to me, I can draw whats under the skin but I cant connect that to drawing the actual body. How does drawing the bones, and muscles not visible to an un-skinned body help me out in anatomy? Maybe this way I can connect and then apply, because that is usually how I learn.

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    Hi Azuza,

    I had this problem for a long time. What I did was started from the skeleton up. So I drew the skeleton from front, 3/4, rear and side views. So you learn to draw just the skeleton from all angles. Just looking at where all of the bones connect and how they connect can give you a lot of help because then you won't be having them bend in completely strange directions. It might also help you place things like the knees in the correct spot when you see the correct placement of them on a skeleton.

    After I did that I moved on to drawing the muscle tissues on. It helps you see HOW the movement happens. It also is a huge help when you add the skin over and are trying to do shading. Sometimes you see a shadow and aren't sure why there would be a darker patch on say.. the side of the leg. But when you see that by the character putting stress on the leg the muscle engages it pushes up and thus creates a small groove on the side of the leg. I guess it just helps when you see the muscles and then do studies of how they look when engaged. So if a person is laying down the muscles would be interacting differently than when standing up. Or a relaxed hand vs. a gripped hand.

    A great way to learn anatomy is studying your own body as well. Using the hand as an example... if you clench your hand into a fist have you noticed what it does to the muscles on your arms? Or if you're standing straight and then maybe extend a leg forward and put some weight on it, have you paid attention to the ways the different muscles in your leg, butt and stomach contract?

    I hope this made sense. It's what I did and my anatomy, while definately not perfect, is getting much better.

    Also quick line drawings of people from life are a huge help. Because if you do quick minimal line drawings you start to learn the shapes/forms a lot quicker.

    I guess to sum it up... Seeing the bones helps you visualize the structure of the body and where things are positioned. The muscles help you see the restrictions of movements. Like a leg can't bend backwards, the muscle will tighten and stop it. It also helps you visualize where tension will be which helps with shading and depth in a drawing. And then adding the skin finishes it all out!

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    Long time ago I used to learn all the muscles like from some medical anatomy book but I think better result gave me memorizing basic shapes of different body parts. Not every single muscles but groups of muscles turned into interlocking boxes and cylinders like you have it in Bridgeman books or Kevin Chen demos. Knowing skeleton and skull are also very helpful. No matter what you construct character of, you always got basic framework. Same goes for using planes of skull as a guidance for constructing different faces.

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    Drawing what's under the skin isn't just a good way to learn artistic anatomy... it's practically the only way. You will only be aware of many forms in the body after you know they exist. To draw them, you also need to have mental concepts of their shapes. It's not easy sometimes and you can spend our whole life refining and still not know everything. Once you combine your newfound knowledge with life drawing, studies and observation though, I think you'll start to see how it all fits together.

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    Thanks for the tips, I really appreciate it. What I might start doing is simplifying the skeleton into different shapes besides drawing them in their natural way, but I need to be carefully not to make them too simplified.

    And with the muscles, that one scares the living crap out of me, but i'le try your suggestions. I like what Favurus suggested with muscle groups, that might lighten the strain on my brain. Thanks for your help. =)

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    Keep in mind that humans are symmetrical, learning anatomy is only half as scary as it looks.

    In case you don't already have them, here are the links for a couple of Bridgmans books and the Andrew Loomis books.
    http://www.archive.org/details/human...ethea009564mbp
    http://www.archive.org/details/const...anat00briduoft
    http://acid.noobgrinder.com/Loomis/

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    as well, i can recomend you, if you are willing to spend a few bucks, you can try "the structure of man" by phoenix riven: http://the-structure-of-man.blogspot.com

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    As usual the secret is big things before little things. With anatomy, that means ribcage, pelvis and head masses first. Glenn Vilppu is very good on this, and there is an extended online summary of his figure drawing manual at Animation World Magazine. Links here (towards bottom of page):

    http://djcbriggs.googlepages.com/the...ashtonartschoo

    Get in the habit of putting these three masses in first and you'll see for yourself the logic of moving on to the shoulder girdle, arms, and legs, and then progressively down to smaller and smaller units. All of the resources mentioned so far on this page, plus the others I link to on the page above (Vanderpoel, Hale, Mentler, Chen), can help a lot with this stage.

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    And look at the bright side: you'e got heaps of resources to draw from, DaVinci still had to dig up and disect bodies himself



    Check these out too:
    Rotor - GoGoJoJo

    "Limited drawing skills are OK if they are offset by a fearless commitment to putting images on paper."

    "I mean, What is a chair? It's an anti-gravity device." Glen Keane

    "The difficult part is continuously realizing when you've stopped enjoying the process, and re-aligning yourself. It's kind of like meditation/being an art ninja..." ceddo
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    Thanks for the links guys, I'm reading the Loomis books and it actually gives me stuff to practice on, because I'm a hands on type of guy. But there is a big block of text, but school is almost back so I need to gain back my vocabulary.

    And good point Kjesta...but is that really a bad thing? Oh wait it is, at least my psychiatrist says it is.

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    AzuzaPesant, let's not go there



    Check these out too:
    Rotor - GoGoJoJo

    "Limited drawing skills are OK if they are offset by a fearless commitment to putting images on paper."

    "I mean, What is a chair? It's an anti-gravity device." Glen Keane

    "The difficult part is continuously realizing when you've stopped enjoying the process, and re-aligning yourself. It's kind of like meditation/being an art ninja..." ceddo
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    "How does drawing the bones, and muscles not visible to an un-skinned body help me out in anatomy?"
    Bones and muscles are anatomy, so drawing anatomical parts helps you draw anatomical parts.

    You already know all the important forms of the body(which is different than scientific anatomy) because: 1. all the parts of your body contain nerves that tell your brain they're size and location, and 2. you've been looking at people you're whole life and relating them to yourself in some unconcious way.
    #1 Tells you how to relate the parts in space, and they're relative sizes, it gives you kinesthetic information however it gives you no visual information. #2 Gives you the visual information.
    #2 would be unintelligible without #1.

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    "Beliefs are rules for action"
    "Knowledge is proven in action."
    "It's use is it's meaning."
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