Your preferred method of drawing human anatomy?
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Thread: Your preferred method of drawing human anatomy?

  1. #1
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    Your preferred method of drawing human anatomy?

    I tend to use different guidelines from week to week and steps I take are almost never the same, I've yet to find something I'm really comfortable with. So, I thought I'd try hearing from people who actually know what they're doing.

    What is your preferred method of drawing human anatomy, and what are the benefits or disadvantages of certain methods you have have tried or been taught in the past?

    Last edited by Kiiryu; June 19th, 2010 at 09:35 PM. Reason: incorrect spelling
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  2. #2
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    I'm in the same boat as you, my figure drawing approach is changing a lot. I'm currently starting to drift towards my workshop instructor's method, which is fairly simple.

    Draw your line of action, mark off angle of hips and shoulders, and rough in the head. Try to be careful about the attitude of the head, more than what you'd done so far. Then rough in simple ovals for hips and chest, add ball shoulders, elbows, knees and hands/feet. Connect those with tubes, then go back and start tightening everything up. If working from a model or reference, this is where you start sight measuring or at least trying to be more accurate. He says that if you do it from the start, it makes your drawings more stiff, and takes a lot of the human element out.

    I've only just started with it, so I may end up changing again, but it seems to be working out pretty well.

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    DISCLAIMER I'm not linking to these because I think they're particularly good, I'm linking to them to show the steps in how I found examples of anime I liked, analyzed them, and synthesized the results into my current understanding of anatomy.



    I don't really like realistic human proportions, and I had a difficult time finding any tutorials showing human anatomy in anime proportions, which was what I wanted to draw. So I ended up constructing some for myself.

    First I found two examples of male characters and two of female characters that I thought had basically ideal proportions. Using graph paper and a light box I traced the unclothed parts and drew my guess at what was under the clothes. I measured the results and calculated some proportions. Discovered my basic rule of thumb: I like long-legged figures where the vertical midpoint is at the groin, instead of a realistic placement near the navel.
    Shoujo anime trace: what's under the clothes?

    I was still regularly taking abuse for my anatomy, so I realized I needed to do more work. Of the anatomy books that got respect, the only one I really liked was Loomis (I've since added Cutting Edge Anatomy, which wasn't published then). So I stretched a loomis-style body around a little to be more pleasingly proportioned, then I took a reference of a real human skeleton and extrapolated how the bones would fit inside the anime body.
    Anime skeleton silhouette

    Then I got interested in the fact that not all people are proportioned the same. I wanted to look at the difference between a skinny narrow-shouldered 'bishounen' and a muscular broad-shouldered 'bisienen'. So I started with Loomis again and made references showing how these two archetypes stretched a basic male shape in different ways (on top of the anime proportioning).
    Loomis revised into skinny anime male
    Loomis revised into muscular anime male
    3/4 muscular anime male

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    Interesting subject, but to be objective i found myself using quite some approaches.

    The careful way, observe, horizontal/vertical/diagonal guidelines with H5, complete the drawing.

    The normal way, observe, create horizontal/vertical guidelines with HB, complete the drawing.

    The loosening up way, memory, eyeballing B2+ without guidelines, complete the drawing multiple times.

    This is mostly how i start out learning new things. Obviously i switch in between.

    EDIT: Something that may be interesting is that i approach anatomy from multiple angles, instead of pre-sketching hips, nipples, chest, kneecaps. So i can enter the anatomy from any angle aswell overtime.

    Spare the rod, spoil the child.
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    I do a quick gesture rough to check the pose, then build the mannikin of my own design on top. The mannikin is based on the main muscle groups. You can see a few samples of the process in my CA sketchbook.

    Now, the gesture rough can be almost anything with me. Action line followed by a stick figure, a quick contour outline, a mad mess of scribbles, some blobs... It depends on the type of figure I need, the pose, and the features I need to emphasize. For instance, if I need a tight, clear pose I generally go with a stick figure. If I want to emphasize the curves or the silhouette, I lean towards the outline. If I want to focus on the weight and masses, then wide blobs. And so on.

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    When I try out the "basic shapes first" thing, with balls for joints and cylinders and stuff my figures just comes out stiff, so I pretty much hate that method.

    I prefer to first do a quick series of gestures (even if it's the same pose), then do a larger gesture, less quick than the others, and develop on it. Correct the proportions, add shape and details and the such, and finally, shading it. It's just soooooo much fun, and I love doing it that way.

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    I haven't actually found a method yet =[

    I think I'm gonna go to posemaniacs and try to draw all those muscle forms - I can't afford anatomy books now lol.

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    @wgrace
    There are tons of books available online with awesome anatomy illustrations! Check out these thread, it links to many gems!
    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=131117

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wgrace View Post
    I haven't actually found a method yet =[

    I think I'm gonna go to posemaniacs and try to draw all those muscle forms - I can't afford anatomy books now lol.
    Posemaniacs is a great place for gesture and pose, but it's a terrible resource for accurate anatomy. I'd recommend a decent anatomy for artists book from the list mary-cherry-me gave, and relate what you draw from there to real-life reference, it'll get you a lot further.

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