How do YOU study anatomy?
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Thread: How do YOU study anatomy?

  1. #1
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    How do YOU study anatomy?

    What exactly goes through your head when you're studying the human anatomy? What helps you to recall it later without reference? I draw studies often, but I can never recall it later when I want to use it. It's really starting to make me mad. I was wondering if you all could share what you're thinking about and what to focus on when you're makig studies.

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    I don't think the best way to go about it is to draw *A* study, then expect to remember something later on. (Which is not to say that thats what you're doing.) Theres never any harm in spending a day, a few days, a month studying one specific area you really want to nail down.

    Constant constant repetition makes things stick in your head. Like the times tables!

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    A few things I do is when drawing from refrence, I map out key shapes. For example on the palm of a hand there is a triangle in the middle between the muscle that kinda attaches to the thumb and the one across from it that kinda attaches to the pinky. Sorry if that's confusing. I'm not sure how else to explain those muscles.

    Contour drawings. No shading required but it does take hours. Look at a refrence and draw outlines and outlines only of EVERYTHING (shadows included) never take you pencil off the paper. Draw the contour of shadows and change the pressure of the pencil to show how dark it is. You'll learn tons.

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    Im taking an Excersise Science class in my high school, I have to sit through a lot of sports and injurys stuff, but we spend a lot of time on anatomy so it keeps me happy. before that, i just read and looked around for the best resources and read about how the body works. You don't necassarly need to know the name of everything, just enough so you know what every muscle looks like... or something like that

    [
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mavrick71
    What exactly goes through your head when you're studying the human anatomy? What helps you to recall it later without reference?
    Most of the better artist's anatomy books simplify the major masses of the human form down to a series of simpler shapes. Once an artist constructs a figure on paper using these shapes, it's easier to refine those shapes into anatomical features. It's basically a process of breaking figure drawing down to a series of more manageable steps to get you where you need to be.

    Oh and practice helps a lot.

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    Figure2, I think that tends to be a better way to study proportion rather than anatomy... strictly speaking, anyway.

    Anatomy... figure out the bones. See what their shapes are, placement, how they're situated in relation to one another and which ones affect surface anatomy directly as opposed to those that are covered in muscle or fat. Figure out the muscles.. what they all are, and preferably their names. You're a lot less likely to forget to draw the corticobrachialis if you call it something other than "that one between that big one and that other big one." Get anatomical diagrams and memorise the origins and attachment sites of every muscle. Understand how each one flexes and extends, whether it's above or below another muscle that's near it.

    Do all that, plus a whole crap load of figure drawing from life and you'll probably find you'll get a lot better at pulling a believable figure out of your head. It's a lot to do and requires constant practice. I take a class... if you can, I'd recommend it!

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    Mmm...typed a chunk and posted...then CA gave me an error....anyway in short:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tully
    Figure2, I think that tends to be a better way to study proportion rather than anatomy... strictly speaking, anyway.
    I agree. Learning "heads and hands" was first order of the day for me when I started out. The in depth stuff can come later. It doesn't make much sense to be detailed when the proportions are out in the first place.

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    You have to be able to apply the anatomy unto the figure. You need to study both the figure itself and anatomy, and pay attention to what appears on the figure. For example, study the bones and muscles of a torso, then when you look at the figure, try to see which ones are visible in what situation.

    An interesting book to read on this is Drawing the Living Figure by Sheppard, the book includes figure drawings, followed by a drawing of the anatomy below, and an explanation of the major landmarks that mark the pose. Look into it if you can find it at your library.

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    I agree with Tully. I've been drawing lots of muscles in different positions but I noticed recently that it didn't help me beacause I could barely draw main proportions of figure. The main masses are first and later comes "sculpting" of the form with details.

    I draw studies often, but I can never recall it later when I want to use it.
    I have that problem too. I think that I learn more efficiently by looking at the anatomy but while drawing figure from imagination (not before). When there is some specific pose, I just search for photo with similar one and compare.

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    With drawing, I find the only way I remember things is by drawing the same thing over and over again and I often use many different resource and compare all the time. Learning to draw is like anything else, it takes going over old information. But drawing is more complex that that. You don't instinctivily know proportions, its something you have to train you mind and eye to see.

    When I do studies I use books like Hogarth and Bridgman, then I go and look and objects in life and figures. I have found software like virtual pose really help with just becoming familiar with the figure.
    To make it more fun and usefull, I go to museums (this is a fairly recent thing) and draw statues. The lighting is usually quite good in museums (my own opinion) so you can a nice range of tones.


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    Thanks for some insight guys, I got a few Bridgeman and Burne Hogarth books for my birthday back in September( I know I've had it for 4 months and nothing to show for it) I haven't really had much time to draw, not even weekends(wrestling tournaments), because of football practice from June till December, and Wrestling practice December till end of February( all from end of school(3:35) till at least 7 pm every day... gahh). I'm really excited to finally have some time to draw. I also have lots of Loomis books downloaded before they were removed. I was looking through the Bridgeman books yesterday and I noticed the hands were first then heads, I wonder why they don't structure the books in like biggest/most important, to the little details. Most people I know would just follow the books order.

    Last edited by Mavrick71; February 1st, 2006 at 09:10 PM.
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    Good, get sketching, you'll understand with practice and application!

    The issue with Bridgman is that the editor really messed up I think, the order is illogical. Bridgman discusses more on planes and structure in later chapters, which probably means the editor placed them in wrong order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Undefeated
    I don't think the best way to go about it is to draw *A* study, then expect to remember something later on. (Which is not to say that thats what you're doing.) Theres never any harm in spending a day, a few days, a month studying one specific area you really want to nail down.

    Constant constant repetition makes things stick in your head. Like the times tables!
    Referring to what Undefeated said. Another artist once told me, if you wanna be able to draw orcs, , draw orcs all day until they stick, if you wanna draw, dragons, dragons all day etc.. I guess its the same with anatomy, or anything really, the more you draw/study it, it starts to stick with you.

    Justin.

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    One of the key things I've found with studying anatomy is that you need to *process* what you see. It's one thing to look through an anatomy book and copy the drawings or photos there. That's great for training your eye, but you're not donig much for your actual understanding of form. What you need to do is design a series of exercises that force you to think about the anatomy you are trying to study. Having trouble with proportions? Get a good book that gives you proportions and then try and draw some rought figures (even stick figures) from your head, following those proportions. Try taking a photo or a figure drawing and drawing the figure without any skin. Look at reference while you do it, research the origins and insertions of the muscles, and try to apply those to a figure. You'll force yourself to think about how the muscle actually resides in space rather than how it looks in that one picture that Loomis/Bridgeman/Hale/Peck/Hogarth/whoever drew. Do the same thing with the skeleton. Then start trying to draw figures from your head, and do the same thing with those-- check your reference, but think while you do it. Look at how that arm is positioned-- how and where the bicep shortens and widens as it bends the elbow. Look at how the oblique changes shape as the trunk twists. One of the biggest thing with studying anatomy-- you learn all these little bits and pieces, but putting it together becomes a challenge. You study the arm muscles and bones over and over again in these little studies, but then you realize that you don't understand what happens once you hit the shoulder girdle, how the origin of the deltoid relates to the clavicle, or the trapezius.

    Drawing is about awareness and active thought as much as it is about observation. The biggest thing-- study everyone. While many anatomy books cover the same ground over and over again, there is always some new piece of information or way of looking at things that will challenge you and stretch your knowledge base. I try to put all those new little pieces of information in my sketchbook as I draw, so that I can refer back to it, burn it into my brain. "The back is always encroaching on the front, and is visible in any view." Damn. I need to remember that. ::scribble scribble:: Good notes and good reference can do a lot.

    Wow.. /rant

    Sorry for rambling.

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    Back in the day, they'd be paying graveyards a visit once in a while and...well,...get some studymaterial.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mavrick71
    I was looking through the Bridgeman books yesterday and I noticed the hands were first then heads, I wonder why they don't structure the books in like biggest/most important, to the little details. Most people I know would just follow the books order.
    Hehe, thats because its ALL equally important! Imagine if you completed a puzzle, perfectly but a few bits where missing. That would f**k the whole thing up right? Same goes for anatomy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdfoster
    Sorry for rambling.
    That was a very informative ramble, thanks.

    Oh, and about the hint at graverobbing, I think I'll leave DaVinci to his robbing, and I'll stick with my buddies Loomis and Bridgeman.

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    bdfoster put it the best
    i always hate it when someone asks a question about drawing and somenoe says just Draw Draw Draw
    well just drawing wont get you anywhere if your trying to learn and improve you abilties
    you have to constantly be thinking about what your seeing and how your drawing it

    "Drawing is about awareness and active thought as much as it is about observation."
    -bdfoster

    that sums it all up
    first your gonna just be trying to remember all those muscles that you just looked at before you started drawing. Then eventually after a while or very short, depending on how quickly you memorize the info, youll be able to start concentrating on seeing the anatomy in figures that you observe in life.
    Lately I have been going through flash cards that have the anatomy on them while im on my way to school. Ive been doing this for a few weeks to refresh my memory on some of the more obscure muscles that I had forgotten since I had learned most of the major ones. So lately when I am at figure drawing I am just refining my understanding of how the muscles are interacting/ laying ontop of each other since, for the most part, I know them.

    As a mans power and knowledge grows so the paths he may choose lessen more and more until he can choose only and whole what he must do.
    time to follow the trend: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...14#post1052814
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    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=75358
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