The animal body can be visualized as a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle, made up of distinct, interlocking pieces. These pieces all have very specific volumes that begin and end at very specific places.
This book is about these volumes. Because all volumes in the body are created by anatomical structures, we must study the individual anatomical components and how they relate to one another. Muscles and bones are responsible for most surface forms seen in life. Fat, fur, skin, glands, veins, cartilage, and organs also contribute to the creation of surface form.
In drawing, painting, and sculpting animals, one must begin with a general, understanding of the entire animal (shape, proportion), and then concentrate on its specific parts and details. This is called working from the general to the specific. For example, rough-out the shape of the entire animal first, define the shapes of the torso, the individual limbs, the head, and the neck, and then finally add the details of the individual muscles and tendons. Artwork can be embellished with the most numerous of details, but it must conform to a greater concept of larger shapes and volumes.
This book explores those features common to all the animals presented here, and presents a basic body plan that applies to all. Although each species is unique, with its own shapes and proportions, there are very close similarities between species because they all share a common ancestor. Important variations or exceptions to the basic body plan are discussed when appropriate.
In most cases, technical terminology has been replaced with more common usage, such as "front and back" instead of "anterior and posterior," or "deltoid" instead of "deltiodeus." Regions of the body are named based on anatomical structure, so the term "knee" for the front limb of the horse is not used, and that structure is called the "wrist." This unambiguously refers to the carpal bones of the front limb, and the term "knee" is reserved for the anatomical knee of the rear limb. Similarly, in the rear limb, the term "ankle" is used instead of "hock."
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