Anatomy And Form

An understanding of the body's structure is essential if you are to give full expression to its spirit. Studying anatomy in books and sketching models informs you about the construction of the body, its proportions, and how the muscles, tendons, and skeleton direct and control the body. There is no need to memorize the position of every muscle and bone, but you should be familiar with key physical landmarks that will assist your work — the vocabulary of life drawing.

The angle of the pelvic bone is key to establishing the pose.

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Bone proportions vary depending on the age and sex of the subject.

Muscle and bone create the forms we see on the body; understanding their structure allows us to see where tension is created.

Bone proportions vary depending on the age and sex of the subject.

Muscle and bone create the forms we see on the body; understanding their structure allows us to see where tension is created.

The muscles of the scalp are so thin that the outline of the bone is visible beneath.

The muscles of the scalp are so thin that the outline of the bone is visible beneath.

Muscles soften the human form and provide the key contours of the body.

The fleshy mass of the calf is produced by two separate muscles

Seperated Calf Muscle

Muscles soften the human form and provide the key contours of the body.

The fleshy mass of the calf is produced by two separate muscles

The human form in focus

Facial features, hair, hands, and feet are common stumbling blocks for artists because they are highly complex in form and surface, and need concentrated observation matched by technical aptitude. Mistakes in representing form and proportion glare out from the paper, because we are all so familiar with the human body. There is no easy formula for success: advance your skills through constant practice.

HEAD AND FACE DETAiL

The head is basically an oval shape, symmetrical around its vertical axis. This seems obvious, but is worth remembering when drawing three-quarters views of the face. A horizontal line drawn through the eyes defines the middle of the face — humans have very high foreheads. Though much of the forehead may be covered by hair, the forehead still extends forward above the eyebrows.

REPRESENTiNG HAiR

EYES iN LiNE ANDTONE

Layered, broad brush strokes evoke the weight and curvature of the hair.

Bold, energetic charcoal lines define the structure of the hair and frame the face.

Faces Drawing Illusion

Drawing hair realistically can be painfully time-consuming. Here, ink cross-hatching captures the overall tonal qualities of hair, while a few fine lines describe individual strands, giving an impression of great detail throughout.

Fine, precise line perfectly describes the shape of the eye. Simplicity and accuracy are capable of conveying gaze jus t as well as detailed t onal wor k.

Bold, energetic charcoal lines define the structure of the hair and frame the face.

Diffuse pastel work captures the form of the eye. In nature, the whites of the eyes are never pure white and reflections show a curved surface.

Delicate pencil work, carefully observed, perfectly captures the gentle downward gesture of the model's gaze.

The human form in focus | 79

BODY DETAiL

Hands and feet, fingers and toes pack a lot of structural complexity into a small area. For this reason you'll see many drawings — even by old masters — where they have been deliberately omitted. There's no need to be intimidated, but a basic knowledge of anatomy is vital in supporting your drawing skills. It helps to draw each part of a finger or toe as a short cylinder, with an oval overlapping the next to form the joint; from here, subtle variations of shape can be built up.

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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