In this drawing exercise, I drew the action line and skeleton much darker than I would normally draw them so that you could see them. Typically I draw the action line, skeleton, and manikin very lightly so I can do a finished drawing over the top of them. You will notice that in Figure 2.26 the action line and skeleton are much lighter. I went in with a kneaded eraser and pulled much of the graphite off the page so that you could better see the manikin drawing. I usually don't erase when I draw because it has a tendency to disturb the paper fibers, causing unwanted textures. By drawing the initial stages very lightly, I can establish my figures without needing to erase the construction lines, and I can still create delicate drawings.
Try filling your sketchbook with manikin figures drawn from your imagination and from reference. Figure Artist can be a valuable tool because you can set up the figure in a number of poses and create sketches of it. Try sketching the same pose from different angles. A big advantage that Figure Artist has over photographs for figure reference is that you can set up a figure and then look at it from any angle.
The manikin is a very useful tool for the figure artist. With it, you can quickly (and in most cases, accurately) sketch and build up ideas for your drawings. Working with a manikin helps you draw better from reference because it builds confidence in figure drawing. One of the reasons why beginning figure artists experience problems sketching the figure is that they are afraid that they will draw something wrong. By learning how to draw the manikin, the artist can overcome that fear and focus instead on learning to draw the figure well.
Figure 2.27 Draw the manikin in action.
Be aware that in learning to draw the manikin, you need to constantly work on getting the overall proportions right. If the proportions are off, the drawing will look odd or awkward. As you draw, measure your drawing and compare it to the basic proportions of the body to keep it correct.
As you can see from this chapter, the idea is to learn to draw the figure from the inside out. You start with the action line and then build a gesture sketch using simplified skeletons over the top of it. The skeleton establishes the gesture and the proportions of the figure without any surface detail. It can be done in a matter of seconds.
On top of the skeleton you draw the manikin, which adds flesh to the bones. The manikin defines the shape and mass of the body. Major muscle groups are lightly defined in the manikin, but most surface detail, such as facial features and fingers, are omitted. The manikin can be used for drawing from reference and for developing figures from your imagination.
Figure 2.27 Draw the manikin in action.
Understanding human anatomy will help you achieve greater expressive ability in figure drawing. By understanding the many different aspects of the human form, you can better grasp how the figure works as a whole. For example, if you feel along the bone on the lower part of your jaw, you will notice that there is a small indentation about halfway between the chin and the back of the jaw. This indentation is to allow a blood vessel to pass under the jaw. The indentation helps to protect the vessel. The significance of this little indentation is that it affects the curvature of the jaw. The jawbone is actually concave here, rather than convex. A slender person who has little fat around the jaw will show this distinct feature of the jaw more clearly than a heavy person will. Knowing this little aspect of the figure can help the artist who wishes to express a thin person.
In a way, the study of anatomy increases your figure drawing arsenal. By studying the underlying structure, you can develop a greater feel for the surface, expanding creative possibilities. In essence, the human form is made up of soft and hard tissue held together by tendons and ligaments. The bones form the underlying structure of the body and in some cases act as protection for delicate internal organs. Around and over the bones are muscles that are used to drive movement. The whole system is controlled by an extensive nervous system.
The human form is capable of extreme movement and flexibility. The muscles that power body movement expand and contract, causing surface changes to appear. Take a look at your arm. Hold it out in front of you with the palm down. Now twist your arm so the palm is facing up. Notice how the muscle beneath the skin move as the arm rotates. As the arm rotates, some muscles in the forearm will expand and twist, while others will contract to cause the movement. Now bend your arm up at the elbow. The muscles of the upper arm will bunch to pull the arm up. These muscles are the biceps, so named because there are two muscles.
Drawing from life, an artist is often confronted with a number of organic surfaces. It is helpful if the artist understands not only why the surface changes in movement, but also what the underlying structure is doing during those changes. This will help the artist to recognize the subtle aspects of the figure that might go unnoticed if the artist didn't have the proper instruction in anatomy.
In Chapter 2 you created a simplified skeletal structure to use as a base for drawing the figure. We called it drawing from the inside out. Now you will have the opportunity to better understand the actual skeletal structure of the human body Figure 3.1 shows the male skeleton. This skeleton comes with Figure Artist's bigger cousin, Poser, and is available as additional content for Figure Artist.
The human skeleton contains more than 200 individual bones. Although it might not be essential for you to learn the names of all 200 bones, you should become familiar with some of the major bones listed here.
^ Skull. The skull is the bony framework upon which the head is built. It is composed of eight cranial and 14 facial bones. The cranial bones are the dome-shaped bones that cover the top of your head. They are very near the surface. If you press on the top of your head, you can feel the hard surface of the bone just below the skin. The shape of the cranium pretty much determines the shape of the head. The facial bones make up the bones of the front of the head and contribute greatly to how a person looks.
^ Mandible. The mandible, sometimes referred to as the jawbone, is actually one of the facial bones of the skull. It is the moveable bone on the lower part of the head. It is hinged to the rest of the skull up near the ears. It is important to note where the bone is hinged because that controls the bone movement.
^ Clavicle. The clavicle is located on the upper front of the chest near the neck. It is a very pronounced bone near the surface, connecting the arms to the chest. There are two clavicle bones—one on each side of the body. The clavicle's flexible movement allows for the variety of movement in the shoulder.
^ Scapula. The scapula is a plate-like triangular bone located on the right and left side of the upper back. It is sometimes called the shoulder blade. It has quite a range of movement under the skin and is more pronounced in a slender person. It will also protrude more in a person with poor posture.
^ Ribcage. The ribs are actually a group of bones that surround the chest cavity and serve as protection for the delicate organs housed in that area. All together, the ribs form a somewhat egg-shaped structure that is open at the bottom and more closed at the top. The ribcage also acts as an anchor for many of the muscles of the upper back and chest.
^ Sternum. The sternum is located in the center of the chest and connects the ribs of the left and right sides by way of cartilage, which gives the chest the flexibility to expand and shrink with breathing. The sternum has a distinctive dagger shape and is sometimes referred to as the breastbone.
^ Spine. The spine is a column of bones that extends from the skull to the pelvis. The spine is a very flexible combination of bones and cartilage that encloses and protects the spinal cord. The spine is also the structure that holds the upper body erect. There are 33 separate irregularly shaped bones called vertebrae in the spinal column. The top bone of the spinal column is called the Atlas, and the next is called the Axis. The shape of the Atlas allows the head to nod yes, and the shape of the Axis allows the head to shake no. The vertebrae at the top of the spinal column are smaller than those near the bottom. They connect the ribcage in the back and support most of the major muscles of the back. They can be seen as a row of ridges when a person bends forward.
^ Pelvis. The pelvis is located in the lower body and forms your hips. There are actually two pelvic bones—one on either side of the body. They are joined together in the back by the sacrum and in the front by a muscle called the pubic symphysis. The pelvis serves to support the body by anchoring the spinal column, and it also protects many of the delicate organs of the lower body. The pelvis on a female is wider, and the central opening is larger than on a male. This difference helps the female to support a baby during pregnancy. The wider opening allows for the baby to be born because the baby must pass through the mother's pelvis.
^ Sacrum. The sacrum is a V-shaped bone that is actually several vertebrae fused together as a person reaches adulthood. This bone attaches the spinal column to the pelvis bones.
^ Femur. The femur is the large bone that runs from the hip to the knee. It would be the largest bone in the body except that there are two of them, and since they are usually the same size, they both share that honor. The femurs are the largest, longest, and strongest bones in the body. They support the massive thigh muscles and are mostly surrounded by those muscles so that the bone is not very close to the surface, except near the knee and around the hip.
^ Patella. The patella is the small bone that fits over the knee and is sometimes called the kneecap. It protects the knee joint and strengthens the tendons of that area. It is very near the surface and is quite distinctive in the leg.
^ Tibia. The tibia is the bone that connects the knee to the foot and is the larger of the two lower-leg bones. It is sometimes referred to as the shinbone. It is near the surface on the front of the leg, and its curve is very evident when you are viewing the leg from the front.
^ Fibula. The fibula is the smaller of the two lower-leg bones and is primarily used for muscle support in that area. It is located on the outside of the body and is mostly covered with muscle, so it is less evident than the tibia.
^ Foot bones. There are 26 bones in each foot from the ankle to the joints of the toes. The largest bone is the cal-caneus or heel bone. The tarsal bones form the ankle and are composed of seven separate bones. They are near the surface and protrude outward on either side of the leg, forming the knobs we call ankles. The inside knob is slightly higher than the outside knob. The bones of the foot are closer to the surface on the top of the foot and toes than on the bottom, which is covered by thick padding.
^ Humerus. The humerus is the largest and strongest of the arm bones and runs from the shoulder to the elbow. It connects to the scapula at the shoulder and the ulna and radius at the elbow. It is covered by muscles and only nears the surface at the elbow, where it protects the ulnar nerve. Sometimes when the elbow is struck the ulnar nerve causes a tingling sensation, leading the humerus to sometimes be called the funny bone.
^ Ulna. The ulna is the longer of the two lower-arm bones and is more firmly connected to the humerus near the back of the elbow. The ulna is near the surface, and if you run your hand from the back of the elbow to your wrist, you can feel the hard surface of this bone.
^ Radius. The radius is also connected to the humerus, but not as firmly as the ulna. It is also more responsible for the movement of the wrist.
^ Hand bones. There are 27 bones in the hand and fingers, running from the wrist to the tips of the fingers. The underside of the hand is covered with padding and muscle tissue, and the bones are not as close to the surface as they are on the back of the hand, where they can be very distinctive.
Try to learn how these bones look and function even if you don't remember all their names. If you can make sketches of each individual bone, such as the humerus in Figure 3.2, you will gain a better understanding of how the bones affect the shape of the body
If you look closely at the skeleton, you will notice that there are no straight bones. Every bone is curved. In fact, every bone is made up of many curves. If you draw the bones of the body as straight, you will end up with a stiff, robotic-looking drawing. Your drawings will look better if you understand the direction of the curves of the bones and emphasize those curves in your figures.
Figure 3.3 shows the female skeleton. You can see from the skeleton that there are many differences between the male and female skeletons even though they are made up of the same number and types of bones.
In the female, the pelvis is more open and proportionally larger than in the male skeleton. The male ribcage is proportionally larger, giving the male skeleton wider shoulders and narrower hips. They also give the female figure wider hips, a higher waistline, and lower buttocks than the male.
In general, the female skeleton is smaller and more delicate than the male skeleton. The male skeleton is build for power and lifting. If you look at how the bones are built and the muscles, you will see that the male is more massive. The bones are thicker, and the muscle groups are bulkier. On the female the bones are smaller and more slender. The muscles are less bulky, almost strap-like, except for the area around the hip and thigh, where the female tends to be more bulky than the male does.
A good example of how the two skeletons differ is in the elbow joint. The male elbow is a fairly direct joint, whereas the female joint tends to have the lower arm flare out. Take a look at your own arm. Hold it out with the palm facing up. If you are male, the arm should remain fairly direct. If you are female you will notice that the
arm curves at the joint, and the lower arm is attached at an angle. There is actually a good reason for this difference between the male and female forms. The male arm is built for power and lifting heavy objects, therefore it needs a more direct joint. The female arm is better suited to holding and carrying. A female can carry an infant longer without fatigue than a male can, based on the curvature of the arm.
An interesting side note to the differences in the arms between males and females is that the slight curve in the female arm tends to give the female form a greater sense of grace. This greater sense of grace is very evident in dance. If you notice the arm movements of accomplished dancers, the female can achieve a greater feeling of grace than the more directly jointed male. This subtle difference can have a huge impact on your figure drawings if you are aware of it.
Another aspect of the female form that tends to give it a greater feeling of grace and beauty is the angle of the legs. The female leg tends to be more oblique than the male because of her relatively wider hips. Some women are taught to accentuate this angle in charm school or training for fashion modeling by walking with their feet placed in a line directly in front of each other. Walking in this fashion tends to accentuate the curves of the hip and thigh.
In general, the female skeleton is relatively smaller in most of the joints, especially around the wrist and ankles. The hand and feet of the female figure are smaller and more delicate, and the feet are more arched. The neck is more slender, and the facial features are usually smaller and more delicate.
It is important that the artist realizes the many differences between the male and female skeletons. Although there are many similarities, the more you study the differences, the more you will realize that the male and female skeletons are very different. Learning the differences in addition to learning the component parts of the skeleton will help you to better express the male and female figures in your drawings.
There are more than 600 muscles in the body, and they fall into three groups—skeletal, smooth, and cardiac. The smooth and cardiac muscles deal primarily with internal organs and are not evident in surface anatomy. Skeletal muscles, on the other hand, make up a large portion of tissue that is next to the skin on an ideal figure, and they play a large part in how the human body looks and moves. Figure 3.4 shows the male figure with many of the important muscle groups shown.
Many of the skeletal muscles of the body are close to the surface and have dramatic influence on how a human form looks. There are also many muscles that are deeper in the body and have little direct visual impact on it. Memorizing all of the muscles might help the artist understand the body, but understanding the main muscles of the body is essential to good figure drawing.
The following is a list of the more important muscles and what they do.
Sternomastoids are the large muscles on the sides of the neck. They are attached to the skull on the top and the clavicle on the bottom. These proponent muscles help to give the neck its distinctive shape.
^ Trapezius. The trapezius muscles extend from the shoulder to the spinal column and from the bottom of the skull to about halfway down the back. They are triangular muscles used for raising and lowering the shoulders and also pulling the scapula closer together. In addition, the trapezius muscles contribute to the movement of the neck and head. They are mostly prominent as the large muscles on the back of the shoulder leading from the shoulder to the neck. When highly developed in the male figure, the muscles will have a pronounced bulge.
^ Deltoid. The deltoid muscle is one of the most prominent muscles in the body. It forms the outer part of the shoulders. It is attached to the clavicle in the front and the scapula in the back, and also the humerus in the arm. The deltoid muscle is a powerful muscle that is used to raise a person's arm. If you hold your hand over the deltoid and lift your arm in the air, you can feel the muscle contracting.
^ Pectoral. The pectoral muscles are the large, prominent muscles covering the upper ribcage. They form two bulky masses that are most prominent in the male figure. In the female figure, they are somewhat covered by the breasts. A common mistake of beginning figure artists is to focus on the breasts on a female figure and not recognize the underlying muscles beneath them. The pectoral muscles are the primary muscles for moving the arm forward. If you hold your arms straight out in front of you and press your hands together, you can feel the strain on your chest, and you can even see the pectoral muscles bunch.
^ Serratus anterior. The serratus anterior is a group of muscles along the outer ribcage that attach to the inside of the scapula. They help to rotate the scapula, and thus the arms, downward. They have a distinctive rib-like appearance in a lean person and are often mistaken for the rib bones themselves.
^ External oblique. The external oblique muscles form the fleshy muscles running from the lower ribcage to the upper pelvis on the sides of the torso. They are the muscles responsible for bending the torso from side to side.
^ Abdominal. The abdominal muscles are the muscles on the front of the body that attach the ribcage to the front of the pelvis. They are lumpy muscles that are most prominent in a lean, muscular figure. There are six muscles at the top of the abdomen, three on each side, which form what bodybuilders often call a six-pack. Don't make the mistake of drawing more muscles in the abdomen than are actually there.
^ Iliac crest. The iliac crest is not a muscle, but rather the bony area of the pelvis where it is close to the surface. The crest protrudes on a thin or elderly person and is a dimple on a heavy person.
^ Sartorius. The sartorius muscle is a long straplike muscle that extends from the outer pelvis to the inside of the leg, attaching to the upper tibia. It is an important muscle that gives the thigh its distinctive curvature. It is responsible for helping in the rotation of the upper leg.
^ Quadricep. The quadri-cep is made up of four major muscles on the front of the thigh. The vastus medialis is on the inside of the leg and bulges just above the knee. The vastus intermedialis is near the center of the leg. The vastus lateralis is on the outside of the leg and forms the outward bulge of the thigh as seen from the front view. The rectus femoris is the largest of the four muscles and covers much of the central part of the front of the thigh.
^ Gastrocnemius. The gastrocnemius, also known as the calf muscle, is the large fleshy muscle on the back of the lower leg. It is muscle we use when we stand on our toes. It pulls the heel up and the foot down.
^ Tibialis. The tibialis is on the front of the lower leg and is much smaller than the calf muscle on the back. It is used to pull the heel down and the foot up.
^ Bicep. As the name suggests, the bicep is actually two muscles that are used to pull the lower arm up. This is the muscle that is often most associated with a strong, muscular person. Bodybuilders will often flex this muscle to show their arm development. It is one of the most prominent and recognized muscles on the body.
^ Tricep. The tricep is three muscles on the back of the arm that pull the lower arm counter to the bicep. They form the massy bulge on the upper part of the back of the arm below the deltoid.
^ Brachioradialis. The brachioradialis is just one of the many muscles of the forearms. It is prominent in that it forms a bulge on the outer part of the arm running from between the tricep and bicep and around to the wrist. It is one of the longer forearm muscles.
^ Flexor carpi radialis.
On the opposite side of the forearm from the brachioradialis is the flexor carpi radialis. This muscle forms the distinctive bulge on the underside of the arm.
Figure 3.5 shows some of the major muscle groups from the back.
Some muscle groups that are better seen in the back view of the figure are as follows:
^ Latissimus dorsi. The latissimus dorsi is the largest muscle in the body and gives the back the familiar V shape. They are sometimes referred to as lats for short. They extend from the shoulder to the small of the back and are used to pull the scapula together and the arms back. You use your latissimus dorsi muscles when you do a rowing motion. They attach to the spinal column and form the double ridge of the back on either side of the spine.
^ Lumbodorsal fascia.
The lumbodorsal fascia are the massive muscles located in the lower back area. They continue the double ridge of the spine down to near the pelvis. They are the muscles used for bending the torso back and lifting.
^ Gluteus medius. The bulging muscles of the buttocks are formed on the top by the gluteus medius. These muscles are involved in lifting because they pull the pelvis back in relation to the thigh. They are also used to pull the leg back when walking or running.
^ Gluteus maximus. The lower, bulkier part of the buttocks is made of the gluteus maximus muscles. These powerful muscles work in the same way as the gluteus medius muscles in that they pull the leg back in relation to the pelvis. If you hold your hand over the muscle while standing up, you can feel the muscle flex. These muscles are very pronounced and distinctive on the human figure.
^ Biceps femoris. Like the bicep in your arm, there is also a bicep in your leg called the biceps femoris muscle. These muscles work to bend the leg at the knee similar to the bicep in the arm. They attach to the lower pelvis and the upper fibula and by ligaments to the tibia.
^ Achilles tendon. The
Achilles tendon is not a muscle, but rather a tendon. It attaches the gastrocnemius, or calf muscle, to the heel. The Achilles tendon is the most pronounced tendon in the body and serves a very important function. Without them, it would be impossible to stand or walk.
Figure 3.6 shows the female figure with her muscles labeled.
As you can see from the labels, all of the muscles of the male figure are also present in the female figure. However, the size and bulk of the female muscles are very different from the male's. In almost every case, except for the hip and thigh, the male muscles are more massive and defined.
The female figure naturally has a little more fatty tissue than the male figure. This fatty tissue tends to smooth out some of the muscle definition, causing the female form to look smoother than the male figure.
The female breast is one of the most distinguishing aspects of the female figure. The breasts are made up of fatty material and are not muscles. Because of this, the breasts tend to change shape as the figure moves to different positions.
From the back the female figure has a distinctive hourglass shape. The more slender the person, the more pronounced the hourglass shape of the figure. Because this shape is considered beautiful by many, women often go to great lengths to maintain a slender figure.
I hope that this explanation of the muscles is helpful in your study of anatomy. As you become more familiar with muscles, you will learn how they react to each other to create motion. You should study how the muscle looks when it is relaxed and how it looks when it is flexed.
Some muscles rotate, such as in the lower arms and legs. These muscles can look very different depending on the extent of the rotation. Take, for example, the forearm. Look at your forearm relaxed. Now rotate the arm to the left without turning the upper arm. See how the muscles change? Now try rotating the arm to the right. Look at the differences in the muscles.
It is insufficient to study the muscles by themselves. The figure artist must also understand how the muscles work together to move the body. Some muscles flex to move the body one way, and others flex to move the body another. You need to understand which muscles do what.
Another element of the human form is that there is a great deal of difference in the figure depending on how much fat the person is carrying on their body. Fat tends to obscure the muscles and bony areas of the body because it often forms a layer between the skin and the muscles. Placement of fat differs greatly in individuals as well. Some people will carry fat high, forming large bellies, while others will carry it low, forming large hips.
Using Figure Artist
Figure Artist contains virtual figure models that are as anatomically correct as possible for the type of models that they are. When they move, they closely approximate the movement of an actual person's anatomy. Although they are not perfect and there are situations in which the model does not follow the figure completely, the models do serve as useful tools for studying human anatomy. Figure Artist should not replace the study of bones and tissue from live models, but it can be a great tool for learning and understanding the different bones and muscles of the body.
If you are interested in deeper study of the human form, I suggest that in conjunction with Figure Artist, you pick up some good books on artistic anatomy and use the knowledge you gain from these sources in some live drawing sessions where you can see the real figure.
Because the human body is very complex, anatomy is not a simple subject, and it takes some time to learn all of the different aspects of the human form. Don't feel that you need to learn it all at once. It is better learned through practice. Study an aspect of anatomy for a while, and then practice drawing it. Drawing is the best way for an artist to learn the human form.
In this chapter you covered many important aspects of human anatomy. This book is not intended to be an anatomy book, so the information here should just get you started on your way to understanding this fascinating aspect of figure drawing. In the next chapter, we will cover some of the more difficult aspects of drawing the figure, such as drawing hands, feet, and facial features.
Hands, Feet, and Head
Some areas of the figure are complex enough to warrant special attention by the figure artist because they are more difficult to draw than the rest of the figure. These areas are the head, hands, and feet, and they merit special attention from the artist who really wants to master figure drawing. In this chapter we will take a closer look at each of these aspects of the figure.
The human hand is probably the most versatile tool ever created. It is capable of great strength, yet it can perform the most delicate operations. Its design allows people to lift, hold, mold, rip, manipulate, caress, build, squeeze, sense, and rearrange objects of all types. It can be used as a weapon or to give comfort. We use our hands to greet others and even to communicate. The hand is the very definition of the all-around instrument. With all that our hands can do, is it any wonder that it is one of the more complex parts of the body to draw?
There is no quick and easy formula for drawing hands. To draw the hands well, the artist must know the hands. He must take time to study and understand how the hand works so that his drawings become more believable. Often the beginning artist will be intimidated by the complexity of the hand and will avoid drawing it by hiding it in a pocket or placing it behind the figure. Many otherwise good figure drawings will omit the hands, or they will just indicate the hands without any real attempt to draw them correctly.
Part of the frustration that artists have in drawing the hand is that it is the most flexible part of the body. It can assume almost infinite positions. It is full of moving parts. There are four fingers and a thumb, each jointed with no less than three joints. The fingers and thumb are each capable of independent movement. Because of this extreme flexibility, there is not one view of the hand that is adequate for learning to draw it. It has to be studied from many angles and in many positions for the artist to truly understand its overall nature.
Our hands are made up of 27 bones that can be split into three groups. The bones of the wrist are called the carpals. They are small bones that work together to give the wrist its flexibility. The wrist itself is composed of eight separate bones to allow for extreme movement of the hand.
The wrist can move in almost any direction in a half circle around the end of the forearm. Unlike the shoulder and the hips, which use a single joint between two bones, the joints of the wrist and the foot use several bones. The bones of the wrist and ankle are different in that they need to be flexible yet sustain prolonged pressure. The ankle, for example, must remain locked in place for extended periods while a person is standing. The wrist must lock in place when a person is pushing with the hand. The many bones that make up the wrist and ankle are designed to withstand extended pressure while remaining flexible when needed. Figure 4.1 shows the bones of the hand.
The metacarpal bones run through the palms of our hands. They are longer and narrower than the carpals and reach to the first knuckles of the fingers and thumb. The metacarpal bones are evident on the back of the hand in adults and elderly people, but are covered by a thin layer of fat in babies and children.
If you flex and release your hand you will see that the metacarpals have quite a range of movement, allowing for the hollow part of the hand to conform to almost any object that you might want to pick up. Unlike the other joints of the fingers that only bend in one direction, they can move in multiple directions.
The bones in the fingers and thumb are called phalanges. These bones are on the back of the fingers. The joints of the phalanges only move in one direction, and their range of motion is limited to the palm side.
The bones of the hand are controlled by a number of ligaments that run across the back of the hand for opening the hand and through the palm for closing the hand. Many of the muscles that control the movement of the hand are located in the forearms, not in the hands themselves. The powerful muscles of the arm give the hand such incredible strength without the size associated with the muscles needed for that strength. Because of this, the hand itself can be very small, yet still have a strong grip that is capable of holding the entire weight of the body.
The palm of the hand is hollow with an indentation between the joints of the fingers and the large muscle of the thumb. This design facilitates the operations of grasping and holding objects.
The back of the hand in an adult has much less padding than the palm, so the ligaments, bones, and blood vessels are more evident. Whereas the palm is somewhat standard in its look from hand to hand, the back of the hand can have a big range in how it looks due in large part to the veins that crisscross it. The veins of the back of the hand are unique to the individual in much the same way that individual fingerprints are unique.
One of the best sources for drawing hands is to draw your own hand. You can also try drawing your friends' hands. Figure 4.2 shows several hands drawn from different angles. Try drawing lots of hands until you start to feel comfortable with the subject. Think of the fingers and thumb as tubes connected by hinges. This should help you to better visualize the hand in three dimensions.
To better understand the hand, let's take a look at how it works. The hand has two sides—the palm, or grasping side, and the back, or non-grasping side. Figure 4.3 shows the palm of the hand.
The palm is characterized by being a concave surface surrounded by muscle tissue, the largest of which is the muscle that controls the movement of the thumb. The fingers are attached at the end of the palm, and the thumb is attached to the side. Tendons that extend through the palm to the muscles of the forearm control the movement of the fingers. If you look carefully at the underside of your wrist while making a fist, you can see the movement of these tendons.
The back of the hand is shown in Figure 4.4. This part of the hand is characterized by knuckles, tendons, and veins, giving it a sometimes rough appearance.
Figure 4.3 The palm is the grasping side of the hand. Figure 4.4 You can see the tendons on the back of the hand.
Figure 4.3 The palm is the grasping side of the hand. Figure 4.4 You can see the tendons on the back of the hand.
The knuckles of the hand follow consecutive arcs that become more and more pronounced from the base of the hand outward, as shown in Figure 4.5.
Notice that the second knuckle of the thumb is along the arc of the first knuckles of the fingers. When constructing the hand, it is often useful to draw in the arcs before you rough in the fingers. This will help to keep your hand unified and the proportions right.
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