If you're going to draw realistic figures then it can be useful to know what lies beneath the skin. It can be time consuming learning Anatomy (with Physiology perhaps) indepth. Sometimes just a little understanding goes a long way. Twenty years ago I studied short courses in both Human Anatomy and Physiology to support a course in Aromatherapy - helps to know where the muscles are and what happens to them when you work with them - and some of that knowledge has stuck with me. However I'm am not an expert by any means and am currently striving to improve my figure drawing.
At art classes in school and in the life room at art college I did a lot of figure study but it's a thing that needs constant usage and over time I've gotten slightly out of practice.
When I create a doodle styled drawing that is freehand, without planning or pencil sketch, the figures are not perfect and the emotion or concept of the art is more important than accurate anatomy. When I create a more planned piece the figure is more accurate. Check out blogpost Updating old work.
from '101 Top Tips for Fantasy Painters' by Kevin Crossley
check out blogpost 'review: Art Book'
You can source tips and tricks of drawing anatomy in books, in blogs or in videos. I like a mixture of sources, looking at simplified breakdowns of the bone and muscle structure, copying from art and watching how other artists draw figures.
Plus I get out my mobile and snap a picture of my own head/hand/foot if stuck and draw from that. The hands of 'Mother of Butterflies' were drawn from photos of my hands.
A fun tool to use is a wooden movable mannequin although details of fingers, toes and muscle curves aren't indicated - it is a help if you already have a level of anatomical knowledge in your head or want a certain pose and then source anatomical details.
A resource available online to purchase and download is the Anatomy Reference Pack from Jazza's Studios - Jazza also has a few YouTube channels which are worth a watch. I've bought the ref pack and refer to it whenever I need to source a full figure to draw from. The photographs are clear plus each stance is photographed from different angles, some holding swords or pikes.
However the best anatomy resource I've found are the free downloadable charts from Sycra on YouTube with videos to follow. This artist studied Anatomy in order to understand the cause and effect of every movement from bone and muscle, sinew and tendon. He admits it took him a long time and to make things easier for other artists came up with the stylized charts. While they are not entirely accurate anatomically they show where and how to draw curves and planes on the human body plus they help the artist understand the relation of each body part to another. A great resource from a very sharing artist.
I hope the information in this blogpost is of use to you. There are other websites and videos linked below, some are filled with more information than others. I think you've just got to pick up a pencil and draw not worrying about perfection. But the use of anatomy resources with a little practice can only improve your quality of figure drawing.
Copyright © 2016 by Roisin O'Hagan/bloowabbit
All rights reserved. The artworks/illustrations or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the artist except for specific permission granted with a free downloadable.