Sunday, September 16, 2012

Drawing anatomy

Tackling an issue which you had for ages makes you so eager to see what the h*ll you were so "afraid" of before... why didn`t you try it before. These kind of thoughts were swirling inside my head just before digging myself into drawing lessons.

The lessons I`ve chosen to watch have a very good system when it comes to explaining the absolute basics of human anatomy. It is also very technical at the beginning, meaning that I`ve used formulas for everything the skeletal system is composed off. I`ve heard people saying over and over again that you need to have a loose, free approach to drawing and draw what you feel and see, but when you start at, I`ve found that technical approaches for me are better. As you progress along, these formulas will become second nature and you will realize that you didn`t even have to measure and what not, because it all comes naturally now. I`ve started understanding the fundamental rules of the proportions. I started understanding the certain areas I can experiment with, but at the same time always obey 1-2 rules so that everything looks believable.

The lessons started out with teaching me the 8-head standard formula for the human body. It went on explaining the main areas of the body and how to determine key areas like top of the skull, bottom of chin, bottom of peck muscles, naval area, crotch, knee etc. even before you actually start drawing the figure. These helpful guidelines helped me always to maintain the correct proportions of the figure. At this stage I have only used simple shapes illustrating where the rib cage will be, the pelvis, skull, legs etc.

After this I`ve moved on to investigate different parts of the body. The first element was the skull. I didn`t care how hard it was going to be, I was sure with practice and commitment I will be able to learn to draw a correct skull, but it turned out easier than expected... at least a very basic version of a skull.
The help that these formulas provide when you are at the start is amazing.. at least for me. I spent quite a lot of time before looking at people's faces, human skulls on the internet etc. but I had no system whatsoever to help me always achieve the correct proportions, planes etc.

Drawing out the skull from the front, side, back and then going ahead attempting a perspective version was quite a challenge, but it did not take a lot of time until I`ve started getting decent drawings. Thing is when you understand these basics, even if you can`t produce amazing things on a sheet of paper, inside a 3D application there is so much room for experimenting. You understand the proportions so everything will be in place and then you can mess around with the small details here and there and continue learning in your 3D package. At least this has worked out pretty good for me (stay tuned for that :) ) .

Learning the important basics of each part of the skeletal system in the end payed off, because everything started to fit together. I knew where the spine would attach to the skull, how it curved down and finally ended in the sacrum. I understood where the pelvis takes up its roll and how the legs attach to it, so the figure can stand on its legs. Examining the scapula allowed be to get a better understanding of how the back deforms because of it and also how the shoulder is built up. I had some major proportional problems around the shoulder areas before in 3D, but that is starting to go away.
Right now I have finished exploring the skeletal system.

My current goal is to go ahead and model the whole thing inside ZBrush. Now, this is going to be one heck of a challenge as it's one thing to draw something and then another to sculpt it in full perspective. This is the next stage of furthering my understanding of the skeleton and the human body in general.

Finding good reference is going to be key, because I need to see each and every bone from pretty much all the angles possible. A lot of times even those small bumps and surface details make you understand how everything works and attaches to each other.

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