- Lesson Details
In this video lesson series, expert animal draftsman and painter, Joe Weatherly, breaks down the complex subject of animal anatomy using clear and easy to understand concepts. In this video lesson, Joe explains the critical muscles and bones to analyze when dealing with animal anatomy and explains their relative importance. Joe will draw a horse, starting with the basic forms and skeleton working from the skeleton outwards.
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Joe Weatherly breaks down the complex subject of animal
anatomy using clear and easy to understand concepts. You will
learn how to tackle a wide range of animal types and you
will gain a methodology for quickly drawing any new animal
with confidence and force. In this video lesson,, Joe
does a step-by-step drawing to demonstrate a bovine
construction. Joe analyzes the muscles of the head for a
herbivore versus a carnivore. Starting with each muscle he
compares and contrasts the differences between each which
form the basis for drawing different animals.
Now we're talking about bovine we're talking about
basically any type of cattle or well bovine extends well into
the antelope family as well in Africa, but most of the bovines,
the samples that I'm dealing with are basically cows or
steers, cattle, that sort of thing. And cattle show very
prominent anatomical structure. The muscle, especially the
skeleton, pops in the form of cows. They're almost like a
walking anatomical diagram. So you have an animal that's very
massive, but yet very bony at the same time. So they're
really quite the perfect animal or group of animals to study
skeleton and muscles on because of these regions. So
some of the things you got to look out for when you're
dealing with the bovine, in this particular case we're drawing
you know, they have very not only clear constructive points
but and these vary between the breeds, but they also have
large ears, broad head and their neck's carried low. So they seem
to have more of
a neck that's carried horizontally
and they rarely, you know, carry their head high except
for maybe in moments of expression or something. So
unlike the horse that has more of a upright neck and head,
the cattle or the bovines are going to have
something that's definitely carried low, more horizontal.
Okay, and another big difference is that they are
cloven-hoofed, which means two toes
instead of one. Which you know, the hoof of an equine form has the
middle finger left in it. So
cows have two.
So anyways different different kinds of bovines, like I said
beef cattle tend to be bulky and massive as opposed to dairy
cattle, which are more lean angular.
All right. So what I've done was laying the action three quarter front
view got my leg positions and within the action I've measured,
so to speak, for
the proportions. So this basic skeleton is giving me that and
now I'm kind of doing the next step, which is to add volumes to
it, hang the volumes on top of the gesture line so to speak.
All right. Now in the head, the large planes come before the
details, remember that.
So the details no matter how interesting they are, are
subordinate to the larger planes.
Those horns grow out of a bony ridge at the top of the skull.
All right. Now, see notice how the eyes - I've drawn the socket
first, now I'm going in and cutting out the shape of the
eye itself adding I guess you could say the orbicularis oris
shape, which is the eyelids and the muscle around and above the
Keep in mind that the
muzzle area is much larger on a cow and definitely more
squarish and the upper lips hang down to the sides, more so
than a horse.
And as I'm drawing that, I'm thinking about the front, the
top, the sides, and carving the nostrils out of that shape. Very
different nose, must firmer, almost more like a deer as
opposed to a horse. And then I'm putting a little expression
here, dropping the mouth down just a little bit
below that box like nose.
And then more of a squarish jaw than the horse, which is more
Okay, so as I pull my way back into the rest of the body, I'm
thinking of a modified cylinder for the neck and that leads us
into the shoulder mass.
This is more of a squared off tombstone shape.
Little bit broader at the base, little more narrow at the top
because remember the scapulas on animals are kind of has on animals are kind of
going in at an angle.
Against the sides of the rib cage. So that's been laid in,
now I can come back and think about that straighter line for
the spine back here and work my way down to the box light
shape of the pelvis which is tipping back.
Lay in the volume for right above the hoof.
And you know, this is again the time when we go in to lightly
add this construction and then we can refine it later with
more direct considerations and darker lines, fatter tones, that
sort of thing. Right now it's a matter of we've got the
proportions, we got the pose the way we want it, and we're
fleshing - we're starting to flesh things out.
But you don't want to go in with too much detail, not just
This leg is the three quarter front leg. It's always a challenge to
So that strong line of action that's in there
is important how it sort of bows off to the side a little
zoom in a little bit here and take a quick look at the
shapes that make up the face.
Again, we have the very strong, kite like plate
consisting of the frontal
mass. And I'm coming in now in front of the eye and saying
okay, this plane is turning away from the top and it's more
of a side cut. The eye sockets are going to be the whitest
part of the head on a bovine.
It's good to put some - if you want to get a little character in
there you can add some lashes. This is a construction drawing
but it always helps to give it organic touches. So eyelashes
make it look very bovine. I would say the same thing for
when you're drawing a giraffe or a camel very long eyelashes,
but they have to go into the construction. They can't be
flat. So adding little tufts of hair above the the horn mass.
This is what we call making things organic. So we're
actually taking an analyzing the form now.
You know when you're doing this sort of thing it always helps to have
a general idea of where the light is coming from,
in this case just typically above.
And when you look at the animals from life on a
sunny day, usually the sun is above more off to the side just
a little bit so you start to see these things.
And it really helps to reveal the the form of the subject
when you can have some simple lighting going on.
Okay, there's an indication there for the zygomatic arch.
So the ear is very massive. It's basically below the horn
mass and it has to really have a nice cylindrical base.
Like most of the other animals we've been talking about.
Can't be flat, has to fit in there, open up and come back
around into the base.
Okay, so we refine the head, made a pretty solid
Give it a little bit of tone.
And now I'm going to work down into
refining a little bit of the, well there's skinfold working
on there underneath the neck.
Okay, so here
basically what's happening is we are redefining
the area where the humerus hits the point of the shoulder.
the skeleton. So we get an idea of where things are inside the
body. We get a spine fairly straight along the back. See how
cervical vertebra is buried inside the body like that,
inside the neck so
it's not as close to the top as you might think it would be.
Thinking all the way through now working on what on a cow
that area is called the brisket, but what's underneath
it is the sternum, the sternum of the rib cage.
All right now the pelvis,
again the hips
have bones that are very prominent in the hindquarters.
Okay, so I'm gesturing in some of the thoracic and lumbar
Okay shoulder blade.
It's the side of that tombstone shape.
And where it stops it's called - and meets the humerus - is called
the point of the shoulder has an important junction remember
that the upper arm bone, the humerus is short and it's
curved and it's fitted inside the upper body.
Moving our way down into the fused radius and ulna. Ulna
being the elbow.
And down into the leg joints, which are similar to a horse
that is the carpel mass,
and into the cloven hoof.
Same thing on the other side obviously
in perspective slightly smaller
and very simplified.
Okay, that bone is facing us. That's the patella.
the knee cap so the knee cap buried up in the upper part of
Keep in mind the spine, like I said before, is a very
cylindrical, is like a chain of vertebrae that go from the back
of the head all the way to the back end of the tail. So
this movable mass, this life force that we have buried
inside the body is very
tube like. So even from a side view you want to - you want to
realize that so you don't make it flat.
All right. Now the backside of this shape is going to contain
a shape for the triceps. That's what I've indicated a right
above the ulna right here.
Triceps aren't as massive as they are on a horse.
Animal just like this it stands around eating grass all day, doesn't
need a large tricep.
And getting some push there in the front of the forearms
into the more angular shape of the wrist.
Again forearm more curved in the front, more straight in the back,
that pushes out as the pisiform bone of the wrist.
And it gets very bony right here. Basically just tendon and
bone, no muscle left beyond the wrist.
Okay, so there's going to be some angles here with the
So I've gone in and done a slight ellipse to fit in the
top of the forearm into that junction right there below the
So that's one way of looking at it. If you don't understand the
arm joints right away, you can just put ellipse on the
underside of the tombstone next to the sternum, one on each side
of the sternum, and that should get you or your forearm starts
to take and move away from the body.
Okay. Now the pelvis that main
ridge at the top is the iliac crest.
And the front of that there's going to be some quadricep
muscles which we will get to later in the anatomical stuff.
But this, think about this as the front of the thigh is the
quadricep mass so there's going to be a shape there
similar to a human leg as it goes into the knee cap.
Then below that,
that's the calf. So we're basically drawing the tibia
shape along with little bit of the gastrocnemius muscle.
And then we continue upwards to complete this towards the
So what you got to think about is this is a three quarter front view. So
we're taking a side view of a cow and foreshortening that box
to make that leg look the way it did.
So these things are facing us more, this is -
looks very different from the side. But from the front or three quarter
front it has to take on this tapered look right here where
the calves taper into the ankle mass. And then the ankle mass
tapers back out into the foot mass or the metacarpals.
Okay, there's the utters and some transitional shapes into
So what we have here is two bones coming together and this
is creating this boxy area.
And this is what is meant by learning the bony landmarks
well, you can - if this stuff does doesn't ring true in your
drawing your animals start to take and look stuffed or just
fake. So you want to get these these bony wrists and know why
they're that way.
Okay that hoof is facing us so as to be drawn according to the
This half is twisted out slightly and it's more or less
an inside shot of the leg. So it's drawn differently, but
they are lined up on the same plane.
Sweeping action right there.
Okay, so as you can see by looking at it, we've drawn
through the entire time and this is how you get the
structure. You want to think about the drawing as being
more or less
like architecture, we've built the structure, the structural
foundation, and then we've added through and through on top of
it. The shading now I'll do in some quick tone on this drawing.
now I know where to put it because I know where the
corners of the form are. I know where the planes change in a
big simplified way
and I can treat this
so that the core shadows and some of the other half tones
are darkened according to the plane changes of the big
So in other words, you got to understand construction.
Construction is very important.
Now we made a drawing that we can turn, we can move, we can
make it come towards us, go away from us. It's not relying
on only the knowledge of a photograph or just a simple
side view because we've drawn basic geometric shapes and
three-dimensional volumes to build it. Okay, very straight
there across the back.
Head's carried very straight and low.
Bones in the pelvis are sticking up.
Tail's a continuation of the spine that flows over the
sacrum and comes back down.
of the head of one
herbivore and one carnivore. We'll do the horse and the lion and I'll
lay in the skull first because that is important to have for
the knowledge of the origin and insertion point. So every
muscle consists of bundles of fluffy fibers, which contract
under the influence of the motor nerves. The more stable
attachment of a muscle is called its origin and the more
movable one the insertion. So, you know, the - basically muscles
are the fleshy part of the body and
when they contract that gives the power to move the bones. So
there's also tendons and things, fascia aponeurosis that go on
and with muscles, but what we're doing here is trying to
simplify things, try to go as superficial as we can and
you know, see this as really going to help the artist
as a living breathing thing, not as, you know, a dead animal or a
cadaver, so whenever you're doing this stuff with muscles
you always got to think about seeing the muscles as being full of
fluids and full of life.
Okay, so there is your basic side view simplified skull,
little bit of neck to go with it.
we'll take it from the top here with you know, some of the
bigger considerations on this animal.
So I guess we'll start with the biggest, the masseter muscle. So
the masseter muscle
is basically the muscle that sits on top of the cheekbone or
the lower jaw I should say. So the origin of the
masseter is the lower edge of the zygomatic arch. So
underneath the zygomatic arch
it starts to originate. It inserts along the edge
of the upright portion of the lower jaw on a horse.
on a carnivore, and especially on a cat or a dog, that muscle
wraps past the edge of the jaw but on a horse simply it and on a horse is simply it
doesn't even come quite to the edge.
Okay action of this muscle is basically for closing the mouth,
Horses can pull their jaw a little bit sideways too with
So it's really strong and flattened in the horse and much
more bulging in the dog and the feline.
Now as I render this stuff, I'm always trying to make these
small strokes go in the same direction as the muscle fibers
or the direction of the form, which is usually the same thing.
Whatever suits me the best. Sometimes I'll cross hatch in
different ways, but I want this to look like
a simplified muscle and I want you to see this as a visual 2D
shape as well as a three-dimensional component
that goes on top of the skeleton.
Okay. So again that shape is taking up the whole disc like
area of the lower jaw
and defining the zygomatic arch.
Very important landmark there.
Okay, let's go up to the top here. This is called the
temporalis muscle and it's sitting
on top of that brain case. So the upper portion, upper rear
part of the skull is where it goes for an origin.
Wraps around the roundness of the brain case.
And this muscle actually inserts, can't really see it
from here because I drew the masseter, but it inserts
top of the upward projection of the lower jaw. So this muscle
is inserting on to the jaw and the action is to close the
mouth and also for biting and chewing, lifting the lower jaw,
pulling it back. So you can see that there's a reason why it is
attached to the jaw. So yeah kind of weird the muscle on
top of the head is attached to the jaw.
So a top view, both sides of this muscle meet at a
mid line towards the back of the head.
Anyways it fills in that gap there, that cavity very nicely
above the zygomatic arch.
For you to find the ear. So the ear obviously goes in front of
Remember those ears have to open up correctly. They can't
Right now working our way with a smaller muscle here
above the eye socket.
Okay, so these names, you know, if you don't get them the first
time that's okay. You could probably understand it better
if you look at the book. But that is the levator anguli
oculi medialis. That's a mouthful.
Its origin is the upper surface of the skull above the eye.
the top of the eye region
and emerges into the orbicularis
oculi, which we'll draw in a minute.
That muscle I just laid in is the
levator nasolabialis as and that's a two-part muscle we'll
get to that in a minute. Okay. So for the orbicularis oculi,
this is a two-part muscle.
It's got two - its attaches
via a short ligament at the inner corner of the eye.
And it's really - it's the eye lid so it has two
two portions. The eyelid portion, which I'm not drawing
because the eye's open here. So if the eye was shut there
would be a muscle over that, that's your eyelid, and then the
area, the outer portion which surrounds the eye, which is
mostly what I'm drawing here.
And of course the action is to close the eyelids, blinking.
Tightens the skin around the eye, protecting the eyeball, that
sort of thing.
And remember underneath that is the masseteric ridge and that's
a really important bone
of the skull. It's an important landmark when you're draw the
external surface of the head.
Okay, this muscle is
called the caninus that I'm drawing here.
Also known as the dilator naris lateralis the
muscle kind of goes -
well, it's right behind the nose. So the insertion is the
side of the face
in front of the facial crest, so
that's the origin. Insertion is the side of the wing of the
nostril. That's basically right behind that black stroke I
just drew for the nostril, it's almost the edge of the
you know the action of this muscle
is pulling on the nostril, dilating the nostril.
It goes all the way to the side of the face almost there right
to the tip of the masseteric ridge.
Thin, flat, sort of triangular muscle.
Okay. Now I'm doing the other portion here of the levator
Origin, surface of the skull in front of the eye so
pretty much the top of the head in front of the eye.
insertion point on this one is the outer edge of the nostril.
And also the edge of the upper lips, there's the blue
portion you can see how it's sitting on top of the upper lip.
The red portion, which is the same muscle, is on the edge
of the nostril.
And action is to lift the upper lip and also to dilate the
muscle, which other muscles do as well.
So it has the forward and the rear portions.
With the caninus obviously passing right through them. So
that's why I drew it that way.
Okay, so the zygomaticus is,
as I said before in some of the construction demos is a
good muscle to know for the mouth actually.
Starting up there in the bony ridge there below the eye
zygomatic arch coming down and inserting into the
corner of the mouth and that's what makes it so important. It
creates these, you know, sort of these nodes our nodules at the
edge of the mouth that
directly influence the surface form.
So it merges with the fibers of the
lip muscles I'm drawing right now. And that is the
orbicularis oris. Obicularis oris basically originates on the
corner of the mouth
and its insertion is into the lips that surround the
What it does is it closes the mouth by pressing and
tightening the lips.
Okay, so the lips,
top and bottom,
one muscle, orbicularis oris.
Okay again just refining here.
Making the shapes as clear as possible.
What I'm shading in now is a muscle called the buccinator
muscle and takes up quite a bit of that space down there.
It's kind of an interesting muscle that originates from the
lower edge of the upper jaw between the canine teeth and the
molars and alongside the other teeth, sockets of the molars.
It's got an upper edge
and a lower edge.
So it flattens, you know, what it does is it compresses the
cheek, pushing the food against the molars things like that,
also pulls the corner of the mouth rearward or backward.
Okay that little purple muscle I just drew, depressor labii
mandibularis that is originating from the rear edge
of the tooth sockets of the molars. See some of the stuff
gets pretty deep and then inserts into the lower lip
Okay. Now this muscle
is the levator labii maxillaris. Solaris?
And it basically originates on the bone to the side of the
face in front of the eye.
And actually what it does and it's better to see from a top
view is it inserts on skin that's on the front of the
upper lip by a common tendon that attaches to - well in
between the nostrils. So from a side view you can't really
see that too much but it goes down into the lips.
But the bulk of it obviously in front of the eye right there
it's a muscle that lifts the front of the upper lip.
Anyways, I'm going to throw a few highlights on here just to
pop the form a little bit.
Okay, as I go here, I'm shading in some of the areas that were
white to make a little more graphic and pop out the muscles
that we talked about, individual muscles of the face and the
So you can really see how the skull still shines through
between all these muscles and especially in certain areas
like the zygomatic arch, occipital ridge, nasal bone.
Those areas are very very much landmarks. Okay, get an idea
there of how the spine backs into the axis and the atlas
bone there of the neck.
And always good to draw a little bit of neck with the
head I think. So it's not just floating there.
horse's head again.
Look at a couple things that are important here
as far as really big obvious shapes that we - that have
peculiarities. Now that jaw shape is very disc-like. So I
mentioned that before, that's something to look for as a key
muscle shape will be the masseter muscle and then that
area is very round. So you have a very ovoid shape, that's that soft
fleshy area of the buccinator
and then the,
you know, connecting shapes above it. So very box like, very
round at the base, base of the skull right there.
So look for these sort of things inside the muscles.
Okay now let's go for the comparison. We are going to
take a look at a skull of a carnivore, in this case a lion.
Right so as I'm laying it in I'm thinking about the
different shape here of a carnivore versus an herbivore.
You have a larger crest there at the back of the head for the
Different nose structure.
Mouth's going to be different. Yet we're going to notice that
a lot of these muscles are very similar.
All right this so up here at the top, we are back on the
which again originates in the upper rear part of the skull
and surrounds the brain case.
And the insertion which we won't see is going to be
top of the upward projection of the jaw, lower jaw.
And in the feline it continues all the way down to the front
edge of the jaw.
These small muscles very, you know, they're levator anguli
oculi medialis, but also you have the retractor anguli
oculi lateralis. That's another mouthful. Origin side of the
head to the rear of the eye, insertion corner of the eye.
Corner of the eye region.
This muscle that pulls the region of the outer corner of the eye
Not found on the horse or the ox, more of a carnivore thing.
Okay, we're going the eye muscle now, the orbicularis
Again, two portions. The eyelid portion which we don't see
because the eye's open and then the outer portion which is
surrounding the eye that lies in the skull.
Alright going over some of the ear now, different structure in
the ear, more rounded.
Really got to fill the elliptical base there as well,
that you're sitting on top of the skull. Draw through all the
Okay. So for the masseter now,
the carnivore has a much more bulging style of masseter and
it basically goes past the rear borders of the jaw somewhat, so
very strong muscle obviously for their eating habits.
So look at its shape and shape is more
offset and more rounded or ovoid. So that's the kind of
thing you want to look at when you're drawing a cat as opposed
to a horse.
Okay. So again refining back of the skull, occipital ridge.
Start to indicate the neck.
Okay, this is the lion's version of the levator nasolabialis.
So in the feline is going to - this muscle
divides into a wide front portion
and a narrower rear portion.
So that is - I'm indicating - is the septum area, the fleshy part
of the nose.
Just to realize where the skull, the nasal plane of the skull
stopped and the nasal bone and then it gets
more soft there.
Okay, very different nose structure than the horse.
More of the comma shaped cartilage or
the wings of the nostril.
Similar in dogs and cats although more angular on cats,
more rounded off in the canine family.
Okay, then there's - just refining these muscles.
Okay, there's the feline mouth and that mouth how it opens up
what's going around it is the
orbicularis oris just kind of hanging off to the side more
than the horse and then there's the zygomaticus. That's
going all the way up there into the
top of the occipital bone.
So this muscle's very long, strap like, narrow.
Larger in the feline than the dog.
Okay, so filling in the middle here
with the buccinator.
So already you can see a lot of the similarities between the
two. I tried using the same colors.
for the most part.
Didn't work with all the muscles, but
on the spot here with his small little color palette.
Alright, some directional lines going around the form.
Showing how that does sink in below the eye then pops out for
the mouth around the buccinator on a cat.
Some grey tone to mask off the areas that were not muscles.
And I'll finish off here with the simplified shape head for
So we can compare with the horse above to see the
different sort of chin that juts out, the squared off face.
Of course a round shape for the eye, always good.
And we cut into that to find the eye after we have the
circle laid in.
Okay. So here we see the difference between this size
and this shape of a masseter compared to the horse's.
And we still have the rounder area in front just like the
horse does but then it takes us into a different mouth shape,
Okay. So for muscles of the head we've gone over the horse,
the Lion, and the basic superficial muscles that
you would find and that are useful for artistic
and we've color coded him somewhat so.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview53sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Bovine Construction13m 43s
3. Bovine Construction Continued12m 40s
4. Horse Head Construction18m 58s
5. Herbivore and Carnivore comparison20m 19s