- Lesson details
In this lesson, you will learn the skeletal structure of the neck, clavicles and scapulae, and how they articulate to create the shoulder girdle.
Students are encouraged to work from the NMA reference images and 3D viewer included on this page*.
Join Ukrainian-born artist Iliya Mirochnik as he passes on a 250-year-old academic method preserved at the Repin Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia and seldom taught outside of the Academy and never before on camera.
The Russian Academic drawing and painting approaches were uninterrupted by the modern art movements that transformed representational art in the West, and as a result, they provide a unique and clear lineage to the greater art traditions of the past. As a powerful approach that is both constructive and depictive, it combines the two methods that prevail in contemporary representational art.
In these three drawing Courses, we have set out to condense the entire program, spanning over eight years into a logical, step-by-step procedure. We have made improvements and added resources and exercises to explicitly drive home the concepts that are required to work in this approach.
We have also structured the course so that it is not only useful for professional and experienced artists but also artists with no drawing experience whatsoever.
In the first part of our Russian Academic Drawing Course, Iliya taught you how to hone your fundamental drawing skills. In this next part, Head & Neck, you will undertake a new challenge: the portrait.
In order to draw the complexity of nature we need to study all the anatomy that makes up the surface form of the head and neck.
Head & Neck covers topics such as the structure of the skull, individual bones of the skull, deep muscles of the face, skeleton of the neck & shoulder girdle, muscles of the shoulder girdle, and the portrait drawing process.
The New Masters Academy Coaching Program directly supports this Course. If you enroll in the coaching program, you can request an artist trained in the Russian Academic Method including Iliya Mirochnik himself. Click here to enroll in the Coaching Program.
- Sanguine pencil
- Piece of sanguine colored chalk
- Vine charcoal
- Charcoal pencil
- Graphite pencils
- Kneaded and Hard Erasers
- Sanding Block
- Utility Knife
- Roll of Paper, Smooth Sketchbook paper
- Staple gun
- Artist panel
- Light source
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to the shoulder girdle.
are the sternum and its component
parts, the first rib, and the clavicles. And this is of course
an important element in portraiture, if you ever think of going past
the head and into the shoulders, but it's also an important structural element known as the
shoulder girdle, along with the scapula in the back.
The spine and the scapula connecting to the clavicles. So the idea here
is that the constructive element is very important.
So if you imagine, sort of, a standard clavicle,
it has sort of an
And this is a view that is the top
view and this we'll call the
And there is a particular angle
and so the sternum
is here and the other clavicle on the other
And what you need to do with the S curve is actually divide
it up into three
changes in plane. So it's not so much simply
an S curve, it is a plane that moves out,
and then out again.
So the end here is the
And the one here is the acromial end.
And it is called the acromial end because it connects to
a part known as the acromion, which comes off of
in the back and
we are going to talk about that when we're talking about the scapula.
So the other important elements
is that here
you have the sternum
or the top of it
known as the
if you translate, it means
the handle. And you'll see why in a moment
is that because the sternum kind of
looks like -
kind of looks like
because the sternum kind of looks like
This part, after
is known as the body but also known as the gladiolus,
which translates as sword.
And this part at the bottom,
which at times is
obvious, at other times isn't, sometimes
combines with the body and other times is sort of
on its own, you can see it here
sticking out, is known as the xiphoid process.
Now out of this area
on both sides of the manubrium, underneath the clavicle
the origin of
rib number one. And
the part that
connects here is the part of the rib that's
made of cartilage. Every rib
comes off of the sternum with
its cartilage and then becomes bone
and goes back and
connects to the eighth vertebrae.
the clavicle is actually touching
a bit of the cartilage of the
first rib. Now
in this area, at the
connecting point between the manubrium and the
body of the sternum, there's usually an
angle and it is known as the
sternal angle and is an important constructive element. So if looking
at the sternum in profile
is that angle between the manubrium
and the body. And it's a different angle for each
person so pay close
attention to that.
And at this point, you have the beginning of the cartilage
number two. Now
that's all we're going to talk about today
because those are the important
elements that are going to go into our
analysis and drawing of the clavicles
that we understand the
parts the go into the shoulder girdle, why don't we
work on something a little more completed.
So we're going to start this off
exactly the way
that we were
talking about except that here
we could sort of think of the
ellipse but already begin to give it
the shape of the first rib.
And so the alignments,
take the time in getting the
proper alignments here because they're going to make all the difference.
So in all
the elements here, it's extremely important to always think
across, this is the importance of having a center line, you're always thinking across it.
So every element has
from across the center line.
Now we can begin to
kind of to get a little more specific with
the first rib
and take it all the way around.
center line to get that sternal angle and place
at least the top part of the gladiolus.
the beginning of the cartilage of rib number two.
And also, every time that you see
a change in direction
make sure to align it with
the change of the direction of the rib opposite of it.
Here, without being
overly specific, let's
just establish our spine
And most importantly
let's begin to place the clavicles.
And see here
I'm not taking them across right away but I'm making
sure that I have all of the major
changes in its movement and then
before continuing onwards
you take them across.
So either you can do both of them at the same time
essentially or start out with
one of them
make sure to construct the one
opposite of it.
remember that as you get to the acromial end
the clavicle flattens,
while at the
sternal end it is
rounder. So the thing that we do need
to put here of course is, I would say, for the time being
we don't need any
specifics really but except for the
acromion at its attachment. And the acromion coming off of
the scapula in the back is right there.
And here, on the other side, it's much easier
to see the upper
corner of the scapula,
the coracoid process.
Why do I always mix this up?
I was right.
Alright I was right, yeah.
point where the humerus
to simplify it, attaches.
And of course the acromion on the other side
coming in from there.
So I don't think the
drawing needs to be
sort of completed to the extent that some of the ones that we have
I don't think that this
drawing needs to be completed to the same extent
as some of the previous ones were.
Mainly because the important
is that you
and get accustomed to these elements being as important
as they are. I
think most of the completion here is going
to appear when you're actually
working on clavicles from a live model.
So here I would
that we clean everything up
some elements of
with a little bit of a
tone and essentially
that it's clear that we're understanding what the form
I'm going to push that away a bit
because we still need to establish that some of
our elements in front, the clavicles,
the manubrium are of prime importance.
So if there are outlines, they're going to be
here, if there are half tones
they're also - they're going to be up closer, they're going to be right here.
Here, you know, it's not that obvious, we could place
a little bit of a cast - some sort of
an element that gives us a cast
the first rib from the clavicle.
And even here that highlight
important because you want that edge.
And now that we're arriving at the acromial
There's a roundness here that we want to capture because even though
you are cutting it up into different
sort of particular parts
what we said earlier about the
clavicle being an S curve
is still important so
when you're kind of moving the clavicle's
a bit more organic, the
curve of them is particularly important
in order to make that
And see and here
I have chosen
to spend my
kind of take it to a
level of completion when compared
to some of the other elements currently on the page.
But I would say that that's a good place to stop and move onto
the clavicle opposite from it.
where the sternal
notch is and here
it's in between the clavicles and here
we could begin to add a little bit of
information on the particular, sort of,
topography of the
And here is a place where
you can get rather
with its particular outlines and so on because the changes in
are rather important.
There's a long gap.
Alright so now that we're
I think that
we might need to
leave the manubrium alone for a moment and move on
to the other clavicle.
But not before making sure
the rib is in place.
Now the hard part here is that
in general, this clavicle, based on
things we've already established cannot really
The clavicle up here.
So I'm almost hesitant to
leave it a little more as outline
tone it rather evenly and establish the highlight.
Take it all the way to
its acromial end and just make sure that
there's - that you have your shadows.
But the ones
at that end don't need to be exaggerated.
You might simply keep them as outline
with a general
is where we need to emphasize
because this is the clavicle up close.
And in this case we could hint a little bit at rib number two
coming in around from the back there.
And what we need is to really, to get this
of the acromial
end of the clavicle and the acromion of the
So we're just gonna do a little bit
more on the clavicles
at the point that's once again closes to us.
Remember the zygomatic.
just a little bit more on the manubrium as well.
The idea here is that,
of course it's a
major advantage of having the bones in front of you, but the idea with the
clavicles is that
you're going to have to
understand and be able to draw the
construction of them
entirely from imagination.
And here, even for our sort of
purposes, I'm gonna add these
or putting on top of the
clavicle to give us a better understand of its
structure and its form.
And then if,
once placing them, you can use them to direct your half tones
just a bit more.
I see that that
what the form is over there
so we can use it to establish that edge
and the flatter part
And then I'm going to do
the exact same thing here
with the manubrium.
Establishing, essentially, every
change in plane
along, or rather across, the manubrium.
And it's important to make sure to get that edge,
the top edge of the sternal notch.
And I'm gonna be a little more specific
there and get a tone behind it,
just enough to make
the manubrium stand out a little bit more.
We want to accent that line
quite heavily as well as the sternal
And these kinds of accents
you also see like these kind of
heavy accents will come into play when we're working with
I'm gonna take a slightly harder pencil here
because I want
to give me the tone
the manubrium, but at the same time
not have the pencil soft enough that that hatch becomes
So when I'm trying to
I'm trying to make a
and I mean that here, when I'm talking to you,
but also in my, if I'm trying to make a point on
as in accent something that I find important,
then I often resort
to outline. Because I feel
there's a clarity with line
that can really draw the eye.
And then almost on top
of some of these tones
for our understanding
sense to put in some of these constructive, sort of clear
and to make sure to end the manubrium on
one side as well as the other.
complete the ribs a little bit,
establish where they are,
and let's move on to the scapula.
of the shoulder girdle.
For this purpose
we're going to concern ourselves with the scapula,
which is a
on the back.
And there are a number of elements there that are
And honestly, actually almost all of it,
almost every single part of it, plays a
role when you're working on a nude.
A nude model that is.
So here I have the triangular
shape of the bone itself
and now I'm drawing
this part of it that sticks out a bit. And we've seen it -
we've seen the end of this part,
the acromion, when working on
the clavicles. It's the part that comes into contact with
the clavicles right at the shoulder.
And this part that comes out
is known as the vine of the scapula.
parts that we need to concern ourselves
when talking about the shoulder girdle particularly,
are of course the spine.
The thing - however you do
have to be aware of the fact that you can see a lot
large amount of the
on a nude. And so
this entire edge right here, it's
medial border, and
medial essentially will mean inner,
this right here, the
this right here
parts, not the superior angle
as much but
are very obvious on a nude model.
So on the inside here, underneath the
the end of the spine of the scapula.
And acromion simply means shoulder.
see the accromial end
clavicle, underneath it
you have the glenoid fossa,
which is essentially the
part that connects with the head of
the humerus, the bone of the upper arm
above it, you
can't see it too well here, is the coracoid process
now we're not gonna concern ourselves
that much with all of this. Underneath
you have the
Now we're not gonna concern ourselves that much with these elements here
but keep in mind that they play an important role
in the attachment of the muscles of the upper arm. So, you're going
to encounter them again. So
here we have our
as an approach, why don't we
that will give us
what the topography
is at a given
and allow that to influence
how we place our half tones.
And I'm going straight for the half tones here because I'm more concerned
with the structural
elements of it than I am about the
conditions of the light and shadows. Even though I'm not ignoring them entirely.
I will place
some of these shadows. But we don't even have too many.
I'm doing them in a kind of - just a simple hatch
without too much differentiation
inside, simply to establish them as
shadows. And you can see that the topography is
rather complex and so I think I'm
feel like it's important to take
care of what we have here without
really spending too much time on it because that's not
our main concern. You do have to keep in mind
that for the most part the bone is flat.
With, as you see, a few
modulations in the form.
So I'm -
I feel the need to take care of this sooner,
while of course keeping in mind
that our main concern is the
spine of the scapula.
I'm just going to tone away the
make sure we have this
ridge right here.
And I feel that we can complete it simply by getting it into just a general
half tone and placing a highlight
at the outermost parts and innermost parts of that ridge.
now our attention
will go to the spine and the scapula. And so the closest element
to the acromion, that element of the shoulder,
that creates the shoulder -
and that's all it means in Greek is
that this is a shoulder.
And that's the part that I'm going to accentuate
and even kind of
for our purposes, place a cast shadow
And that's the core shadow.
and that's a terminator
with core shadow there
and cast shadow that falls
off of the spine onto
the scapula itself.
But then we're going to need this half tone
keep in mind that when you do encounter the scapula on the nude
model, it actually appears
you don't see too much of the superior angle
and the area that is above
So essentially the
parts of the scapula that you are going to see are
the medial border
but you perceive it as a triangle
that ends at the top
of the spine. And a lot like
the clavicles, the spine of the scapula
needs to appear even if its hidden.
So its important to have an idea of what it looks like
and often to just put it into the
almost entirely from imagination.
Though you will be able
to probably pick out at least a part of it.
Which could be enough
to complete it from imagination.
But see - but
back to some of the elements of drawing
contrast that we now have
on the spine
it sort of - it calls a little bit
for some added information
rest of the scapula.
So we're just going to extend some of these half tones
kind of a rough hatch.
reinforce some of these shadows again.
the chance to get a nice, sharp
outline in some
places on the most important elements.
There's a change in plane
around that area so if you look at
the scapula from the top view
simplified, this being the origin
like that is happening.
Those are the particular changes
so from here and here.
Some slightly sharper
outlines in some places
let's say. And
a little - and still just a little bit more specific.
This is another chance to get a highlight
describing the form
and then being a little bit more specific with the actual
like curvature of the spine.
And the half tones
along its upper edge.
And that's that inner
curvature that connects with the
clavicle, the acromial end of it.
This is the particular terminator that we
need. It's this closest edge to us.
It's a little bit more
information on top here.
And just to get
in there the
Once against we don't need too much of it.
And at the same time to just
slightly reduce the contrast on that side
even after having put them
And then reintroducing them lightly.
a quicker, sort of an anatomical study,
you don't - you still need to have
a proper hierarchy of elements.
In our case here, it's not the most complex hierarchy, it's
simply the element that's closest, gets the most attention and the most
contrast. But that is
not always the case, especially as
things get more complicated.
And now to use some of these cast shadows
again but to really allow them to
reinforce the form. So that is the part of the
cast shadow that falls
part underneath the
spine so we
that's something to use.
What's happening underneath it here can be
much softer, does not need to have such as sharp edge.
And now to get back to
some of this
Have to reestablish
some of our contours and shadows
of bottom on the lateral -
on the lateral border.
Just happens to be turned in such a way that that's the
All it simply is is the outside as opposed to
the medial border, the inside.
I am just trying to get
these terms in there
more and more and repeating them
so that you just become
more accustomed to them
because they keep appearing and reappearing, they are
the vocabulary of
And now we can get a little more
and just aim to kind of polish
this just a bit more.
We're not too
concerned about the attachment of the
right now in our discussion of the shoulder girdle
right now it's that question of
something look organic
but still structured.
And right now all I'm thinking about is
is that interplay between having a form
that's obvious and yet
not be a
kind of a simplified
version of a scapula
that can sort of apply to anyone
but to be the particular one I happen to be looking at.
Just gonna go around that
just a little bit more, making sure the outlines
are correct. Okay so it's
beginning to get a little more organic.
And then here
we would have
clavicle, from sort of a complex angle.
This would be the head of the humerus, the bone of the upper arm
ribcage underneath it. That's the
scapula in short and now
let's move onto the muscles that are found in between
the head and the shoulder girdle.
and parts of the bones discussed in this lesson. Then,
using the 3D viewer or the provided photographs, draw
highly rendered drawings of the manubrium of the sternum,
the clavicles, and the scapulas. Then
draw the entire shoulder girdle from at least three different angles.
After that, repeat the entire assignment from
imagination and memory.