- Lesson Details
In this lesson, instructor Steve Huston will teach you an approach to simplifying human anatomy for more effective artwork. After a refresher on the concepts of gesture and structure, you will learn a functional and constructive approach to human anatomy. This lesson focuses on simplifying the figure and creating an effective narrative and aesthetic result. Steve will lecture, demonstrate from a live model, and teach you how to break down the rib cage.
This lesson belongs to the course Art Anatomy for Beginners. In this 6-week course, renowned painter Steve Huston will provide you an introduction to human anatomy. You will study how he uses the perspective of aesthetics and mechanics of motion, to deconstruct the anatomy of a human figure. You will learn how to simplify the structures of the figure, in order to create compelling and effective drawings. Following the traditional approach of historic drafts persons like George Bridgman and Burne Hogarth, this course will provide you a concrete foundation of anatomy, tailored specifically for artists.
Throughout this course, you’ll have access to the NMA community for feedback and critiques to improve your work as you progress.
going to look at it as an aesthetic problem as opposed to
say an ecorche class where we're trying to learn all the
muscles, get control of that information, pack it in. We're
going to deal with that information but not as
extensively as that, but we're going to take the muscle and
the bone structure, see the engineering of it, the
structural stability, the impulse to action, and the
aesthetics most importantly. And see how we can use the
musculature with all the complications, specifically for
our bigger purpose, which is to do great and probably beautiful
art. So that's what we're after. Can we make our artwork
better as figurative artist by taking anatomy and targeting it
as an aesthetic problem. So let's get started.
Transcription not available.
Art is an idea, tells us, at least on the craft level, that
a world that can be broken into two ideas: structure and
And the gesture is what makes the living world
feel like it's alive. The gesture's how things relate
together, how they fit together. So how we get from here to here.
And in any art form, they work on the same binary system of a
part and the relationship between the parts.
The most difficult and the most important element of this is a
relationship, how things come together. That's where the real
craft skills happen is where we get this in just the right
relationship to that. Choosing a simple shape for one body part
or another doesn't take tons of practice. You can spend a
career refining your choices.
So you can do pretty well, pretty quick, in any art form.
Getting your body into a certain dance step, your fingers
into a certain position for the note on a piano, and so on.
But getting them to relate together, that's the trick. So
what we're going to do now is as we go through all the pieces
of the body, we're going to see how the structure and the
gesture tracks through that and basically what we're going to
do is we're going to try and get a structure
that has great solidity, rings true, and then has an out. How it
flows into the next. And the muscles and the bone are going
to create this marvelous complex structure that has all these
engineering, mechanical, leverage type machine workings and yet
they're going to have this fluid life
energy, this life line underneath it's going to show
us that it's a living structure and how that living structure
relates to the whole ecosystem, the whole ecosystem of the
So we want to think of the gesture as the fundamental
design life. It's more important than the structure. You
can pick up any basic
shape and it will work well
for a particular body part is long as it's simple, easy to get
down, easy to redesign, and easily and quick for deadlines.
All those kind of criteria. But it has to be simple and
So our real skill set develops in terms of getting structure
successfully down on the page of the canvas. When we make it
simple yet characteristic. So we look at something and with
an ever more refined eye we decide that well, it's kind of
round so maybe I'll do an egg, but more characteristic would
be a tube and maybe it would be a tube that tapers and a tube
that curves with a fluid idea and a tube that gets a little
square here and a little rounder here. Maybe I'll end up with a
tube that has an egg to begin and it morphs into a two by
four at the end. You've kept it relatively simple, but you've
made it ever more characteristic, ever more
refined, and the criteria when we say characteristic is
as close as possible to the finish without having to finish
it. That's what we're trying to do is pick something that's
simple enough that we can get it down in a reasonable manner,
in a quick time frame. We can judge that it's working on some
level and then it's characteristic, so it's as
close as possible to the finish idea without having to be
finished. The reason we want that is the obvious thing.
First if we had to stop it still rings true. We still get
the idea down very clearly that this is a round shape. Well,
maybe it's an egg. Maybe it's a capsule shape, it's a little
flatter on the side, as simple yet characteristic of the head
and if I had to stop there they get the idea of the head pretty
well. But actually more importantly than that when I can
get something that's simple and characteristic it's going to
fit much better to the next thing. That's going to make our
connections better, that's going to make our gesture better. And so
when we make it characteristic what we're really doing is
making sure both ideas work well enough that what we've put
down, the marks we have made ring true, that's going to
be our criteria. And of course your simple yet characteristic
structure and your sense of it ringing true will be a little
bit different than mine, as it should be and that's going to
be the gateway to our style.
Fundamental design line
and the connecting line. We want to help, we want to
really create a gesture, not that some mysterious line of
life energy inside the form
but something that sits right on the simplified surface that
we can connect a structure to two-dimensionally and
three-dimensionally. And then if that's characteristic enough
it's going to make a nice connection,
we'll get enough structure
to begin gesture number two
well connected. And we'll build another simply a characteristic
form and move on and on and on.
So that's going to be our our process here and then we'll
work very hard today, especially on the joints to see
how those structures and gestures come together and
become quite sophisticated.
we want to make sure we know something about anatomy
but only -
or not only but primarily anatomy can be a fun way to
with family and pets I suppose but we want it to be
functional. We want to make sure it's helping us get better
structure and better gesture. We want it to work on that
to make our process better and ring true from
beginning to end from initial mark to finished rendering and we
want to bring in
the fact that we're doing this not to just learn dead
material. We're trying to create beautiful, meaningful,
powerful, challenging, put whatever adjective you want on.
If you're a realist probably it's beauty. There's
a strong aesthetic aspect to it. If you're a modern artist, I
don't understand those people - nah I"m kidding - then it may be to getting then it may be to
challenge the status quo, to break away from the aesthetics.
So the aesthetics, we want to be able to do to we want to be able to do
better designed work, more beautiful and more powerful
all that stuff, pick your adjectives. So the anatomy then
has a purpose to it and we don't want to forget that's
real easy to get into these how to classes and you just work on
whatever the process in a class and you forget why. So
make sure when you're working in any class, not just this
class, try and find the ideas, processes, the tricks of the
trade, that help you in understanding the subject
matter better, that help you make better choices about this idea,
get more solidity, solid realism, and this idea to bring more
life so that the truth of that and the truth of this and then
how does that work in terms of aesthetics, in terms of what I
find beautiful. Brighter colors, rounders shapes, more fluid
design, more formal, stiffer whatever it is, how can we take
the information that's presented to us in the body and
the human body with all we know about it and become better
artists in our work. And so how do we do aesthetics with that?
So we're not doing an ecorche class. It's class.
Although they're immensely valuable to do.
What we're trying to do is we're going to pick out of that
and we could, you know, ideally every muscle we look at would
have gesture and structure. We're going to have to cherry-pick.
We're going to pick the big ideas. So it's not going to be
near as comprehensive as something like this.
We're going to pick and choose so that we can reinforce the
gesture and the structure and build an aesthetic style of
out of the world around us. So what we want to do then is we
want to look at the anatomy, the muscle,
and the bone
and see why, why it's there, and look at it a little bit rather
than the Latin names of it, we'll talk a little bit about that
stuff. But what I'm interested in is why the muscles are
useful and I want to look at the engineering of it. So why
is the structure the structure it is, what's it doing? How does
it change? And then once I understand the whys of the
anatomy, why those muscles and bones go together the way they
go, I'm going to have a big picture of what anatomy does for
the structure. Because our structure is only the body is
only designed for two purposes to be able to hold perfectly
still so you can hide in the grass and the dire hyena
doesn't eat you or whatever it is out there and you can run
like hell if it does find you. So we want to be able to understand
how and why the body is stable and then how to move it into
action and then hopefully be able to bring that into
the poses, to feel that when we draw something beautiful, and I
can do these beautiful poses I practiced.
You know, how do we give that sense that that's just a
moment in time. Most art forms, most styles are capturing just
a moment in time. And so the implication is even though this
drawing will be on that page forever, for hundreds of years,
hopefully in some gallery that the the model moved out of
that fairly quickly, that beautiful sunset is in the
museum for hundreds of years, but it only stayed there for a
moment or a few minutes and then it became a different
composition, different colors, different shapes, different
relationships. So there's always the implication of time
involved in our work and so I've always been interested in
that so I actually oftentimes do action figures that are
actually in motion. You may or may not want to do that but
even if you're laying on the couch, there's an idea that
it's about the move or even if it's a dead corpse has an idea
that once moved there's an implication that that pose can
change. So how do we bring back that potential energy, the
kinetics that are waiting to change, that are about to force
a change, and the artist through a strength of will holds that
moment in stasis. How do we pack that information rather
than just having it, you know, a dead, you know sculpted out of a
rock that's never going to move and never happen.
So we want to make sure when we work with our muscle and bone
truths that they imply that stability and that impulse for
action. So in terms of engineering,
we want to see again the stability
and the mobility.
These two ideas. So we're going to look a little bit about the
whole figure is built as an architectural element and then
we'll look at the bones and the muscles and how they move and
they move out of
as levers basically if we're going to get something to move,
the human body, the machine we call the human body has these
levers. A lever is just a very simple machine and it has three
And it's all based on three ideas. You've got a fulcrum.
That's the point where things move, the seesaw.
And then you've got a load
and you've got the effort to move that load, the force that
moves that. So you push that down it moves that up and the trick
with levers and the trick with any machine is a machine is
designed to make movement and specifically moving a load
easier. So we have these great big machines that can pick up
tons of Earth and that kind of stuff. Cranes that can bring loads
over and all these are all based on the lever. And the
the longer the lever is and the farther out the effort, the
force is. So if I get a nice long plank here, I put this
little box over here or this big heavy box.
The longer I make the lever the less effort it takes to move
it. So if my lever is only this long I got to push down. If I'm
200 pounds and that's 200 pounds I got to put 200 pounds
of weight to move it. If I go twice as far I only have to do a
hundred pounds, go twice as far that's only 50 pounds, eventually
I can just move it like this.
And pretend I'm strong.
So then if we mix these up we get the different classes. First
Second class. That's a wheelbarrow.
Lift it up.
And third class.
See if I can get this right, here's the
lever. That's the fulcrum, that's where it moves.
Here's the load out here and then here's the effort.
This is a least efficient one.
And this is how most of the body's made.
Here's the fulcrum. Here's the fulcrum.
Here's the fulcrum. That's where it moves from. Here is the
out here and then here's the effort here. The bicep comes
over here and attaches and pulls it up and remove it.
Notice how inefficient that is, notice that here's the fulcrum.
Here is the load. Here's the effort. Here's the deltoid
coming over and lifting up - actually down to about halfway.
Pulling up, very inefficient. So the body, because it's
self-contained is a very - it's a leverage system, but it's a
very inefficient leverage system. The jaw. We either we
end up using these two generally less efficient
choices. I'm sorry - these two generally less efficient choices
because this gets short.
But in general
when working what I can do is come out here and lift up and
help but that's not very efficient either. So the body
has this great impulse for action, this incredible
flexibility and potential agility for action, but not
very efficient action, which means the body needs to work on
some intuition. The ergonomics. It has got to make sure that it's
not isolating. Notice I try to pick up that, let's see,
I tried to pick up that heavy weight. I hurt my back. Look at my
lever all the way a way out here including the weight of
the body and the fulcrums way back here and those little tiny
muscles are trying to hold it up. Or I'm over my drawing board
working like this and these little tiny muscles are trying
to pick up this big weight and I get a sore neck or I got to
go to the chirapractor because I wrenched my neck. And
so when we try and work the body in isolation it doesn't
work very well because the leverage system is so
inefficient. What happens then and the lesson for us is the
body conspires so that if I have to do something
then I'm going to try and use the whole body to do it. Think
of athletics. The really beautiful athletes have learned
how to make their body work beautifully, efficiently so the
whole body system helps to move that load, whether the load is
the body itself or something else, a shot putter or discus
thrower. And so when the whole body moves in the action, then
we have a much more efficient action. You've got a more
powerful machine because you've got several little levers
working together, you're working through, notice not stability,
but through momentum now. The best of action, where we're
using the laws of momentum with, we're not pulling dead weight
dragging across the floor, we're flinging it up and allowing
that momentum to carry and so the whole body when it works to
move that one thing, it works beautifully together and you
can do amazing things with it. And so that's what we want to
do then when we're drawing. We want to make sure that when we're
drawing the body everything is in relationship to the whole. No
matter what the action is, throwing a punch, pushing a
wheelbarrow, you know reaching down or climbing on the couch,
whatever it is the whole body is involved. The whole body has
composed itself to make that action or to move from action
to inaction to make that efficient and ergonomic and
that's what makes it beautiful. When everything works together
we define that as beautiful actually. When all the colors
are in harmony we tend to say those are beautiful colors
because they're all working together. They're all
influenced by each other. They're all informing each
other, same way with a hose. If you do this, everything's kind
of working against but when you do something where there's long
fluid lines where things flow naturally through S curves or
lovely fluid zigzags. We feel a clean movement from this to
that, everything's working in composition and we find it
literally more beautiful to look at rather than this kind
of pose. So what we want to do then is we want to make
sure when we're composing our body, when we're trying to draw
these lovely beautiful powerful poses, everything's in
relationship to everything else because that's the way
the body works most beautifully and through our experience and
our intuitive knowledge of that we find that more pleasing,
more satisfying, more truthful than just doing this
and they'll buy into your art. And literally buy into your art. or and little Lie by in gear
So we would that's when it's successful. We find these
aesthetic truths because it's the way our experience of
life. It's a function of life. Form follows function, aesthetics
follow form. And so we find someone more beautiful when
their features are even, where the mechanics or the
mathematics of proportions are more even. If one eye is a
or some of the hair's missing
or something's a little out of whack we find that not as
beautiful because why is that exactly? All it means is it's
biology, it's health, that's better breeding stock, whether
it's male or female. Those great looking models up there.
They're young. They're healthy and they're even featured.
What's here is over here for the most part we find that
more beautiful because we know pn some biological level we can
propagate the race that way. So it's all the beauty is always a
product of the functionality of things. In other cultures if
you are big and fat, if you had a low center of gravity now, we
want little here big here. We want a high center of gravity.
But before when there is a scarcity of resources, we
weren't sure we'd be able to kill the bison or grow the
crops, being fat meant you were healthy, successful, you could
survive to to move things along. So when we understand
why muscles work and make sure the whole and bone and make
sure the whole body is conspiring around that truth in
one way or another, the whole body is going to look more
successful on your page, on your canvas. That's what we want. So
there's very practical reasons for this but we don't
care about that. We just want to make it work. And all
we're going to do is we're going to have the
criteria does it ring true? When we're drawing muscle and bone,
line and tone, mark making, does it ring true? This is the more
or less why it rings true. But this is what we're going to
work from and so having a little bit of understanding of
that or if you're interested in the subject a lot understanding,
that can help.
is just a balancing act. If we look at -
look at it from two ways. Let's do this first.
Okay head or head and neck.
or rib cage and waist I guess we'll call it. Hips,
Just a balancing act. Okay, that design allows us to stay
still so we can hide or wait or rest or whatever.
Notice these guys don't do much to affect it, they're
lightweights literally. So the main structure is down through
those legs. They can of course effect in you're leaning or
something they can affect the pose of course, but this is the
construction. So now when we look at this we have
anatomically we have the straight spine connecting all
these three great forms
with the waist
floating between. And the legs are down through this. Now look
what happens here.
If we -
let's do a very simple
torso here. Or right hip I mean here, structure iliac
crest and such.
The legs notice if we look at this, this is just Stonehenge
isn't it? This is a post and lintel system, every door jamb
you walk through in your life is based on this. It's a very
stable structure. The weight comes down of the stories above
or the roof on top and it hits
The weight comes down, the weight comes down, hits that
lentil, the lintel distributes the weight out, takes all that
weight in the center distributes it out, and that
does two things. It takes that weight and disperses it. So now
this post only has to support half the weight,
likewise with this post. And notice
that we can make that post as wide as we want and the wider
we make the post the more stable it becomes and that's
the same way when you take a wider stance. You can't see me
on camera, but if my legs get wider now, I've got a wider
base, more stable.
In other words more triangular, the most stable geometric form
in nature. Pyramids and mountains they last quite a
while and notice as they erode down they just get more
and more stable.
The problem with this post and lintel system is it's very very
stable as we've just shown, it's not mobile. Stonehenge doesn't
get around much. It's stuck there. So how do we incorporate
as nature the idea of stability and mobility. It's the balance
of those two ideas. It's always fundamental it always informs
the design in the body here because it's not only has to
hold still it has to move, it's got to do both. And they're
mutually exclusive. The more mobile you are the less
stable you are, the more stable you are, the less mobile
you are. I want to be perfectly stable just lay down. But then
if you get attacked by the cave bear, it takes you a while
to get up and run.
If you're super super
mobile or have great potential in
design for mobility, it's going to be hard to hold that
position or you won't be able to hold it at all.
It's going to be falling over. And so that becomes a problem.
There's got to be then it literally a balancing act
between the stability and the potential energy to change -
find a pose, potential energy to change the pose. So
here's how nature
figured it out. Instead of attaching the post below - let me
change colors here so we can
see it on camera a little bit better.
Instead of putting it below we have the femur
built like this, built as a little L. The greater
trochanter comes in, goes on down.
And now we have it attached to the sides.
And we've got a pivot system that is coming in, not here
to the side and then it can rotate back and forth.
And out this way too. I'd show you but I don't want
to show off. You can put your leg way up over your head if
you're flexible enough.
Like that. So now we have quite a bit of mobility, not great
mobility, but very good mobility and we have pretty
good stability, balances out. So this comes down, knee structure's
in here, kneecap, the tibia,
and the fibula doesn't do any things
structurally really in terms of the stance.
Helps the structure of the foot but not much else. So now we
have our post here
but we have great mobility up here.
And then of course if the legs come out, we've
increased our stability.
So it's quite amazing design. It's a beautiful design.
So notice now
as we look at the bones or look at the muscles, when we think of
and then the movement of that structure,
it can be the fluid movement off the curve or it can be the
literal movement of the structure and gesture itself.
But now we get we get both of those impulses, both of those
potentials in the drawing.
The curves and the corners, the fluidity and the stability. Now
we're starting to get
with every mark we make
the idea of action or potential action. So as soon as I take
and turn it into a curve
it gives that implication of motion. The ripples are going
to move and change.
Let's take that
just a little bit farther.
How we doing on time guys?
Now we come down we have that
quite narrow if they come together, quite wide if they go
apart, and then look at the feet now, the feet are not just
blocks it sits like that.
The feet have -
let's go ahead and do that I guess.
The feet have an interesting design to them.
We have an arch on the inside of our foot.
And so here's the inside obviously. Here's the outside.
On the inside if we took away the toes,
we'd see the bone structure vast simplification does that
kind of thing.
Let's look at it from here. Here's the foot,
ankle. If this is the inside
where the big toe is,
opposed to the little toe we'll see this arch. And the arch goes
this way and also goes in this way and notice how this arch
the heel of course to the ball of the foot and the toes there.
And so we get impact here. We get good stability and notice
that the post now has a wide base of its own.
The ankle and heel go back a little bit.
Achilles tendon, calcaneus? Always calcaneus calcaneus always
And then we have the tarsals and metatarsals going this way.
This sticks out quite far forward. So think of a little
bipod camera, we've got this sticking out a lot, this
sticking out a little bit, again more stability.
It also works this way. So we can bring our feet together
and we've got a
arch. And so in effect when the feet come together, we have a
dome structure like you see in a cathedral, Gothic Cathedral.
And if you look at these bone structures actually you can even track
the keystone type idea and in some sense. And so this does
two things. It gives you great support and it takes some of
the impact when you hit, when you're running around or when
you're standing at the easel all day, it flexes a little bit
and those bones give and it's a little shock absorber. It takes
some of the stress off the joint so they'll last a
another decade or two of use and abuse.
But notice how this kicks out wider and then the little toes
way out here,
nice wide base kicks out a little wider for stability,
comes down or the legs actually step out wider for a lot more
stability. And then it ends also with more stability. Stable,
stable, stable, and then we'll look a little bit later how
tomorrow mainly how the joints then allow us the mobility,
flexibility, and the dynamics that go on. But look at that
interesting, beautiful design.
Bone does two things: it protects,
protects something that's valuable inside, the organs, the
Or it becomes the armature.
For the attachment of the muscles and then the movement
of those created levers.
In that. So what we want to do then is look at the shape of
each bone structure as much as we can in the time. How they
come together we'll talk about that especially again when you
get into the joints.
See how it contributes to the stability of that position and
then how we can bring that potential energy, that dynamic
into it. So it feels like it's moving or about to move.
And so we want to make sure the bones become part of our
dialogue on creating structure.
And how the structures move and flow
and then the muscles then become part of course of that
We want that we want to understand the muscles as
structure. The bicep is going to have a certain teardrop
shape. The pectoralis major and minor together will have kind
of a fan shape. We want to see how those shapes, what those
and we want to see as importantly or more importantly
how they move. And so we have any muscle's going to have its
is going to have - that's just where the muscle begins, is
going to have its insertion where it ends.
And then the muscles themselves, the character the
muscles themselves will have the striations, the fibers
that move in a certain direction. And muscles only do
one thing, they contract, either work or they don't work and
when they contract they move that load, they move that lever
that's holding that load off that fulcrum that's allowing
the axis of movement. And so they either move or they don't
And they'll move in the direction of the fiber. So if
the if we understand the bicep has fibers that go this way, we
know that's the direction of the movement, that hinge
but more importantly because a lot of that, not always, we'll see
areas where it surprises a little bit but that'll give us
a sense more importantly of how it changes shape. So what we
want to know is that if we have a sense of the
pectoralis group here,
begins here and goes all the way over here and attaches on
the outside of the arm, and then the fibers fan out, the
grouping of muscles fan out, we have a fan shape, now we have
an egg shape.
It's going to change shape as it moves. So
with a little bit of anatomy, and you only need really little
bit of it. You can get a lot. We only needed a little bit.
We'll start to see how the structures change shape
depending on how they're working or relaxing and that's
going to be very valuable to us.
So how do those forms or shapes
And so by designing and redesigning or observing more
We'll be able to get more truth in our drawing to suggest that
that chest is a working chest rather than relaxing or how
that shape should change because of this articulation as
opposed to this articulation.
Transcription not available.
put the head aside for the moment and look
at the torso.
Okay, so let's just start with our traditional lay in.
And everybody's a little different, if you notice on our
such great shapes up there,
as the rib cage in the waist blend together beautifully. Now
over here, we've got a little bit of the articulation you see
a little bit of that rib cage separating out but the whole
structure is this nice tube. And so just pick a simple yet
characteristic shape. As simple as possible so you have
control over it, so you can get it down quickly. So you can
redesign it simply if you want to, which is where we'll get to
and so you can articulate it too. I can move it and animate it. I
can tip it over. I can do a series of drawings for the
animation. Do simple but not just generic characteristic of
what we see. And we're going to have to approach this from a
few standpoints here. So let's just look at this section let's just look at this section
If we look at the rib cage.
So here's the rib cage here.
Yeah, so that's the rib cage there. And this can flow around
this way and there's all sorts of variations. But notice it's
quite narrow here and quite wide. In fact, the ribcage is
waist wide in terms of construction and then you can
dig a little out if it's an hourglass figure, you can pack a
little extra if it's a got the love handles but think of it as
a waist wide tube sits in there. Or underneath it
because he's up on that stand for the most part. And what I like to do As Park and what I like to do
is think of that rib cage as a coke bottle. That's taking the
anatomy of the ribs and fitting it into the bone structure, the
ribcage fitting into the bone and muscle structure of the
And you can see how by thinking of the coke bottle for drawing
through that shoulder girdle interruption.
Because one of the big problems that drawing the figure is head and
shoulders. The contour takes us from the head out to the
arms to the littlest structures. We want to work
these three big structures, head, ribcage, and pelvis and
have those work in harmony and in dynamic gesture together. So
this is a great way to set that up and then later we'll attach
our shoulder girdle on top as we're about to.
Now for a second here, let's think of this as a box. If I
were to turn this into a box, I'm going to go ahead and when I'm going to go ahead and
float the nipples on there.
Something like that, let's say.
Notice if we went from the sides across to the nipple, we'd
notice this kind of box logic. The nipples create an excellent
corner. We think of this as kind of a cigarette pack.
That kind of shape.
The nipples become corners to that and so if you look at it and it
feels too fat
bring it in or it can be a more sophisticated shape. It
doesn't have to be right angled lines. It can be beveled out
some way or another. So there it is there.
The reason that box ideas important is here's what
happens when we get into these three quarter views and we're
underneath or on top of that rib cage we tend to think of have caged we tend to think of
the rib cage as just a cylinder.
And that's not a bad conception if we're straight on
or more or less in a facing position, but it's a
front view or back view that works fine and doesn't really
cause us any issue. But when we get into more dynamic
positions, it'll actually screw us up. And
here's the reason, if we were to look at a rib cage of a
quadruped in say a cat or dog or something like that
we'd find that. The rib cage is very wide looking here
this is their elbow.
Coming down this way.
The shoulder blade
like that so that would be the neck, the cute little ears.
So we see that cat or dog very wide here, if we look down on
top of it we'd see that that rib cage
of our cute kitty or puppy dog or
lion is very narrow from top - from side to side. Or if we're
looking on top of it.
Like so. If we were to look at a gorilla or a monkey, a knuckle
walker, we'd see the rib cage is a certain width from
from the side and if we looked on top of it, we'd see it
was the same width
from the top.
It's as wide as it is deep. But for us if we look at our rib
the front or back
Quadruped, the tabletop knuckle walker,
it's an incline biped is straight up and down, least
in a lot of ways. Nice and wide side to side just like the
knuckle walker is.
And let's put him side to side this way.
Our gorilla side to side, we'll both nice and wide. But
if you look at us from a profile now,
you'll find that rib cage is very narrow.
Or let's look at it from the top. Here's the
head, here's the ears.
Maybe the shoulders out here. Here's the rib cage.
Look at how
narrow that ribcage is from side to side on top and then we have
the feet down here like so.
The reason for that is look at our support system. We've got a
and legs and look at how we can kick those legs out side to
side for a very stable pose like that. So side-to-side,
we're nice and wide because we can get a nice wide stance, but
front to back
of course, look what happens.
We have a very narrow base front to back. So if we had a
very wide top we're going to end up doing this. It's going
to be a very Tippy it's going to fall over easily.
So we've got those feet trying to help out. They fly out. We
got the arch kind of a flying buttress system like on a
church in effect. And so that gives us a little wider stance,
but we still have a exceptionally narrow
support system there. And so we want to be very narrow front to
back so we don't add to that instability. And in fact since
we have these long pillars that are that are attached on these
side connecting pivot points as we've found we can easily correct
by kicking this back and or pushing this forward and now we've
solve that problem and that's actually the strategy of most
athletes because an athlete wants to be very stable when
they need to be stable and very explosive when they need to be
explosive. A box or a football player. You got the
head in here.
The rib cage doing this and then that athlete is going to
take a very wide stance.
And force this foot forward and keep it a very wide stance and
force this foot back to exaggerate it.
And notice that we're doing this - we put this footprint
here. We put this footprint here, oftentimes splaying it out
even, then widen it out. And also there's a push off for
propulsion and we're doing this,
which is nice and stable because it's why this way and
wide that way. The only place it's not wide is this way,
but they're planning to move this way and meet the
obstructions, the opposition
there. They want to hold the line here and have momentum
pushing off that foot and again forced to meet the
obstructions that way. The only place they don't have a good
Good balance is that way and in fact, that's the direction most
knockouts in boxing happen is they get a flash knockout, the
punch comes this way or a left hook in this case.
Or roundhouse kick. I do a lot of those I'll show you that
some day my roundhouse kicks. No, I can't round house at all.
And that get - that's the only weak spot, but this
creates the most stability and of course a football player
then we'll be a knuckle walker in effect.
And so they bring the one or two easily one arm down to
create a triangle of support and then they move their
center gravity inside them.
When we get these three quarter views of views.
of the rib cage and we're underneath,
So what we want to do is we want to create a structure
that's wide across
and narrow on the side.
Nipples acting at or near the corners depending on how
refined you're going to do, but think of those
nipples as the corner structure.
Like that, so here
like that or a flattened
Notice what happens if I try and draw this and don't pay
attention, just do a cylinder.
Here is this, here is this.
Oftentimes I'll end up lowering that nipple there
when it should have been higher.
And notice the more extreme the perspective, the more danger
that creates. So I like to keep that slightly squarish there.
Or again just use those construction lines and don't
let it fall down, lift it up.
All right, so that's that.
Now what we're going to find the pectoralis muscles.
And I'll show you this on a demo with our model here in
a little bit.
Demonstration. I'll go up there and show you.
It doesn't look like it's sometimes in some
position. So let's put this arm in here.
But what we want to feel is that the pecs, the chest muscles
come down the breast bone, attach down the breastbone.
Right down there, the blade of that sternum.
So this is all attachment here.
They attached over the rib cage.
Do this here?
They're going to attach down the breastbone. I'm going to
keep it spaced too wide so we can see that usually doesn't
separate that wide and it's going to go over the rib cage.
So that means if you're underneath the rib cage
we're going to want to feel that pectoralis roll off the
sternum because it's a rounded form, but then track at least
for a little while right over
the architecture of that greater form, the little detail,
the little structures always have to track over the top and
be affected by the bigger structures. So when you draw an
eyeball, it's on the greater cheek structure. We've got to
respect that structure and position of the bigger cheeks
to understand and for your eyes to ring true. So we want that
chest in some manner to connect across and then once it hits
roughly where the nipples are again, those are important
landmarks, it detaches from the rib cage
and takes off
for the arm and I'll show you the attachment the arm a little
bit. And if the arm goes way up
then the attachments going to go way up.
If the arm stretches out, the attachment is going to be
And I'll show you the other articulations a little bit
later, but we want to feel that.
Now again, I'll show you this exactly, carefully with the
model here in a few minutes when we're getting towards the
end of this set.
Let's do that.
attachment, all attached to the rib cage. The sternum,
center line of the rib cage, or the ribs themselves tracking
over and I'll show you that tracking
in a second. Once it gets underneath the nipple more or less
it takes off and so this structure is on top of and
detached, overlapping the detaching on the ribs, ribs are
coming in here.
Ribs are coming in here.
over the form. Movement over the form, my construction
lines to establish that third dimension.
The center line if nothing else will give us the second
dimension, which is the facing let's say and then the tilt will
be the graphic orientation on the page. So it's usually
not a problem although we can make mistakes with it, but the
marks on the page take care of that pretty intuitively. So a
movement over the form in other words everything we draw is a
visual arrow. So how many ways can we move over the form?
There's quite a few actually. We can do it through contour.
We can actually have say a wedding ring on the finger.
Or a pinch or a pinch on the knuckle and that will track
over in the perspective over underneath the finger will be
underneath the pinch and that pinch in some manner or another
not always but may well, distort into the perspective.
Maybe it doesn't it times but we'll pick out the detail that will pick out the detail that
moves over in the correct manner in the contour. And
again, that's the advantage of doing a construction lay in
where I put at least the two ends. But I like to do the
stripes. I've established through a simplified graphic
contour it's going to disappear with a lot of my realist detail
or maybe all disappear, but that establishes that contour
idea. Now we can track right over and feel the movement over
conceptually and then if we pick out the right details, a
cast shadow, and notice that the cast shadow - let's sosaywe have a cast
shadow over the top of the finger because there's
something here blocking it from receiving light. It doesn't - the
contour doesn't have to go on axis, doesn't have to be at a
right angle to it. As long as it curves in the right
orientation, the up and over as opposed to the down and under.
So let's say we've got a finger or any tubular structure, if we
do this that's going to destroy
up and over, it's going to cross out. So we'll look for
the details of enforcing it. Might for a little while twist
away but if most part reinforces whether it's on
axis or at it some oblique angle, it's good to reinforce
that contour detail. It's going up and over.
Just because we didn't go up and then down the other side,
we're still going up and over in the same manner that we
would like for at least a little while.
Contour. We can also do -
okay thanks. We can also do closure.
This is closure.
If I do that, I've drawn a triangle haven't I?
Well, actually you've drawn the triangle. I just drew three
dots, you make the connection for us.
We're going to actually use this most of the time because
very seldom do we get something going all the way across the
form in the manner we want. Those are muscle
attachments and dynamic forms pinching and binding
together will twist around and create all sorts of contour
stuff. Some of the contour will reinforce our orientation and
some will go dead against it.
So often times we're going to have to pick out clever picking
up of detail. For example, if I picked out this rib and this
rib and this rib and this breast bone and this rib and
this rib and this rib,
those are all detached details,
but they orient in such a way that it goes up and over.
Detail tends to be higher in the center, tends to be lower at
or near the sides. That gives us the up and over idea.
So we'll just pick out the details that reference our
perspective. And notice the perspective doesn't have to be
exactly the perspective of your constructed form. It can be the
same or it can be highly exaggerated. Don't make it
So whatever detail, I might pick out this part of the breast
and this part of the chest and this part of the nipple and
And that'll take me up and then I'll do the same thing over
here, maybe with this nipple and this peck and that ribcage and
I'll take us down. Do that three times, we're good.
So that's closure.
We might find overlaps.
Overlaps are just where something's in front of
something else. When you have that orientation, you have some
perspective information. We know now that this thigh and
is closer to us, even if we don't see how it comes together
and attaches, we know
that that's closer to us and that's farther away. We get
some perspective information out of that overlaps. A better
A better choice is interlocks.
Interlocks, interlocks are like super overlaps. Notice
that a lunar eclipse is an overlap. You can have things
disconnected, back the knee doesn't connect to the torso
And so it doesn't imply things fitting together it just
implies a dominant and a subordinate position. Interlock
however, suggests that things are coming together and fitting,
kind of like a keylock, like a key in an a door lock or like a
It's pinching and holding and better than that when you get
that movement over the forms where they come together we get
and we see the character of that cylinder and some of the
contour of the ball and how they fit and notice the
characteristic, the key distinguishing characteristic
of an interlock is some of the signs
and the end breakthrough the contour. With an overlap we
just have the kind of in the way notice how if we designed
everything on the body the balls that would be very problematic
in terms of great connections because we wouldn't be able to
get any interlocks. We just have, no matter what, we just have
one little ball that's
potentially floating in front of the other and we'd have to
depend entirely on the audience's knowledge of the
structure to feel the connection there, but we'd lose
a lot of that impact. But this intrusion in is a great way to
go and it's how the body works in terms of bone and muscle.
It's a ball and socket joint in the greater trochanter. Does at the greater trochanter. Does
this, it's actually shaped like that and then it goes into a
socket hole and locks in. Well, the only problem with that is
the bone is oftentimes mostly are all buried inside the
muscle. But the good news is bone, which generally joint to
joint just comes and touch it. So that's the worst kind of
connection is no hierarchy.
They just meet and it's relatively flat in perspective.
That's not very descriptive, doesn't give you any more
information. And if that was one longer part than two smaller
But if this is a joint say,
this joint, the bone does that but the muscles attached
somewhere way above, sometimes way above, and come all the way
down and attach somewhere below or way below and that's
why we get that kind of teardrop, classic teardrop, to a
lot of the muscle forms is they thin out into a tendon and they
glue on to the bone.
And so what happens then is we get this sense of insertion of
one form, let's say the deltoid,
inserting, intruding into another form, et's say the two
by four of the upper arms, conceive it is a two by four.
By having that break inside we're getting some of the sides, a lot
of the sides and some of the end of it's there, but maybe
that's coming down in there.
want to keep it from being just an egg. I want to make it -
besides go in there to get the most insertion there.
Or we could have the supinator and extensor group of the
forearm intruding into the upper arm.
Notice here's just a little overlap. That's useful it
helps doesn't it? But this interlock where this
muscle is putting the bicep here, this muscle or muscle
group or just this architectural shape, you don't
even have to know the muscle. But if you know that that's on
top of and if we know a little bit of anatomy we know for
sure it's on top of inserting into, just like we know that for
Now we can take full advantage of that and look at how that
and feels totally connected and since there's a dominance of
one thing blocking intruding into another or feeling this
great sense of perspective and structure. We're getting a ton
of movement over the form and in a very precise way.
So interlocks are good. Interlock lock.
Use them often.
The last one we can do
is axis. We can take a particular detail and it's in
it's part of closure in a way.
We can take a particular detail, let's say a nipple.
Now if I just draw that nipple, wherever I, however, I draw it
it wouldn't matter. Its orientation with the other
detail gives me that wonderful perspective of moving in a very
precise and interesting way, nuanced way even, over the form.
But I can get a little more bang for the buck. If I were to
take that nipple or that nipple or that nipple and turn it this
way, design it this way,
now I'll make it a big nipple. You make it a really big nipple too,
you don't have to make it a big nipple.
Now look at how it's an egg shape and look at how remember
the egg shape has a short and a long axis. The long axis is
pointing in the direction
of our movement over the form isn't it it? Again it doesn't have to
in the direction, just up towards the center. It's going
up higher towards the center, at or near the center, and it's
pointing lower at or near the sides. And so it's - the design
of the shape itself since it has a long or short axis or the
mark you make, could be the hatching, can create an axis
at points. That may also show contour or it may not so you
might get a
del Sarto drawing where he contours with his conte over
the form or you might get a Charles Dana Gibson where he
hatches or Clement Cole that hatches across the form, but if
you point that stroke or those strokes in the direction of the
in Contour or ignoring the contour you'll get more bang
out of it. And then as I said by getting that particular detail
or set of details to relate to other details or other sets of
details, together they can create through closure an even
greater opportunity. So your contours, when those
contours overlap this rib overlaps that rib or this
rib and stomach structure interlocks
into the waist,
that can show great potential for volume and connectivity.
When they happen to track in the correct perspective and so
what I'll do often times is I'll take the chest that I look
up there and does this I'll twist it this way. I'll distort
as we said on the shoulder blades, we can distort that
anatomy, that structure we reinforce the contour or the
positioning of things that will track over. So we can get this
incredibly sophisticated hierarchy of information. So if
we know exactly how at least a major muscles connect,
for example, I'm going to keep this well separated here,
distorted in terms of proportion. But if I know that
the muscle fibers.
do this for the pectoralis
and the attachment, the origin, and the insertion
of that muscle or muscle group attaches, notice how I know
chest goes now on the far side, goes over the top, goes on the
far side of our arm.
Here's the chest here.
By understanding that anatomy I can ground that form so it
feels like it has a solid mass, it rings true. I can take it
over and now look at how we've got this wonderful interlock.
Some of the side
break in as well as the end of that form. And where they meet
we get this wonderful contour at least for a little while
that tracks. It may not track on axis, but it's going to roll
for at least a while in a contour that's very very
So that was all by knowing my anatomy and also I know that
packets of pectoralis, a grouping of them.
There is just a real simplification of that. There's
a grouping up here and I can separate one muscle into maybe 0
we'll leave this out - two muscles. And by doing that I get an
overlap that throws it back. By overlapping that lower start by overlapping that lower
pectoral mass on that little chunk of upper mass it tilts it
back and puts it behind there and gives me added bang for my
So we've got - we can be working on many many cylinders.
The basic shape or form of the muscle, where it begins,
where it ends, the origin and insertion.
And then the muscle fibers,
which direction they go. By understanding that the chest
fibers go this way, they're always going to move from
origin to insertion. Wherever it starts
and wherever it ends, the fibers are going to go on that axis.
That way the bicep fibers will go that way, that gives me an
opportunity to separate some of those fibers, to get a more
sophisticated series of structures that potentially move
over the form in a more dynamic, more interesting way, in this
case by overlapping. But then the fibers themselves can
So we can now feel through those fibers how we flow from
shoulder to rib cage.
let's say just on a thigh and we'll
break that down.
So I'm going to abandon some of the basic how
to draw stuff and leave that to you guys to work on and we'll
get more straight to the anatomy and all of our
other goals here so we don't spend too much time turning
this into a in intermediate construction class. That's not
what it was about. So if - when we look at muscles,
let's say take a chunk of the quadricep.
The rector femoris the straight - rector just means
straight, the straight muscle of the of the front of the leg
goes into a tendon.
And these other guys, quadriceps, four, there's four heads. We only for there's foreheads. We only
have to worry about three. They come together called the
common tendon, come down here. But what we're going to have, an
interesting thing when we look at muscles, the muscles will
whatever their shape we'll just do the classic teardrop will
either follow straight down the axis of the structure as the
rector femoris or erector muscles of the back, the name
often times implies that straight shot down and it may
or may not pick up the gesture. The gesture is a
development of all the muscles working relationship with the
bone and together they create a certain fluid movement. The
Rector may not and often doesn't show that curved idea, now it
curves on both sides, but that can't - when it curves both
sides it actually cancels out and stick it straight. We need
one side it curves or both sides curve in the same direction to
create a gesture, curve axis that moves us fluidly and like
in a lifelike way down this is going to go straight down
but notice this muscle goes right down
the axis. That's fine. Tibialis anterior down here does the
same thing basically that lifts your toes off the
Fine. I'm not as interested in those muscles, in fact I don't
even like them very much. Although I do need to deal with
them sometimes but more often I'll group those into a greater
whole. Notice if we pick up the whole quadricep now,
quad four heads as I said, we only have to
worry about three. We have the vastus externus where the
vastest internist they all come down to the common tendon and
attached in one way or another to the kneecap and then that
goes into the patella tendon attaches onto the tibia.
Still talk more.
Notice when we add all that mass, Mass.
orients very high on the outside of the leg. Here is the knee
construction here, let's say pulled. Whole kneecap,
whole knee structure. Vastus internus, externus outside is the internist externus outside is
pubic area, inside
or internus. Notice the vastus internus hangs low.
And that's interesting and important and that's the way
muscles work. Remember muscles - or tend to work. Not always. But
it's the way we want them to work ideally because here's
what happens - muscles only do one thing. They work or they
don't work. They work or they're relaxed.
If they work they're in some way fighting gravity. Gravity,
that's that leverage. We've created a machine
to more efficiently, in this case not super efficiently,
fight gravity. So if I push that down I can lift that up, fight
So they're either fighting gravity or giving in to gravity.
Now for me that's a great emotional metaphor. It can be
either aggressive and be a winner let's say or be
submissive and be defeated. So you either give in to gravity
or you fight it and there's a few ways to do that. But this
is one of the ways, high to low. And muscles want to do that
because you have say the quadriceps and then you have
the hamstring on back. The quadriceps extend the leg out, straighten
the leg. The hamstring tightens, contracts the leg, bicep trachsel eight bins at bicep
bends the arm up, bends the arm up, the tricep extends the arm out.
When one side is working, when the tricep is working the bicep
is going to relax and want to flatten and deflate and get out
of the way. So we have a more fluid motion and it's just more
efficient. If everything's not working. Unless you're a body
builder flexing everything at once, which doesn't get you very
far. It's hard to get even in the refrigerator doing that.
Then we're going to have this action, relaxation dynamic, this
rising up and falling down. In fact, that's so efficient and
the body is so interested in not only creating stability to
fight and hold against gravity but bobility to spring through
and dynamically change that it doesn't get muscle-bound and so
it's going to design, it's going to tend to design forms when it
can in this asymmetrical dynamic even if they're both
So notice if we look at the inside of the quadricep it
hangs low and if we look at the outside of the quadricep it
sits high and notice if we drew an egg, just a simple structure
for that and notice we wouldn't even have to understand
anatomy to benefit from this.
Notice how the tube, to make it real simple, the tube went this
way on the thigh, but when we took this particular section of
the thigh, it became a different shape essentially.
That's interesting. I've refined and made more nuanced,
more complicated my drawing and now it seems to be more real
because it feels more sophisticated. We tend to trust
that. So every time I add something new on onto it. It
starts to be more sophisticated and ring true. And notice that
this was the direction whether I build in a curve gesture or
not, this is a directional axis of the whole thigh. This is a
directional axis of just the quadricep notice how if we put
an egg inside this other structure, no matter how we
conceived of it,
curved or not,
that egg is always going to be, or whatever structure we chose
to think of it as is always going to be off axis if done
And that is exactly as it should be
because that's going to make it more dynamic. It's going to
give a interest to it because part of aesthetics is the
balance between symmetry and asymmetry. I know I'm throwing
a lot of stuff at you but we'll spend the next two and a half
days working through it. And so now we have a nice asymmetry
here and then we have the other leg over here to create a
symmetry and that balance gives us lots of creative choices
and sings true for our audience. So what we want to do
is make sure when we add these muscle structures on, whether
they're just architectural shapes that we observe or
whether they're carefully thought-out anatomical truths.
We want to look for this off-axis connection. We want to
be aware of whether it's a erector muscle, a erector erector muscles
straight muscle that goes up and down, that hinge joint say
or if it goes off access because of more dynamic
possibilities. And we would prefer to have it go off axis.
And there's all sorts of reasons why that we'll get to
as we move along.
big egg shape, let's say,
how do we make sure we show the big structure because after all
if I do a tube let's say for the leg that's just a
There is no truth to that. There is no tube in that leg, but
altogether those shapes, that anatomy is reminiscent of, its
in character with and remember when we pick a structure,
we want to get the simplest possible structure possible.
It's a replacement for the truth, for the anatomy. There's no
truth to that, it's just a convenient lie and it rings
true. It feels about right, it's simple but also has be
characteristic and as you add anatomy
and experience to your toolbox you're going to find, I hope you
find as you move along year after year in your studies
that you'll make ever more simple yet ever more
So, for example, we can just make it a tube for the thighs,
nothing wrong with that. Well, but if I made it a tube that tapered
towards the knee that would be more characteristic, but really
just about as simple if I made it a tube that tapered and curved
with a long axis gesture that would be even better. Maybe I'm
going to make it a boxy structure at the beginning and
around the structure at the end. Maybe I'll add three or
four secondary structures within, maybe, maybe, maybe. So I'm
going to always balance simple yet characteristic. Notice the
more characteristic I make it, the less simple it is. So
there's going to be diminishing returns. If I use four or five
structures instead of one structure it's going to be a
lot more complicated possibly but it will be much more
characteristic. If I had every little freckle and hair and
blemish it will be way more characteristic, will be so More characteristic will be so
complicated. It's not very useful to do. So you find that
So what we're going to do then is we're going to take just big
picture. We're going to look at that full structure without the
muscle theory, without the bone theory and say or at least have
it in the back of our mind say what's the simplest most
characteristic shape for that leg?
And I'm going to say let's pick the legs we see up there. I'm
going to say it's a tapering.
kind of coke bottle shape that's a little closer to me at
the bottom and a little farther from me at the top and I'm
going to notice that this side is a longer sustained curve and
that's going to be my dominant gesture idea going this way.
And if I wasn't sure I could break that into a tube, a
simpler idea to get that gestural truth if I needed to
let's say. Now the quadriceps are here, if I come
down, if I follow the contour.
This is the ab - I'm sorry the adductor group.
It brings the leg closer. Out here is the abductor group. It
steals leg away to abduct.
This is a quadricep. This is a vastus internus in here, going
into common tendon and the patella and pads and such down
in here. There's all sorts of an anatomical stuff that's
really cool and fun to find. We don't have to have any of of it though,
with maybe the exception of shoulder blade unit.
But if we do want to choose those ideas we can still choose
at the secondary truths these more complex ideas and just
keep them structural and gestural.
So I'm going to add a little egg or teardrop shape on a
bigger coke bottle or tube shape.
If I want to then add my anatomical ideas to it I can
start feeling if we can imagine it without that arm in the way
that it inserts
or originates up here on the iliac crest. Could be higher,
but let's just stick with that.
And inserts down in the comment tendon of the patella and then
goes through the patella and we have the patella ligament that
attaches on the tibia.
So this is off-axis. Notice here is the axis if we make it
Take away the curve. There is the axis there. Here's the axis
here, off-axis. Now look at the wonderful thing that happens. I
can make a simple secondary structure, let's
do another leg here that's even simpler version of it. I
can take all that quadriceps stuff and do that quadriceps stuff and do
something that's basically that.
Then I can add other shapes to it.
Sartorius comes down here. I can add a little string or the
feeling of a flattered disc shape under that bigger egg
Can keep adding those structures and know them
anatomically or just observe them structurally and gesturally.
I can add a little triangular
slice here if we looked at it
this way from the inside, back side it might be this kind of
structure so I can now all this stuff on it.
Now if we come to the vastus internist notice it hangs low
as we said, it hangs low. Vastus externus. It sits high.
We were getting this in effect. And that is what
takes it off axis.
But we wouldn't have to
design that structure based on a specific anatomy. We can do
it off of a
series of rhythms, justtreat it gesturally. Look there's a gesture. Look. There's a
stretch, there is a gesture, long axis current. There's another
long axis current. Here's the outside of the calf, the
gastrocnemius and the soleus. There's a long axis curve.
inside of that gastrocnemius. Notice one, two, three, four,
one, two, three, four notice when we look to those curves
We start to get that water equality, that wave action. We
can end up making those curves based on some structural idea
in any way we want
and that will do the same thing, but it can be - we can
look for that high low dynamic structurally,
or anatomically. We can look for muscles
that track off axis rather than muscles that are straight on
axis. We want to look for both. And as I said, this will have
benefits when we get those off-axis ideas.
But it gives us great possibilities.
gotten through our initial warm up here is we'll start looking
at the bones and the muscles and how they contribute to
that. But for now
unless you're an
anatomical savant just go ahead and draw what you see and
have fun with it. And these I'm using our Stabilo. They're kind
of waxy so they don't smear as much.
And I'll use that, I'll use just a cheap ballpoint pen. Sometimes
I'll use a fountain pen.
It's a nice way to work, again doesn't smear. I smear a lot.
I'm always on the paper like this. So that's good for me.
And then sometimes I'll use CarbOthello and I'll show you but fellow and I'll show you
those. This is just newsprint. So that's having sharpened that
I'll just use this.
So as I draw this one thing the head
I really want to see it in relationship
to everything else.
And it has a certain position, a certain stability or potential
And I can get as much
of that head laid in.
He's got this great face and skull shape.
It's really fun to draw.
And then if we play that ear and just take this up here, move this a little bit
so you can see it.
Make it a little more boxy.
So I'm interested in getting that simple structure.
And then I want to see how that structure works in
to the other structure or structures around it.
And what I'm really looking for then is to get a solid part,
that three dimensional part, that structural idea, and then see
find an out. How do we get out of that structure and move on
to the next structure? So then the gesture kind of has a
couple functions really showing the long axis curve it gives
that watery design, but then that watery design flows, is
going to help us flow into the next idea or it might
bind against the next idea.
And that's going to give us -
go through what we need to move all the way through the figure.
And you can just draw a shape or two and get all these
structural and gestural truths
or you can
get the whole figure laid in.
Notice the ear is the only feature on the side of the head. And so
it's particularly valuable for us because soon as we get
features on the front of the head or the front of the box in
relationship to something on the side of the box, now we're
feeling that interior corner. We're starting to move over the
form in terms of our lesson. And then we feel
that third dimension,
And we get enough of that head
that we can find the next structure, the neck.
And it will work on the same gesture line. They'll flow
together like a straight arm does or they'll break apart.
One will go one way, one will go the other. This to that. go the other gets to that or
We'll keep on slowing down, through, notice that in this
case we've got the head, the neck, and the torso all lining
up on the same gestural center line. They're all in the same
facing dimension and they're all based on that long axis
curve. And all their separate curves happen to align and we
get a greater curve out of them and as soon as that kind of
we instantly feel it's more graceful.
It's usually more pleasing to us, but
there are a few psychos out there who don't like that kind
of thing that generally when the colors look harmonious the
gestures, the curves of the parts align, those separate
things coming together composing off the curve idea
makes it by definition see more more graceful and then makes it
usually more attractive to us.
Now as an artist, you may want to play that up or you might
want to go weigh against that so what you do with that is up
And then notice that the more closely the new gesture. So
let's just make this really simple to the leg. The more
closely these gestures all break apart now, but they're
still generally aligning on this,
moving up and moving down on that same curve and so it
feels again rather graceful, even though they are composed
of different gestures, they are near alignment, and then as things
break off more dynamically or dramatically then we start to
get variations off that theme but the fact that going from
head to toe they're all aligning in a very close
set of relationships that makes it
a lovely pose. And then the arms then become kind of a
subplot to our main story. The main story has this lovely
through line where the big stuff all works together and
then these secondary forms start to break apart and that
adds variety and interest and doesn't do much, just like
adding these little lumps and bumps add variety and interest,
it doesn't do much to destroy that that composition, that
And we can notice, take just a little area. I'm just going to
take this end of the upper leg, around the knee the knee around the knee
structure, and I'm just going to play with that as a series
that may or may not be rendered. And a series of
So I might be interested in this just a little waterfall of
And just playing with those
attachments as we'll look at, the
architecture, gestures that
We can always then, in a fairly organic way, I guess literally
an organic way, build on them. Start in the center and build
out and again have it be convincing and ring true by
having it flow away or bind against.
So we're constantly thinking gesture, structure, long
axis flows down. And then
short axis can move across and we had the next idea down and
Once we understand those rhythms, we can start playing
games. Now that head sticks fairly straight like a lollipop
head and neck on that nice fluid spine.
So maybe I want to just play the curve. So I'm going to take
that straight and sneak it into a little bit of curve or into
more of a curve than it really is.
And that's one of the advantages of having a sense of gesture and
structures. We can impose new truths. We can actually distort
it into a brand new direction. It's a little more dangerous or
more likely, a safer bet is just to push the idea that's already
But again, it's all in relationship. Notice if we keep
the marks going around the contour, the sides of the neck,
sides of the hand, the sides of the ears, the top of the head,
moving on the sides or around the ends it's going to seem
flat until we do something, a construction line,
constructed detail. Maybe the skull.
Until we move over with some kind of detail
we're not going to feel that third dimension.
So if we keep those long lines straight, we feel the
structural power of the stability. We start to lose
that fluid sense of potential energy and it starts to become
that dead part, literally it becomes a lifeless drawing
or painting or sculpture
until we feel that long axis curve. We won't always feel it
But if we feel it most of the time, let's say - and there's all sorts of
ways to sneak it in, in notice if we treat this
forearm as a straight stiff structure, it's
doing this kind of thing.
That cancels out and gets stiff and straight and let's
say for whatever reason I just had to do that, but I still
want to bring a curve in there, I can do it with -
there's several ways to do it - but I could do with the core
I like to change sizes too so that I'm not always drawing
exactly the same size. It's going to free me up for
little figures in a big composition, if I have to do a
big monumental work I'm not limited to
two inch heads say. That happens a surprising number of fine
artists will figurative artists will always paint their heads
so their figure's the same size. In a sketch class or in finished work
even and then they're stuck if they're offered a big
commission for a library or
petting zoo, something like that. Important career move.
They just can't pull it off.
So mix things up.
And notice how it rings true if you get the gesture, if you get
little or no structure that gesture will still do most of
the important work. If it's all just gesture then you just end
up with a stick figure and that's of no use you can't take
it any farther with any assurance that it's with any assurance that it's
going to be accurate. But if every once in a while in the
areas that aren't so important, say don't have important
connective tissue, the hands aren't holding something, the
feet vignette out of the composition. You can let
of the major body parts and I'll pick out the key muscles
that you really want to know something about and we'll look
at those structurally, gesturally. We'll look at the lead. We'll look at the
mechanics of them, the anatomy with bone and muscle working
together, and specifically we're going to look at joints . We'll
talk about the aesthetics carefully and how to bring this
all together into drawings as best we can that that are
really aesthetic and personal. How you can start
taking this information and by prioritizing and editing,
manipulating all those little tools of the trade as well.
Thanks so much for joining us.
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1. Course Introduction51sNow playing...
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2. Learning Recommendation24s
3. Structure & Gesture Review5m 57s
4. Human Figure as a Machine16m 24s
5. Balance of the Figure15m 11s
6. Learning Recommendation24s
7. Simplified Rib Cage18m 35s
8. Drawing Principles to Describe Anatomy18m 18s
9. Rhythms of Anatomy8m 51s
10. How Rhythm Relates to Construction8m 15s
11. Figure Warm-Up Poses15m 0s