Thursday, October 25, 2012

Studying Anatomy

One of the main focusses of my drawing recently has been trying to make my figures appear more anatomically correct. I never really thought about this properly up until relatively recently, when I realised that even if you wish to have a stylised approach to drawing, a solid understanding of anatomy and the structure of the body really does help give your work that little extra polish and professionalism. For game concept art it'll be crucial to understand muscle structure so that I can create believable characters, or exaggerate features in the correct way.

I have decided to go about developing my anatomy in two ways: doing more drawing from life, and studying anatomy from books, tutorials, etc. (I briefly went into this last year).

One book that I've bought is Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth. Hogarth had a masterful grasp of anatomy which he demonstrated in the Tarzan newspaper comic strip, and this book is regarded worldwide as a classic text on artistic anatomy. 

It was first published in 1958, so the language isn't as simple and easy to follow as modern how-to art books, but the extensive range of drawings and detailed description of muscle groups makes it a very valuable reference.

I've learnt a lot already only from scanning and reading a few chapters; I've tried to correct the way I structure the head and facial features, though I find it a bit difficult creating the shape of the head that Hogarth describes, particularly from a low angle. and my faces always seem to end up looking to cramped towards the centre.

I'm also aware that I really need to study and practice the structure of shoulders, arms, legs, and just about the whole body... 

(I'll put scans here soon)

I went to a Life Drawing class here at the college (I hope to start going regularly - I attended whilst studying A levels and it was an invaluable part of my portfolio). It was a little strange drawing from life for the first time after so long, and it was fairly clear that I need to practice this more as my figures' proportions were completely off at first. I enjoyed working with white chalk on a black background, and generally allowing myself to be expressive with the medium - it's good to get away from digital art every now and then.


I'm hoping that after I learn more about the muscle structure of the body, my life drawing will become more lifelike.

I'm going to start carrying a small sketchbook around and drawing from life whilst I'm out and about - it'll be a good way to pass the 1-2 hour commutes to and from uni every day (although I get quite self-conscious whilst drawing in public). Learning to quickly capture the features or stance of a figure as they are in motion is an important skill to have for animation and storyboarding. 


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