This week has been a heavy anatomy focussed week for my art studies, so I hope the following is helpful to those who are tackling the figure/character drawing side of things!
And with no more time to waste; here's your weekly dose of my top resources, thoughts, 'aha moments' and announcements directly from my brain to yours from this past week.
- What I've been reading this week
Figure Drawing, Design and Invention by Michael Hampton
A staple of anatomy books! I highly recommend you check this one out
A great little tip you'll find in here is the idea to look for 'bony landmarks'.
Because they're not affected as much by fat or muscle growth so you can identify them on almost anyone which makes them a great place to start when you're building the forms of a figure.
For example, the clavicle, elbows and knees are great bony landmarks that you can see on everyone (take a look next time you're out and about!)
This one is a great book for anatomy study, although it's aimed at strength trainers (something I happen to be interested in, so that's a plus!) it has really nicely illustrated diagrams on the muscles and gives great context of when/why they are used.
Non art related...
The First 20 hours by Josh Kaufman
A great book about rapid skill acquisition, and one of my favourites when it comes to learning how to learn.
A great quote and is very applicable to art...
“Not being willing to jump in over your head is the single biggest emotional barrier to rapid skill acquisition. Feeling stupid isn’t fun, but reminding yourself that you will understand with practice will help you move from confusion to clarity as quickly as possible.”
― Josh Kaufman, The First 20 Hours, p. 30
- Videos/ Resources
This week has been heavy on anatomy, and I've only just re-stumbled upon these videos of his (some are 6 + years old) but go into great detail about all parts of anatomy. Will be mining these videos for nuggets of anatomical gold in the coming weeks!
This takes you to the course page, but there's a bunch free videos that'll be super helpful (not sponsored, just found it useful!)
This one has been great, and is fascinating to play with as well.
It's an app aimed at medical students, but has been super useful for seeing the relationships between the skeleton and the muscles.
You can add, remove and isolate muscle layers as well so you can really get an idea for where they insert and originate from.
There's a 3 day trial and I think you get the skeleton for free after the trial ends and the muscles/internal organs for a yearly subscription (not sponsored, just like the app)
The skeleton is useful enough, you'll just have to get the muscle info elsewhere in books/videos etc etc (which I do anyway)
- Thoughts and musings of the week
Asking the right questions and hunting for the answers
I'm finding my best study sessions (in any skill I'm learning) happen when I have a question to answer that I need to hunt down an answer for.
This makes the session super direct with a clear outcome.
This isn't always the best way to study, but I've been finding it helpful as of late when it comes to anatomy study.
For example, I started a session the other day with a question like "What is the relationship between the pec and the shoulder? How do the interact with the underlying bones?" Then I'll begin the hunt!
I'll scavenge through multiple different types of learning materials & resources including books, courses, apps, instagram, whatever!
It's also great to understand 'why' you're gathering this info in the first place as well.
My why/benefit of understanding this pec/shoulder relationship is to have a more dynamic feel in my characters arms and torso, allowing them to look more believable! (I also have a weird craving for understanding these things at a deeper level).
This 'why' question tends to keep me on track and I'll be using it as a tool for learning new things for the foreseeable future.
Also, when you're going on the hunt, I don't recommend waiting for the perfect study material to come along. Just start gathering material from everywhere you think has the answers & really attack the problem from multiple angles.
Hope you've been kicking some personal art goals this week!
And as always, stay consistent, use reference, have fun with it and remember; it's only pixels baybee!
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