Sunday, July 26, 2009


Portrait July 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Anatomy and the Artist

Summer of Anatomy

At the moment Comic-Con is going on just a bit south of here at the San Diego Convention Center. I think people know pretty early in life if they are comic book and/or science fiction fans. A number of video game and comic book artists work in San Diego, and that's how I heard about Andrew Loomis. These artists are the standard bearers of the mastering figure drawing cause. Aspiring young artists go to the convention hoping to show their portfolio to a pro. It's a charming and touching scene.

I am spending my summer, er, boning up on my anatomy. First I pulled my reliable An Atlas of Anatomy for Artists off the shelf, but still felt a little lost. A trip to the bookstore lead to a newly published book, Classic Human Anatomy: An Artist's Guide to Form, Function, and Movement. The difference between the former and latter is like that between a printed map and a GPS. There's a time for each; I'm really pretty thrilled with this brand-new book. Read the review here.

There is no wiggling out of studying anatomy. Just like life, you can't skip steps. Sooner or later lack of anatomy understanding will come back to haunt you. There's a dichotomy at play here: on the one hand you're supposed to draw what you see (easier said than done!) by breaking it down into simple shapes. On the other hand the human body is so complicated, you need to understand what you are looking at before you can pick out the simple forms.

I think a serious landscape or botanical artist would spend time studying the generic forms of trees. This is my lifetime third round of anatomy study, and it's turning out to be fun. Every tiny breakthrough helps. I was looking at my little (plastic!) skull the other day and it finally dawned on me just how a particular plane turns. Give it a try.

Outside the Studio

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has a Pompeian-themed exhibit, and the Getty Museum further west in Malibu, which replicates a Pompeian villa, has been renovated and reopened fairly recently. Great photos of sculpture to draw from (for your own practice, of course). Sculpture models are free and patient.

It's the warm season in half the world. Shorts and tank tops make it a lot easier to scope out those anatomy landmarks you've been studying.

Drawing-Tutorials-Online ... and Twitter recommends spending time on Draw along with the free videos and check out the instructional materials for purchase.Yep, is tweeting. Follow us on Twitter!

Wishing you the very best for all your creative endeavors! -Karla Mulry, Editor,