The life of an artist is hard because it takes constant work, establishing fundamental or principle skills which then require constant refreshing, and then building on. You’re basically attempting a never-ending race, because an artist is never truly satisfied with their own work or skill. So it’s obviously going to get very stressful and frustrating, sometimes.
This year I’m really wanting to double-down on my fundamental skills - which includes anatomy, colour and light, even perspective (ugh). I basically just want to constantly practise, with the intent to learn. But I want to find that sweet spot of challenging myself and doing new things, but also doing what I love, to try to avoid my passion turning into just WORK with no enjoyment.
So I thought I’d show an anatomy exercise I learnt doing my illustration course back in 2014, which is tracing over reference photos with the skeleton and muscle placement. This requires a good understanding of human anatomy, and is actually incredibly difficult because it requires you to think laterally in regards to how bones and muscles are positioned, including those which you cannot see from the outside.
And I gotta say, I was actually close to tearing my hair out by the end of this exercise - as you can see from the beginning I set myself 3 poses to do, but I just barely got through one of them in this video! It’s been years since I did one of these exercises, and I found it incredibly difficult, which just shows that I need to practise MORE of them!
Now, if you want to be a figure artist, then you’re going to need to learn anatomy, because it’s going to be very obvious when you don’t understand how the body works when you’re drawing it. And the unfortunate thing about drawing people, is people see other human beings every day, so even if a person viewing your art isn’t a scientist or an artist, they’re probably still going to be able to pick up on any errors in your anatomy - even if they can’t figure out exactly what’s wrong with it.
- The anatomy book I’m using in this video is Artistic Anatomy by Dr Paul Richer.
- If you live in Sydney and are interested in the illustration course I did where I learnt anatomy, head to http://www.productionartdepartment.com.
- The pose reference images I found are from http://figuresfordrawing.tumblr.com.
Watch the process here: