Specialisation Research- Anatomy and Materials

As my specialisation is Concept art I research anatomy mainly human as well as briefly some techniques on how to use some materials like Copic markers, charcoal and lead pencil.  Most of my research into anatomy relates to how to capture the human form rather than the technical construction. Whereas the research into Animal anatomy is mainly about how animals are constructed.

Here are the notes I found helpful or inspiring from some books I read on the subjects of anatomy.

Human Anatomy

“The study of this figure by the art student today is great, enlightening adventure, and must be seen in the context of new discoveries affecting the life of the modern man in the areas of time/space, fission and fusion of matter, microbiology, chemotherapy, psychotherapy and a host of other lines of investigation. “(Hogarth, 2003, p11). To draw the human figure it isn’t an “uncontrolled free expression” but the conclusion of preparation through research, understanding of anatomy past and present and experimenting and mastering different artistic forms (Hogarth, 2003, p11). From this, I learnt that even though art is a form of expression to draw something like the human body accurately you must first have a basic understanding and knowledge of how it works and what changes it and causes it to deform under certain conditions etc. Then you can twist the perception of which you see to fit your own artistic style, for example, to draw cartoon human characters, even though they are usually exaggerated, for them to appear normal and be an appealing/interesting character human anatomy will be considered.

Here are some notes on the development of drawing human anatomy that I found interesting.

The Renaissance was an eventful time in multiple fields of study including art. Some include Advancements in the knowledge of medical anatomy and physiology uncovered through human dissection lead to a greater understanding of anatomy in art. Development in mathematics in the “navigation and exploration” of the “geometry of space instead of planes” sparked the evolution of “visual perspective in the control and measurement of the third dimension with art”(Hogarth, 2003, p18). Developments in art occurred with new discoveries in science (Hogarth, 2003). The baroque era brought “realism of human personality” into art through involving aspects of daily tasks and activities into art composition (Hogarth, 2003, p21). As art became more expressive and abstract with artists exploring form, shape and colour the link between art and science weakened. As art was used to express and focused more on creativity rather than just depict realism from life (Hogarth, 2003). This again relates to both new styles of art like abstract but also cartoons and animation, which even though take their inspiration from life and replicate it in a way (animation to the next level with movement). Now art in our current era had no boundaries and can reflect or be composed of any subject matter (Hogarth, 2003).

Basic Proportion of the Human figure:

“Traditionally and historically figure is established as seven and one half head lengths. Ever since the artists of Greece developed its proportions some twenty-four hundred years ago..” (Hogarth, 2003, p69).

Although not all artists followed it as it didn’t work with their art style or the desired a different look such as giantism some artists included are Michelangelo, Durer and El Greco (Hogarth, 2003). To have a fixed mindset of the proportion of anatomy limits your art style and ideas. A lot of famous artists work like Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse as well as practically all art movements and even that of primitive artists would be excluded (Hogarth, 2003). Although artists aren’t limited to traditional proportions this doesn’t mean that it is just left to the artist’s judgement. The proportion should be in “proportion to its own era, and second, it must respond to the artist’s problems in his time.”(Hogarth, 2003, p70).

Proportion is now “established at eight and 3 quarter head heights” (Hogarth, 2003, p72).

“Front torso: 3 heads long. Shoulders to pubic arch. H1 ends across pectorals, h2 ends at the belly button and h3 ends at the pubic arch.

Back torso: three and a half heads long. Shoulders to buttocks

H1 ends at baseline of shoulder blades, h2 ends at the centre of oblique muscles (belly button) h3 ends at coccyx bone at the base of the spine (pubic arch) last half ends at baseline of buttocks.” (Hogarth, 2003, p73).

“Neck- half a head length long

Arm- 2 and 3/4 long from collarbone to wrist

Hand length 3/4 of a head” (Hogarth, 2003, p74).

“Leg-4 heads long from great trochanter to high inner ankle bone

Divides at midpoint of knee

Foot is 1/4 of head height

Foot length equal to forearm” Hogarth, 2003, p75).

Hogarth, B. (2003). Dynamic Anatomy Revised and Expanded. Broadway, NY: Watson-Guptill Publications.

These next notes on anatomy are taken from a different perspective and rely a bit on having a basic understanding of the human body and how to use it to create both realistic and capture movement in figure drawing,  with methods or ideas that can be used to create dynamic animated human characters.

Key concepts to consider when drawing (a lot based on life drawing but can be helpful for drawing in general):

Humanity, take in all that is around you and take time to experience what you are doing and notice all the little things that happen. When drawing (particularly from life) acknowledge the incredible position you are in, to draw a person, a living person and look at all the little details, the muscles, or the bones that can be seen, the pose they are in. The drama is very important, as it reflects the action/pose and the story or emotion it depicts. As well as the drama of force, shape, texture and depth all will bring your drawing to life (Mattesi, 2013).”You have a much greater opportunity to capture reality through what you conceive as an exaggeration of ideas than you do working on a dead representation of life via copying.”(Mattesi, 2013, pix). Emphasise whatever expression or essence the model gives you from their pose (Mattesi, 2013). From this, I see the importance of the experience of drawing from life and taking in the little details and things that we see that we don’t acknowledge or see as important, as these things can be the things that bring your drawings to life. Also exaggerating features can be used in the realistic drawing without making it less realistic in fact it can make it more realistic and capture more aspects of the pose of the mood of the model.

Assumption- don’t assume (Matessi, 2013). Meaning to draw what is in front of you not what you know from something you read or what its meant to look like.

Passion- “You must be passionate and driven to learn..” always give every drawing your best with the time you have (Mattesi, 2013, p xi)

Fear- “fear kills passion” and is detrimental to drawing. Don’t fear of failing which is to create a bad drawing, focus on capturing what you are drawing. Push your self, take risks and learn from the mistakes you make (Mattesi, 2013, p xi).

Hierarchy- don’t get caught up in the little details. Start with the main idea/force- the structure of the pose (Mattesi, 2013).

Notes from Chapters

Chapter1- Seeing life

Force or energy with purpose, it brings drawings to life through depicting dimension and movement. Use singular bold lines, that show direction and force, not sketchy ones as they don’t show direction or small “hairy lines” as they don’t allow you to build on it and show force. But you don’t have to get the line right the first time. Allow your hand to draw in the directions of the models pose/movement until you capture it.

Applied force- the line giving the drawing linear direction or path of force, but also how much force is being applied (Mattesi, 2013). Curved lines show force and show both direction and the applied force (Matessi, 2013, p14).The leading edge- “The leading edge is the edge of the body that leads a motion.” The largest amount applied force is at the leading edge (Mattesi, 2013, p17).

Rhythm- a combination of different forces in the body which helps the body stay in balance. Gravity causes our bodies to have rhythmic balance. “One line or idea is a force; two forces create rhythm.” The applied force is the result of an earlier directional force (Mattesi, 2013, p23).

When reading this it opened my eyes, when I drew both people and animals before I didn’t think about where the subject matter was putting most of their weight down and how the energy/force went through the body which depicts how the body presents itself in that position. I found it fascinating, but it all makes sense. Drawing that capture the force of the model/character are more dynamic, capture movement as well as being more realistic. Then forces create rhythm, which I think can be simply depicted through a line that shows the basic essence of the pose and an extremely simplified way of seeing how the force is travelling through the body.

Tips when drawing figures

“1. A men’s centre of gravity is in his chest, a woman’s closer to her pelvis. Women, in general, are better balanced because of their lower centre of gravity.

  1. Always pay attention to where the models head and centre of gravity are in comparison to his or her feet.
  2. Think about the model’s mass and forces and realise they have to be equalised on both sides of the centreline of balance in order for the model to stand. This does not have to occur when someone is moving. Then the body had time to compensate for its lack of balance.
  3. Notice the implications of gravity pulling on the model, squash in the feet, muscles working with and against it.
  4. When drawing the amount of pressure in the model’s feet, take into consideration the weight of the model.”(Mattesi, 2013, p28).

” The head must always coincide with the nature of the back.” The “head projects out of the rib cage and the neck does that job.” (Mattesi, 2013, p39).

“Force pointers

  • Find the rib cage and hip relationship first. Keep seeing how their relationship is asymmetrical and falls into one of the four previously discussed scenarios.
  • Stand and mimic the models pose. Start with the biggest ideas of the pose and work down to the small detail. Close your eyes and feel your body in that pose. Notice the stretched, torques, pressures, and gravity on yourself. Then push the pose and feel where it wants to go. Put those experiences into your drawing.
  • Watch the model move into a pose. Look at the directions their body swept into to take the pose there lie answers to force.
  • Draw with a clear directional force for each part of the figure.
  • Be passionate about the aliveness of the model and the pose. Draw your excitement.
  • Pay attention to your internal dialogue. Don’t be self-defeating.
  • Don’t worry about the drawing
  • Draw to feel what the model is feeling” (Mattesi, 2013, p54).

These all make sense to me, through utilising these it creates more realism and is helpful when trying to figure out how the body would react to movements. Taking some if not all these tips into consideration, I feel has made me look at how poses work and how the body interacts with itself. Although taking all of these on board sometimes isn’t possible depending on where and who you are drawing.

Chapter 2- Forceful Form

“Simple rules to help you become aware of perspective:

  1. The left point on the horizon line affects the left plane (side)of the box. The right point affects the right plane.
  2. This is inverted when you are inside the box. This comes into play when you do a room interior.
  3. When an object is below your eye line, the verticals are affected by the point above your eye-line.”(Mattesi, 2013, p57).

Drawing heads as cubes help as it is definitive, there is no confusion about where the head is facing. Also, angles of facial features can be defined by the angles of the cube. “Straight line evoke structure and perspective.”(Mattesi, 2013, p57).

When drawing figures in 4 point perspective, it’s important to take your eye level in reference to the model into consideration. Eye level becomes the horizon line. Other important factors are looking at “where the body seems to go flat for a moment, places that you can’t see above or beneath, where you are looking head-on at the model. See where the closest edge of the box of space that the model occupies is in reference to you.”(Mattesi, 2013, p61).

Look at what is closest to you and what overlaps and covers other parts of the body. An important concept in drawing anything. It produces depth in the drawing. (Mattesi, 2013).

“Foreshortening is shortening the lines in the drawing to create depth.” It shows depth in a drawing, especially when used with size. Often makes things appear like they are coming towards us. Example “when a leg, for instance, is foreshortened, look at the distance between the joints. Notice how close they are to each other.” (Mattesi, 2013, p89).

As I struggle with perspective, I found this helpful. Although I think of perspective more when drawing landscapes rather than the human figure. As I try to draw what I see, I feel that this allows me to capture perspective to an extent, although there is room for improvement. Some of the things he talked about like foreshortening and looking at how things overlap, although I noticed them when drawing, I struggle with both, I didn’t actually connect them to perspective. Now thinking about it makes sense and I am working on incorporating it more in my drawing, particularly how the feet, legs, arms and hands are positioned and layered, as well as foreshortening since it is most noticeable in these limbs, depending on the perspective you draw from. When I think of heads as a cube I feel like capturing the perspective of the head much easier. the notes on 4-point perspective I found extremely helpful as it allowed to understand what is 4 point perspective.


Mattesi, M. D. (2013). Force: Dynamic life drawing for animators. Burlington, MA: Focal Press.

I need to practice more gesture drawing on public transport and in the city is good but its hard to capture poses, especially when they work and trying to capture dimension. Should spend a long time on drawing, particularly gesture drawing, which with practice I will get faster at.

Through gesture drawing, and just anatomical drawing, in general, I look at things differently and my process of drawing has changed particularly from what I read from Mattesi’s book, as I’m now trying to capture the force, and starting to break down the body’s shape so I capture the force and rhythm before adding detail. Although my line work still needs work. As well as capturing the pose in perspective especially through involving foreshortening and overlapping body parts.


Lead Pencils-

Anatomic drawings, the first page is just is just some pencil drawings from life. The rest are anatomic drawings, a lot of them focussing on muscle structure as well as experimenting with different lead pencils/shades. Page 2 uses hatching as a shading method. Page 3 and 4 uses contour drawing. The arm on page 6 uses simple contour shading and smudging. I personally liked contour drawing the best, just works better, with some more work on graduation it will look a lot better, looks more natural too.

The difference between different values of lead pencil, and way that the darker shades are easier to smudge and feels softer/smoother to draw with.

Some shading tests are displayed under charcoal as it shows contrast.


The rocks show hatching and cross-hatching, the apple is an example of contour shading which works with the shape of the apple really well. Although some hatching was used as the basis of some of the shadows, and tonal change as it is easy and fast to do it that way.

Dynamic Anatomy Revised and expanded by Burne Hogarth


More gesture drawing and anatomy drawing. The foot drawing is complete, with various shades of lead, using the circular shading method.



unnamed (13)unnamed (10)IMG_6054IMG_5860

Some of these tests show the difference in using the same shading techniques in pencil and charcoal.

The effects produced by lead and charcoal by the same techniques are very different. the difference between willow and compressed charcoal. Layering and the different values of charcoal and lead are very important and extremely useful.

Copic Markers-   I learnt about how to shade with them, some stuff about shading and about colours I should get in the future, as well as how grey shades can be used to create darker shades of colour, through layering colours. How to blend colours through light to dark shades. This video built a bit on what Jazza said in the first video that I watched, but showed blending more in depth and with colours of different families (blue with yellow for example or pink with yellow). This repeats a lot of what is said before but shows it on a more practical way and was just good to watch for  more demonstrations

Copic Marker Tests:

unnamed (12)IMG_6235IMG_6232

Finished Concept: Lead and Charcoal

For a cross-discipline project for audio students, I designed a pass holder image for an audio track of a temple run. the landscape had to be a futuristic temple, with the incorporation of plants and rocky mountains in the landscape.

I then went through several planning stages including finding reference images, and then creating basic silhouettes of the entire landscape as well as just the mountains in the foreground and the temple itself, at each stage asking what the clients liked best and if there was anything they wanted to be combined. I labelled all my sketches with numbers for accuracy and to easily identify what they were referencing.

Concepts in stages:


Final Concept:



Hogarth, B. (2003). Dynamic Anatomy Revised and Expanded. Broadway, NY: Watson-Guptill Publications.

Mattesi, M. D. (2013). Force: Dynamic life drawing for animators. Burlington, MA: Focal Press.

Copic Markers



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