How to draw the human figure - Drawing muscles




Drawing Muscles

Not only is it helpful to understand proportions when you're drawing a human figure, but it's also helpful to understand the basic muscle structure that a person has. Since most of the time your subject that you'll be drawing has skin covering the muscles (if there isn't any skin on your subject - your subject better not be alive!!!), I think a simplified muscle diagram that shows the major muscles that you can see under the skin is in order. No need for those medical-looking charts where the muscles are all pink and look like plastic. Also, since your subject probably won't have the perfect body and has some degree of fat coving some or all of their muscles, that's another reason to do a more "real life" look at muscles. That's called "Artistic Anatomy", when we look at the human body not from a scientific or biological point of view, but from a point of view where we look at what you might actually come across in drawing a human being.

Here are the front and back views of a male whose major muscle groups are shown. This is what a male looks like with zero percent fat on the muscles. The detail of the hands and feet are not shown because we'll talk about drawing hands and feet further down the road.

Understanding where the muscles are and how they look will help you when figure drawing. If you study what the muscles look like and how they interconnect, you'll be able to understand what you're looking at when the figure is foreshortened in some manner. We will also discuss how to draw the human body when it is foreshortened elsewhere in this section. The muscle shapes change as the figure moves, either contracting or elongating, and if you understand how the muscles interact with each other, you'll understand more fully how and what to draw.

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