P115 Project: Structure – Research Point

Look at anatomy books or do a web search for anatomy images. Make notes on how you can use this information to improve your figure drawing. Try to do an anatomical drawing yourself.

“I’ve heard it said, and I agree, that it is difficult to draw a flower, or an arm, or a nose because our brain tells us it’s a flower or an arm or a nose, so directs us to draw what we ‘know’ rather than what we ‘see’. Drawing negative space involves drawing shapes, which have no name. Our brain, or at least our memory, is taken out of the loop and we can concentrate on what we see.”

I wrote this as part of my log of an exercise in Unit 2. I still agree with the sentiment. As a result I found this research piece a little perplexing. One of the aims of the course, I believe, is to improve the student’s observational skills. To me this means if you see a hollow on a leg, you draw a hollow on the leg. You do not draw the soleus muscle. If you see a lump on a wrist, you draw a lump on the wrist, not the end of the ulna bone. You draw what you observe, not what you know is underneath the skin.

Nevertheless I have treated myself to a copy of Drawing Anatomy by Barrington Barber. The 350 pages of this book is filled not only with drawings of bones and muscles, but also drawings of different parts of the body by master artists. As I have always had problems with hands and feet (and I know I am not alone in this!) I looked at some of the pages for these. Unfortunately the book is quite tightly bound so scanning was difficult.














However, having studied these diagrams, I cannot immediately see how I “can use this information to improve [my] figure drawing.”

In addition, I do not understand what the last instruction about “doing an anatomical drawing” myself. Does this mean a) simply copy a diagram like the ones above (pointless) or b) get hold of part of a skeleton and draw that (difficult) or c) draw part of the body as normal but bearing in mind ‘what’s underneath’?


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
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