Draw Up­per Back Mus­cles

The struc­ture is sim­ple, but the anatomy is com­plex. Chris Le­gaspi a sys­tem­atic ap­proach to draw­ing re­al­is­tic up­per back mus­cles

ImagineFX - - Fantasy Illustrator -

To me, the up­per back is both a beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing sub­ject to draw. The struc­tures are sim­ple, but the anatomy is quite com­plex, be­cause the mus­cles are ar­ranged in mul­ti­ple lay­ers. So to help me draw up­per back mus­cles ac­cu­rately, I’ve come up with a lay­er­ing sys­tem for their con­struc­tion.

Be­cause of the lay­er­ing, the mus­cles will of­ten look dis­torted and un­recog­nis­able. To make sense of the anatomy, first I look for the ma­jor land­marks, the clues to what the back is do­ing. Next up, I vi­su­alise the ma­jor bones, and this guides me in con­struct­ing the mus­cles. The first layer of mus­cles are the “deep” mus­cles and next I fo­cus on them. Then I move on to the sec­ond layer of mus­cles – the su­per­fi­cial or sur­face mus­cles – which are more eas­ily seen. Fi­nally, I re­fine my draw­ing by adding smaller mus­cle shapes and other anatom­i­cal de­tails.

I’ll con­tinue to re­fine the mus­cle shapes and shadow shapes un­til I reach what looks like a good bal­ance of de­tail with the more generic anatom­i­cal shapes.

One of the tools I of­ten use to re­fine the draw­ing, and cer­tainly here, is shadow shapes. I’ll also use a com­bi­na­tion of soft and hard edges to help model and round the mus­cles off.

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