De­pict mus­cle groups ac­cu­rately

Brynn Metheney con­tin­ues her se­ries on an­i­mal anatomy by re­veal­ing how com­plex mus­cle groups can be sim­pli­fied, to help build up an an­i­mal’s form

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Ver­te­brate anatomy is con­sis­tent and as you study, you’ll no­tice that mus­cle groups be­tween dif­fer­ent an­i­mals are sim­i­lar, if not the same. Just like with the skele­tons in my pre­vi­ous les­son, it’s only the shapes and sizes that are ex­ag­ger­ated and de­spite a few dif­fer­ences, ver­te­brate bod­ies all share the same ba­sic mus­cle sys­tems.

When draw­ing out mus­cle stud­ies of an­i­mals, it’s im­por­tant to start out with a wire­frame and then ba­sic skele­ton

Cre­ate a wire frame

We need a skele­ton to at­tach these mus­cles to, so I be­gin with my 2H pen­cil and lay out a quick ges­ture. This is of a canid (a dog) walk­ing. I’m not wor­ried about de­tail; I just want the shape, pro­por­tion and mo­tion. ges­ture. Us­ing a harder lead for this will help keep the draw­ing light and work­able as you move for­ward with your mus­cle study. You’ll no­tice that my canid skele­ton isn’t de­tailed, but the ges­ture and pro­por­tions are in place so that I can build on top of it with my red Col-Erase pen­cil. These pen­cils are great be­cause you can easily range from dark to light.

You’ll no­tice that these pen­cils do wear down quickly. If you’re draw­ing from life, it’s a good idea to have a few ready to go with sharp­ened tips, just so you can switch them out quickly and not waste time sharp­en­ing.

You’ll no­tice that once I have my skele­ton in place, I lay in ba­sic mus­cle groups. As you study more an­i­mal and hu­man anatomy, you’ll be­gin to look for these land­marks in your draw­ing.

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