Can you help me paint a dis­lo­cated shoul­der? When I do it, it looks like bad anatomy! Joe McCarthy, Scot­land

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation | Artist Q&A -


Sara replies

Know­ing what hap­pens to the hu­man body when a shoul­der is dis­lo­cated will help you achieve your goal. In essence, the in­jury is caused by a dis­place­ment of bones.

The shoul­der is made up of three main bones that move around each other: the humerus, scapula and clav­i­cle. When the humerus is moved for­wards from its seat it causes an an­te­rior dis­lo­ca­tion, and when it’s moved back­wards it re­sults in a pos­te­rior dis­lo­ca­tion. When this hap­pens there are a num­ber of vis­ual clues you can paint to in­di­cate the in­jury.

First, the two shoul­ders of the sub­ject will look asym­met­ric. The del­toid mus­cle will ap­pear thin­ner and be moved down­wards, and above it the clav­i­cle and the acromion (part of the scapula bone) will pro­trude. The shoul­der will ap­pear ro­tated to­wards the in­te­rior or ex­te­rior part of the torso, gen­er­at­ing an un­nat­u­ral bend on the chest. These are the fea­tures that you need to paint.

I think that one of the most im­por­tant things you have to do when adding colours is to en­hance the light­ing on the clav­i­cle and acromion, to in­di­cate to the viewer the un­nat­u­ral po­si­tion of the shoul­der.

Once these el­e­ments are in place, you can em­pha­sise the in­jury by adding more de­tails, such as a rigid pos­ture of the arm. You could also paint some bruises, but these must be in keep­ing with how the char­ac­ter has suf­fered the sprain.

Here you can see what hap­pens to the shoul­der when it’s dis­lo­cated. The humerus moves away from the shoul­der joint. Once you’ve de­picted the in­jury ac­cu­rately, you can turn your at­ten­tion to the story of the scene.

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