Anatomy of the Torso
Painter and illustrator Patrick J Jones continues his solid series on anatomy with an in-depth look at the bit in the middle
Publisher Patrick J Jones aking his cue from great teaching artists like Andrew Loomis, Patrick J Jones is capturing his knowledge in a series of videos about the human body. Anatomy of the Torso is the latest, following on from Patrick’s Anatomy of the Head twoparter (which we reviewed in issue 122). Each video works fine on its own, but collect the set and you’ve got a lot of wisdom at your disposal.
Patrick follows the same structure he used for his Head videos, drawing a torso from the front, then the back, then the side. There’s some basic measuring to establish proportions, and you’ll see how to locate landmarks around the body – certain bones or muscles that are easier to spot – as you build up the body structure. But Patrick’s emphasis is on helping you understand the body’s forms and shapes as you draw them, so that your figures feel like they’re living creatures rather than mannequins.
Patrick chooses to go with a woman’s torso, which should make this video extra-handy for certain male artists who don’t appear able to grasp how breasts and bottoms should look! The curves of the female body make it one of the most artistically pleasing things you can draw; Patrick shows how to show the best of women’s bodies without resorting to unbelievable shapes.
As Patrick moves from the back view to the side view, he also offers an enlightening discussion of how the body balances itself as it moves, and how to reflect that in your drawings. As with previous instalments, the beauty of Anatomy of the Torso is the way it shows drawings developing over time, so you can see how complex images have the simplest of foundations.
We look forward to future chapters, with the body’s limbs being next on Patrick’s list. But it would be good if he could sort out the audio recording, which suffers from hiss.
Patrick uses his finished paintings to show the principle he talks about. You’ll see how body parts seen from different angles relate to each other, giving you the confidence to try your own poses. From the earliest stages, you’ll see how to differentiate the female form from the male without resorting to over-exaggeration.