Anatomy I (Torso) Unit Plan

For full context, see the description of my Art Home School Curriculum.

Resources

It’s finally time to study anatomy. I’ve done some basic study of bones and muscles, but this month I plan to go deep into torso anatomy.

Proko Anatomy of the Human Body course

Many of the videos are available for free on youtube. This will be my primary resource this month.

Human Anatomy for Artists: Elements of Form, by Eliot Goldfinger

I’ll use this as my (very dry) reference book when I want more information about a specific part of the body.

Watts on Bridgman: Anatomy Study Guide, by Jeff Watts

I’m not sure if I’ll make it this far in one month, but I’m really excited about this book. He updates the drawings from Bridgman’s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life in a way that is easier to understand than Bridgman’s scratchy linear drawings. I’ve drawn about half of the drawings in the Bridgman book, but most of the time I didn’t really know what I was drawing. This book should help bridge that gap.

Art Parent

David Finch.

Challenges

None. I could try to “draw 100 torsos,” but I think that would just distract from my learning. Some challenges, like the 250 box challenge, make sense when combined with a perspective unit, but challenges like 100 head or 100 torsos make more sense after you already have a decent grasp of the subject (as I discovered in my Head Drawing I unit).

Inspiration

Deep Work — Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. I’ve been drawing for 3 hour blocks, but sometimes I get distracted. I want to improve my focus and minimize distractions.

Exercises

Master Studies

I’ll copy David Finch art for 45 minutes for each morning before work. If I work on the same drawing for a few days, then it becomes a master study. This worked really well last month with Frazetta. At first I tried to finish a whole drawing in a single session, but when I started taking as many sessions as necessary, the drawings improved greatly and I ended up with about 10 Frazetta copies that I really enjoyed doing.

Learn, Copy, Invent

I learned this workflow from Forrest Imel’s Beginner’s Guide to Art Fundamentals. This is his advice for studying any subject in art. First learn a concept. In my case, during this unit, it will be learning about a specific muscle, or how it inserts into a bone, etc. Next, copy that concept as other artists portray it. For me, that means drawing the proko example exercises, drawing from Bridgman, or drawing from anatomy books. The final, and most important step, is to try to reproduce what you learned from imagination. Put away your reference, and try to draw that muscle from different viewpoints and in different positions. Vary the size, the definition. Play around with it enough until it becomes part of your subconscious. I haven’t done near enough of this last step, and I think that’s the most important step to learning how to draw anything from imagination.

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