Figurative Artist Handbook: Modeling the Form – Part Two

Drawing New York is thrilled to partner with artist Rob Zeller, author of The Figurative Artist’s Handbook to offer our members a ‘serialized digest’ of his extremely popular and beautiful book. Each week we will bring you new topics and techniques relating to figure drawing so check back often.

Blocking In With Anatomy, Light, and Shadow

PLANAR CONCEPTIONS

Steve Assael – Drawing demonstration.

These two charcoal sketches by the artist Steven Assael, one from early in the process and one when he was finished, demonstrate many of the important concepts I discuss in this section of the book. Notice in lefthand image how Assael first broke down the rib cage, pelvis, legs, and arms into major planes. Then he modeled the forms in greater detail, capturing how the soft flesh of the surface form travels over the top of these planes, rounding off their edges. The intensity of light on these forms was dictated by how much they faced the light source. Great figure drawing always addresses two considerations: the underlying planar/architectural structure, and the structure of the light and shadow hitting the softer surface forms.

LEFT: This workshop demonstration shows the early stages of his process. Note the areas where the planar conception will (ultimately) evolve into anatomical and surface morphology.

RIGHT: Light on form cannot be properly rendered without first understanding the surface planes that make up the largest masses of the figure.

Essential Bones and Musculature

These diagrams represent sections of the body that I scan over when taking anatomy into consideration. I look for how an area is put together as a whole. At minimum, you should know these bones and muscles.

 

THE BONES OF THE LOWER BODY:
1. pelvis
2. femur
3. tibia
4. fibula
5. various foot bones: a. talus, b. cuneiform,
c. metatarsal, d. proximal phalanx, e. distal phalanx

THE MUSCLES OF THE LOWER BODY:
1. tensor fascia latae
2. sartorius
3. pectineus
4. adductor magnus
5. gracilis
6. rectus femoris
7. vastus lateralis
8. vastus medialis
9. tibialis anterior
10. gastrocnemius
11. extensor digitorum longus
12. fibularis

THE BONES OF THE UPPER BODY:
1. skull
2. ulna
3. radius
4. humerus
5. scapula
6. thorax (rib cage)
7. spinal cord (vertebrae)

THE MUSCLES OF THE UPPER BODY:
1. extensor carpi ulnaris
2. flexor carpi ulnaris
3. biceps
4. triceps
5. flexor digitorum superficialis
6. deltoids
7. latissimus dorsi
8. pectoralis
9. serratus
10. external oblique
11. abdominals

 

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Top Left: This workshop demonstration drawing by Steven Assael shows the early stages of his process. Note the areas where the planar conception will (ultimately) evolve into anatomical and surface morphology.

Contributor at DNY
ROBERT ZELLER is an artist, writer and teacher who lives and works in Oyster Bay, New York. Zeller, is also the director and founder of the Teaching Studios of Art in Oyster Bay, New York.
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Rob Zeller Author
ROBERT ZELLER is an artist, writer and teacher who lives and works in Oyster Bay, New York. Zeller, is also the director and founder of the Teaching Studios of Art in Oyster Bay, New York.

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