Anatomy Drawing Demonstration
University of Dayton Drawing Demonstration Fall 2013
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Skeleton 30" x 24" water soluble colored pencils on gessoed paper
University of Dayton drawing studio. Drawn from authentic skeletal remains.
Step 1 Indicate height
Because this drawing will vignette at the top and bottom I'll use the angle of clavicles as my upper fixed point and the tip (head of the distal phalange) of the index finger as my lower fixed point. This lower point also appears to be as far south as the bottom of the patella.
I've indicated where I think the lowest ribs will be but am more certain that my half height indication on the west side of the drawing is exactly at the bottom of the humerus. Just a little south of the bottom of the humerus is the top of the pelvic bone (iliac crest). The bottom of the pelvic bone (ramus of ischium) is closer to my lower fixed point than it is to the half and I indicate it. The east angle of the pelvic bone is very obvious, I draw it certain of the degree but not yet certain of it's placement. I've only really indicated measurements of height so I'll use this side of the pelvic bone to build the drawing because I am confident that the height and this angle of the pelvis are accurate.
The height of the pelvic bone is 1/3 the distance from it's bottom to my upper fixed point; the sternal ends of the clavicles. The width of the pelvic bone is found by comparing to it's height and indicated. I can see that almost directly above the western edge of the pelvic bone is the funny bone (medial epicondyle of the humerus) and the western side of the ribcage also lines up nicely on this north/south road I am visually driving. A vertical line from the eastern side of the pelvic bone is drawn. I've lightened the bottom of the rib cage because I'm not yet confident it is correctly placed.
I build the drawing. As I draw I constantly check where I'm going by comparing and seeing what is directly above and below? What is directly east or west?
Now I'm on a roll. The more I accurately see and indicate the easier it is to accurately find.
When I desire to be accurate, I look three times, measure twice and hopefully draw once. My hand is smearing the drawing but this build up of tone will allow me to lift out some lights with a kneaded eraser a little later.
I've already switched to a darker pencil and continue the process. My earlier indication of the bottom of the rib cage was ok. It may have been the absence of the floating ribs that made me question my marks.
The head of the humerus is erased and moved east. When drawing from a model or a skeleton I use directional terms instead of "left" and "right" because our left is the model's right etc. That terminology can also help us think of the model/skeleton as a two dimensional map and make the translation of a three dimensional subject onto a two dimensional surface easier.
Smaller shapes, strengthening and refining contours, lifting out lights with a kneaded eraser. A disclaimer for my pre-med students: because of the way the hand is re-attached, the two bones of the forearm are not in the correct position. The radius should rotate over the ulna with the hand in this pronated position. I've drawn it as it is rather than how it should be.
I use a variety of water soluble pencils to hatch and then round and flat watercolor brushes loaded with water to blend and smear. The reductive technique of lifting out color and tone by brush and paper towels follows and more drawing. The gessoed surface allows the color to be lifted easily and also provides a nice tooth for drawing back into areas that were re-wetted with a spray bottle.
View from my position