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Drawing Marathon: Human Anatomy

Portrait Drawings, Jordan McCracken-Foster
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Jordan McCracken-Foster, Concept Artist & Illustrator

Jordan McCracken-Foster
Concept Artist & Illustrator

Prompt

Using reference from photos (or from life), draw the assigned number of heads, arms + hands, or legs + feet in a specific time frame. 

This project can be formatted differently depending on the time frame you want. For example, if you assign 30 heads in one week, that would be 5-6 drawings per day.  Or you can format by month. 

Core Ideas

Anatomy, Proportion, Repetition, Consistency

Recommended Courses

Supplies

Art Supplies: Tombow Mono High Quality Drafting Pencil
Art Supplies: Copy Paper

Process

1.  Find good references in sources like Muybridge’s The Human Figure in MotionSports Illustrated, Dr. Paul Richer’s Artistic Anatomy, etc. 

2.
Sketch one body part for 5-10 minutes, making each drawing about 2″-3” tall. Set a timer.

Examples

Alexia Towle

Alexia Towle
Project Assistant

“This project was a great way to practice faces in a way that combines realism with my own stylized flair! As someone who wants to go into animation, this balance is very important to me but I often struggle with either making faces look too ‘cartoony’ or too realistic.

With the faces I chose to draw, I experimented with different ages and ethnicities. The biggest challenge was drawing people with wrinkles. I tried to avoid just drawing a younger face and then adding wrinkles afterwards. For both the faces and the hands, I lightly sketched the defining shapes and features, then added details, and lastly added bolder lines and shadows to create dimension.

I also found that having a time limit was good for helping me find the most important parts of the faces and the different features. This is definitely an exercise that I will continue to do so that I can improve my drawing skills!”

Iris Yip

Iris Yip
Intern

“I really enjoyed this project since it gave me an opportunity to get in a lot of solid practice. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but there was a noticeable difference in the way I drew in the beginning, and the way I did at the end.

It’s super useful when it comes to overcoming art block, because these individual drawings are so quick and easy by themselves, but they really get you going. However, altogether, it was a lot of work that I definitely underestimated in the beginning. Still, I thought it was especially helpful in terms of self-realization. It seriously highlighted some of my more common quirks and mistakes.

It’s also super interesting, since you start noticing patterns and stylization that recur despite the difference in subject matter. Overall, I thought it was a great activity that gives you gives you the push you need if you’re ever stuck, or feel yourself plateauing.”

Stephanie Gibadlo

Stephanie Gibadlo
Project Assistant

“This project was very beneficial for me because it provided me a great structured way to practice anatomy. As someone who likes to draw semi to completely realistically, I often need to practice anatomy whenever I can to improve my skills.

I hadn’t practiced drawing hands for a while, so I decided to do the sheet of hands first. It took a bit to get the hang of it, but I definitely think that the repetitive nature of this drawing assignment helped me to improve my hand drawings skills.

For the second sheet, I decided to draw as many types of faces as I could to improve my ability to show different faces in my art. I decided to draw three different age groups, and had an absolute blast! I also feel that the more I drew, the better my faces became and I’m very happy with the results.

This is a project I feel like I’ll do again someday!”

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