Artistic Anatomy Lecture: Intro for Beginners

Art Prof Clara Lieu introduces the first of a series of videos explaining basics of anatomy for artists. Prof Lieu explains the reasoning behind why understanding the fundamentals of human anatomy are extremely useful for figurative artists. Using examples from art history, contemporary art, and her own artworks, Prof Lieu talks about the many challenges of learning anatomy, how do you strike a balance between the technical aspects of anatomy and the creative side of creating figurative artwork? What drawing exercises and drawing habits can you form to enhance your knowledge of anatomy? Do proportion systems, measurements, rulers, and figure diagrams help or hurt the artistic process?

Video Walkthrough

  • Psychological baggage of creative figurative artwork.
  • Figurative artwork is narrative.
  • Andrew Loomis’ books are a good reference, but they are out of date.
  • Learning anatomy allows you to distinguish between muscle, fat, skin, bones, tendons, and more.
  • When you can visually identify what you are looking at on the human figure you’ll know what to expect.
  • Knowing what the interior structure is helpful to building the figure.
  • Drawing from a live artist model in person is ideal, but it’s not available or accessible to many people.
  • Drawing from photos is not the only option to practice drawing the figure.
  • You can sketch people at a cafe, at the library, at school, at home, they don’t have to be sitting perfectly still.
  • Studying anatomy doesn’t have to be very formal and academic.
  • Don’t isolate anatomy from your other art skills, it’s simply a tool.
  • Anatomy can be subtle and worked in more naturally into your drawing so it’s not the main event.
  • Anatomy provides consistent landmarks that appear on every figure, no matter their shape or size.

Books mentioned

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