Anatomy for Artists: Basic Shapes

Professor Clara Lieu explains the “major masses” of the human figure, the largest forms: the head, rib cage, pelvis, and thighs. The major masses are angled in relation to each other, it’s a fundamental part of the way the human figure is structured and an important premise to grasp before moving onto the smaller, more specific parts of the anatomy. Prof Lieu illustrates how the major masses are oriented on the figure and how this contributes towards understanding the gesture of the human figure more clearly. 

Video Walkthrough

  • What are the major masses?
  • Identify the big shapes first
  • Prioritize the angles of the masses
  • Inaccurate anatomy charts online
  • The figure is not a stack of blocks
  • Draw the angles in relation
  • The angle of the neck
  • Identifying angles in a frontal view
  • Neck tilt in relation to rib cage’s angles
  • Pelvis in relation to the rib cage
  • Thighs and weight distribution
  • Angles of the lower legs
  • Get yourself into the pose
  • Exaggerate the angles

Movies mentioned

Books mentioned

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