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Anatomy and Perspective in Drawing

Anatomy and Perspective in Drawing

Question from Bob Curtis

“I have double BA in Fine Arts and Sociology with advanced study in drawing using multiple mediums including markers, fine pens, pencils, pastels, charcoal and using Japanese brush.

How do I improve my drawing by using studies in anatomy and perspective”?

Answer from Vladimir London & Natalie Richy
Drawing Academy Tutors

Hi Bob,

The answer is in your question. You need to study human anatomy and principles of drawing in perspective.

A proficient fine artist draws not what he sees, but what he knows. So, having a necessary knowledge is important.

Anatomy and Perspective in Drawing

We will explain it on the following example. When you draw a portrait is 3/4 view with the head tilted upward or downward, you will have a challenge of positioning the head on shoulders so it looks natural. This is quite a complicated task if you don’t know that a human head is based on the atlas (top vertebra) at the point that is located quite close to the axis, which goes through the ear channels. So, the head rotates up and down around that axis. Here’s a quick check you can do – stand in front of a mirror, put index fingers in your ears and rotate your head up and down. You will see that your fingers do not move, but the head rotates around them.

Anatomy and Perspective in Drawing

With this knowledge, you can draw this axis in perspective and place facial features accordingly – if the head is tilted upward, the eyebrows will be higher than ears, and opposite, when the head is tilted downward, eyebrows will be lower than ears.

This is just a small point, illustrating the principle of “drawing what you know”. Without proper knowledge, you will inevitably make drawing mistakes when “copying what you see”.

From your message, we can see that your BA includes secondary non-essential fields of study instead of what is really needed for an artist to draw proficiently. We can only say sorry that contemporary art education does not provide necessary skills and knowledge to art students.

Markers, fine pens, pastels, etc. are just tools for drawing. It is good to have some practice in using them, but much more importantly, you need to have fundamental drawing skills like the knowledge of human anatomy and rules of perspective mentioned in your question.

It doesn’t matter what medium you draw in – with a Japanese brush or with a finger on dusty window – the rules of perspective and constructive drawing principles will be the same.

Anatomy and Perspective in Drawing

Anatomy and Perspective in Drawing

Anatomy and Perspective in Drawing

We have a few questions for you:

  1. Did your art teachers demonstrate how to correctly hold a pencil and insist on using those correct grips at all times?
  2. Did they show you professional tonal rendering techniques?
  3. Did you learn the constructive drawing principles in depth, including linear and aerial perspective?
  4. Did you learn human body anatomy and proportions to such extent that you are able to draw realistic figures and portraits from imagination?
  5. Did you learn how to apply golden proportions and rules of composition in your artworks?

If your answers are “NO” to any questions above, you need to consider filling gaps in your art education.

To learn traditional drawing techniques, you can enroll in the Drawing Academy course.

Learn How to Draw Human Figures and Portraits – Anatomy Master Class »

Natalie-Richy-avatarKind regards,
Natalie Richy and Vladimir London
Drawing Academy tutors

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