Drawing Figures – Project: Structure


Research Point – Part 1:

Look at anatomy books or do a web search for anatomy images and see what you can find.  Make notes on how you can use this information to improve your figure drawing.  Try to do an anatomical drawing yourself.

Looking at the diagram of the skeleton itself, I am drawn to the following points:

Human Skeleton Diagram

Human Skeleton Diagram

  • the femur or thigh bone is the longest in the body
  • when standing up straight with arms down at the sides, the tip of the hands come halfway down the thigh, the elbows are about level with the waist
  • I’m reminded that the radius bone twists over the ulna in the forearm when the wrist is turned over – this can sometimes be seen beneath the skin when drawing
  • the position of the scapula or shoulder blades in the rear view, plus how small they are compared to my perception
  • the hip joints are below the pelvis – the top of the pelvis is often mistaken for the hip
  • there are radial/swivel joints such as the shoulders, hips, neck, wrists and ankles and there joints that bend one way only eg the knees and elbows.

This next skeletal diagram with the superimposed body around the framework of bones, shows tilts and weight distribution – very important when trying to capture gesture and stance when drawing the figure.

Female Skeleton Diagram

Female Skeleton Diagram
Showing tilts and weight distrubution

The musculature diagrams show how the frame-work of the body is fleshed out and how the shape of a figure can change.  These obviously show the muscle and connective tissue that a human figure has but, shape is also defined by fat around the muscles, and is grouped by differing body types.

Human Muscualture

Human Musculature

Scientifically, these are categorised into three main groups ie Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph.  Realistically, most people are a combination of two of these.

Body Types - Male

Body Types – Male

Body Types - Female

Body Types – Female








I also came across these images, which I found interesting, as they are of the figure during movement. They show how muscles contract and expand when in use.

Muscles in Movement  fig 1

Muscles in Movement
fig 1

Muscles in Movement fig 2

Muscles in Movement
fig 2











Example of flesh pressed against another surface

Example of flesh pressed against another surface

Another observation when life drawing I have noted, is how flesh reacts when pressed against a surface.  Being flexible and malleable, it squashes and spreads.  When this is captured in a drawing it further evidences solidity of the figure, whether it be its surroundings or when in a pose where legs are crossed over each other for example.


All diagram images sourced from the internet under free images search.