where to start?

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    i'm trying to start learning anatomy and i don't know where to start at all, any advice on where to look or how to start?

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    "classic human anatomy in motion" by valerie winslowe is where i started my anatomical journey! i can't recommend it highly enough. it takes you through the body from the inside-out: chapter 1 covers the bones + skeleton; chapter 2 covers joints & joint movement. chapter 3 covers muscles + tendons; chapter 4 covers muscles of the face + expressions. chapter 5 focuses on the muscles of the neck + torso; chapter 6 focuses on the muscles of the arm + hand. chapter 7 focuses on muscles of the leg + foot; chapter 8 covers body types, soft-tissue characteristics (mostly those of skin), & surface landmarks (things to remember & look for when drawing the body to help keep you on-course, like making note of landmarks around an area you've never been to so you don't get lost). chapter 9 covers structures & planes of the figure, or ways to break down anatomy into simpler shapes + the 'ridges' of these simplified structures that indicate where/how shadow & light fall upon the body.

    chapters 10, 11, 12, & 13 focus on how to capture all of that in motion! "gesture & action drawing", "finding movement within the stationary figure", "rhythmic movement", & "sequential movement".

    i'll give you a heads-up right now, it's a really dense book - almost 300 pages. the diagrams are incredibly detailed, each accompanied with sections of writing describing what they are, their respective roles in moving the human body, & how they work in tandem with each other. there are no stones left unturned, which is very helpful, but its length & complexity can make it a little intimidating to crack open.

    the way i worked through it (once! definitely won't be the last time, hehe) was by diving right into chapter 1 with a sketchbook to copy the diagrams as best as i could, & a notebook to copy the writings that come with them. it took me about 2 years to work through the first 8 chapters, but my goodness, it's worth the time & effort! i swear to you on my life! it might feel exhausting at certain points, but it's a small price to pay for the knowledge you'll have internalized for the long haul.

    another wonderful (& arguably, much more accessible) book that covers anatomy is "figure drawing for all it's worth" by andrew loomis. i'd start there, actually! he covers the skeleton, muscles, & planes of the figure in a more condensed manner that's much easier to take in; once you've worked your way through those small sections, you'll be familiar enough with the body to tackle the intricacies of "classic human anatomy in motion". (loomis' instructional artbooks are widely acclaimed as foundational resources - you can never go wrong with him! i had no idea how to draw a head until i picked up his book "drawing the head & hands"!)

    of course, there are endless anatomical resources for the taking on the internet, as well! search terms like "human anatomy resources", "human [muscle/bone/body part/etc] reference photo", & even "how to learn human anatomy" should take you down some fun online roads. as for individuals, stan prokopenko is a professional artist with a youtube channel dedicated to fun & accessible art study. sycra yasin is another professional artist with a youtube channel in the same vein. will terrell is another! and, of course, figure drawing exercises on line of action are incredibly helpful.

    heh, hope you don't mind the walls of text. i get very passionate discussing art, especially when it's with someone who's just starting out in something i have a little experience in. i am by no means an expert in anatomy, & i'm not a professional at all, but i still want to share all of the knowledge that i can! anatomy is a very intimidating subject that takes years of extensive & continuous study, but once you jump that barrier of entry & realize that you can indeed understand this kind of material (i was so worried i'd never be able to!), the rest falls into place. from there, it's just a matter of keeping up with your studies ^_^ but remember to take frequent breaks, too, okay? you don't want to rush yourself!

    i hope this was of some help! good luck to you & have fun exploring the beauty of the human form :+)


    thank you so much i appreciate your wall of text greatly and i will be buying figure drawing for all its worth tomorrow hopefully!!!!


    Good evening, Bitterfitz, and I agree with violet's comment/walls of text here. I highly recommend the books she suggested here, furthermore, go more into the gesture drawing with a timing app like Timer+ for your devices, but I like to have you try out this anatomy book like Anatomy for the Artist by Daniel Carter and Michael Courtney. It's got some very richly illustrated images of bones and muscles, and the instructive text is clear and easy to follow-through.

    As you can see, this book has some highly but generaly useful tips and tricks on drawing figures and anatomies. Not to mention some step by step instructions, great if you need to take them metaphorically, if not literally, especially when you do quick sketches with them. Furthermore, when it comes to timing yourself, it gets you more involved into practicing not just drawings, but also paintings and anything else.

    Hope these things and more have been the most supportive and useful in your current studies. Happy Practicing and good night.


    thank you so much for the reccommendation!! i will be looking into this book :-)

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