Building New Muscles: Anatomy For Artists, Rib Cage Study

Building New Muscles – Figure Drawing Class

For me, learning these days is all about “building new muscles”.

Hi!  Let me explain what I mean.  You see, I have been taking a drawing class titled “Elements of Figuring Drawing, Anatomy for Artists” for the past few months.   It is an online class through The Art Students League of New York.  And, the instructor is artist Michael Burban.

Building New Muscles: Learning to draw the skull and face

What is wonderful about the class is that it is taking me deeper into figure drawing.  Hmm, so what does deeper mean?  In my case, it includes studying and learning how to use the skeleton as the basic structure of the figure.  I am getting the idea on a basic level and, with time, maybe I will become more conversant.  That is, I will be able to construct figures using observation, knowledge, and imagination.  And, these skills are what I mean when I say “building new muscles”.

In the mean time, we start with the afore mentioned basics.  At this time, we are studying the different parts of the skeleton.  Then, I gather, we will study the muscles and how they fit with the skeleton.  Why?  Because the muscles and skeleton influence the surface of the figure.

Building New Muscles: Portrait, 3/4 view

I’m still learning these ideas, so they do sound kind of rough or vague.  So, let’s see if I can explain what I’m studying in another way.  So, for example, it is one thing to know a drawing of a figure has a leg that looks “wrong”.  It is another thing to know what is wrong about the leg and how to fix it.  And, to fix it consistent with the style of the drawing.

Yes, I think you could say the class is about getting into the details of the human anatomy in a way that is helpful to artists.

As an aside, I would like to say this is not the first art anatomy class that I have taken.  I am thrilled that the information I learned from Sarah Burns“Anatomy for Artists” is helpful and applies to this class as well.  Not so surprising, though, as Sarah is an excellent instructor.  And, what we studied in her class prepared me for what I am learning now.   I would say learning to draw the figure is not so easy and takes time to study.

Building New Muscles: Long Pose focusing on the back

So, what does all of this mean for me and my artwork?  Well, I am learning to work in a realistic manner.  Or, rather understand and draw the human figure in a realistic manner.  Does that suggest I am giving up my “Peggy style” of drawing the figure?  Maybe and maybe not.

What I hope is that I will have the needed drawing skills to apply to whichever way I need create a particular drawing or painting.  If I want that leg to look wonky, I can do so.  Conversely, if I want the leg to look natural, I want to be able to do that too.

And, then, there are the knees!  And, perspective! Oh, and, not to forget proportions.  So many things to learn, but I digress.

So, I have not been producing new paintings for several months.  That is hard for me to say because the desire is there.  However, learning how to draw the human figure in a natural, realistic manner is something I want to do.  And, it takes time and effort.  In other words, I am committed to developing these new muscles.

Speaking of muscles and drawing, I am learning to study drawings by the Masters, starting with Michelangelo, de Vinci and many more.

Plus, the instructor, Michael Burban, has the ability to relate the exercises to wider lessons in art history.

So, to summarize, I’ve been taking the class “Elements of Figure Drawing, Anatomy for Artists” instructed by Michael Burban  through The Art Students League online.  I call this a time period for “building new muscles” because I am learning and developing new drawing skills.  And, I like it!

Building New Muscles: The Figure In Times Of Trauma

4 thoughts on “Building New Muscles – Figure Drawing Class”

  1. Thank you for sharing what you are learning, Peggy! It is fascinating what you are studying, and I enjoy seeing your drawings. You are an inspiration!

  2. And Feet!!! I’ve been practicing figure drawing at the Croquis Cafe – it is free online and has models posing on video – it’s almost like being there. Great way to practice between classes. I am preparing for when I can do a live class again – hah! I need to learn to draw feet. Peggy, where are you? Is this transition why you are not on Instagram anymore?

    1. Hi Dan, Yes, and feet! Our instructor emphasized placing the feet in relation to the head – right at the beginning of the drawing session. And, it turns out, I find it challenging! Oh, yes, and then there is how to draw feet…

      Wonderful to read about Croquis Cafe; I’ll have to check it out! Yes, it would be great to practice between class sessions.

      Regarding Instagram and social media in general. I have slowed down due, in part, to classwork and a change in creative interest. Also, I sometimes get discouraged by social media’s dark side. I had a moment where I deleted all my social media accounts. Since then, I’m slowly creeping back. I just restarted Instagram yesterday. So, I extra happy you posted a comment. Now I can make sure I find you again on Instagram! Thanks!

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