The aim of this exercise is to start with a found image but then build on it to create something more personal.
Find scientific and biological sources for animal anatomy in libraries and online; look for images that clearly show the mechanics of different animals’ bodies. Copy interesting images loosely, but make them into something more than a replica of someone else’s work by adding your own touches. Think about the parts that make up the whole, and about movement and stillness, emotion and detachment.
Use your compositional skills to position the subject within a believable scenario or space. You may want to use the scaling up grid or some other device to adapt found images and small studies onto a larger scale.
As you work, think about some of the things you’ve already learned about – positive and negative spaces, measuring, gestural and expressive line, etc. – to help you create more interesting drawings.
“In drawing, painting, and sculpting animals, one must begin with a general, understanding of the entire animal (shape, proportion), and then concentrate on its specific parts and details. This is called working from the general to the specific. For example, rough-out the shape of the entire animal first, define the shapes of the torso, the individual limbs, the head, and the neck, and then finally add the details of the individual muscles and tendons. Artwork can be embellished with the most numerous of details, but it must conform to a greater concept of larger shapes and volumes.”
Goldfinger, E. (2004) Animal anatomy for artists: the elements of form.
[Kindle -e-book] New York: Oxford University Press, location 239 [p.24
in converted pdf].
This is my finished drawing from the previous exercise and I chose this to explore in more detail in relation to the bird’s anatomy:
Bird characteristics: body covered in feathers; feet and toes usually covered with thickened skin (scales); three toes point forward and one toe points backwards and all four toes have claws; no teeth and a horny beak; short flexible tail (pygostyle) ends in a stout bone for supporting tail feathers.
Using my hen chicken drawing from the previous exercise as inspiration to explore further and having researched some of the anatomical and drawing guidance from my two chosen sources, I drew the outline of my ‘specimen’ chicken with a 3H pencil. Within the outline I then drew in the skeletal structure as I saw it from the source material to give an impression of that sitting within the basic outline. I think the skeletal structure is fairly accurate, although the anatomical placement is probably not totally accurate.
Next, I used indian ink pens; felt-tip pens and fineliner pens to add colour to the skeleton and also the body/feathers. Lastly, I marked in some of the major skeletal elements as indicators to the bird’s structure.
I chose to concentrate on this one subject rather than hop about between different animals to assess their anatomical differences because I was influenced by Eliot Goldfinger’s Animal anatomy for artists: ‘’Although each species is unique, with its own shapes and proportions, there are very close similarities between species because they all share a common ancestor”.
Goldfinger postulates that their is a basic body plan for all animals:
“There is a basic body plan common to most of the animals presented in this book. At its most obvious, they all have a head, a body, and four [two or] limbs. Most are four-legged and stand on all fours, and are described as having front limbs and rear limbs. The front limb is anatomically equivalent to the arm and hand in humans and primates, and the rear limb to the human lower limb. The animals in this book are surprisingly similar in many ways. The head is connected to the rib cage by the neck vertebrae and the rib cage is connected to the pelvis by the lumbar vertebrae. The two front limbs are connected to the rib cage, and the two rear limbs are connected to the pelvis. These units move in relation to one another, establishing the stance, or pose, of an animal. Animals differ primarily in the shape and relative proportions of these structural units, in the position of the wrist, heel, and toe bones when standing and walking, and by the number of their toes.”
Goldfinger, E. (2004) Animal anatomy for artists: the elements of form. [Kindle -e-book] New York: Oxford University Press, p.37.
Stuart Brownlee – 512319
14 August 2015