Anatomical Construction Drawing Vs Anatomical Reference Drawing

For this week’s post I compared two methods of drawing a person, working specifically on male anatomy. The first method was a way of constructing a person by dividing the person into four and building on a basic stick frame. The second method was simply drawing and painting from reference.

The Construction method was based on a brilliant video by a super artist and story teller, Mark Crilley

I’ve followed Mark’s work ever since I read his brilliant Manga Brody’s Ghost. So I thought I’d have a go at using his tutorial to draw a man.

NB: Now at the time I attempted this I’d just hit the Whitsun half term holiday and was really unwell. I’d been in bed for 36 hours with a big fever and massive head, neck and face pain. I was feeling quite sorry for myself.Β Β  I still like to draw even when I’m ill, mainly because drawing calms me down and helps me stay OK, but the results were not great.

Anatomical Construction Method

So I began with a basic stick figure construction…

I built on it…

I inked it…(the head is too big here.)

And then, later when I was feeling better, shaded and coloured it. (The shading was done with graphite and the colour was digitally added.)

It was OK, recognisably a man I think, but not what I was hoping for. I do find drawing without any reference VERY difficult.

Next I thought I would compare this to a sketching a male figure from reference.

Anatomical Reference Drawing

I used Michaelangelo‘s iconic Statue of David as my reference. It’s as good an example of male anatomy as I could find. I was also feeling much better by this point thanks to an excellent practice nurse who precribed the antibiotics which I needed. Since I was going to draw this on A3 paper and my reference was A4 I decided to use a grid to help me enlarge my drawing to the right size.

My first job was to mark the outlying edges of my figure, height and width…

Then I used my grid to make a basic sketch…

Once I’d done that I cleaned off my gridlines and worked on the details of the sketch…

Finally I painted it using Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolours. I used a purple (ultramarine, lamp black and Alizarin crimson) with a yellow ochre (yellow ochre pale toned down with a tiny drop of ultramarine to drop the saturation a bit.)

I painted large sections at a time so I could wet a whole area and use the residual dampness in the paper to soften all my edges…

Then I added some wet on dry marks to bring out certain shapes in the knees and face and hands. Finally, I used another purple with more lamp black in it to push the contrast. And here’s the finished piece…



So, what have I learned?

Well, first of all, while sketching still has a nice calming effect on me when I’m unwell, running a temperature over 38 deg C does affect my ability to draw properly. Secondly, I still struggle with constructing accurate anatomical figures without reference. Lastly, I am stronger and more comfortable at drawing with reference than without it.


10 thoughts on “Anatomical Construction Drawing Vs Anatomical Reference Drawing

  1. There is nothing wrong with them! I loved how you broke it down and showed how you did it. It reminded me of school when we had to draw an apple…lol I stunk and drawing anything back then and still do…lol Nice job!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.