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« Ecorche: Ribs | Main | Ecorche Drawings: Pelvis, Shoulder Girdle, Skull/Rib/Pel combo »

Ecorche: Spine and 2 more Skulls

Skull Proportion Studies
8 1/2 x 11 inches, graphite on mylar

I drew these skulls from life but first I constructed them based on rules of proportion. Now I have a bunch of questions for my anatomy teacher Andy (, because they still don't look quite right. I think in the upper left study I somehow inadvertently moved the top of the zygomatic arch up too high. And the lower one has some unidentifiable problems!

It's strange working with skulls... playing with proportions, both the drawings and the clay model of the skull just look warped and non-human, but as I adjust them they suddenly they start to approach a look I call "skullish", meaning suddenly they start to look like skulls.

I think we all have a template for what a skull looks like. I have noticed that at a certain point, the skull "locks in" (or at least gets closer) to the idea of a skull.

Spine Studies
8 1/2 x 11 inches, graphite on mylar

These spine studies are after Richer. His anatomy diagrams at first looked cold and a bit boring to me, but the more I copy them, the more I am impressed by the enormous amount of very precise information he packs in: gracefully at that, and with highly economical linework.

I spent a couple hours just blocking in these spines, but I got overwhelmed to think of drawing every little spinous process. I think I'll just draw ONE vertebrae from several angles!

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Reader Comments (5)

I wouldn't beat yourself up too much over the skull. There really doesn't exist a "correct" skull unless you're looking at a proportional set. Proportions and positioning can vary a lot from person to person and especially from race to race.

March 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSakievich

Hey thanks Peter :)
I'm not beating myself up though, that's what I call "fun" :))

You are right there is huge variety between people, but the huge variety still falls within a really narrow range - I'm not so much trying to make a perfect skull, just anything that falls within the range of human!

March 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSadie J. Valeri

I think the Richer book is one of the best books on anatomy out there.

They are very accurate and every line defines a form.

In the skull front it is an interesting study as this is the real personality of peoples faces, or at least the underlying structure that informs it.

Sadie I wonder how you think about the learning anatomy in context to having studied with Ted Seth Jacobs who is not partial to this kind of study.

Having taken classes with one of his students for a few months I had some very interesting discussions with him bout this subject.

March 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjeff

Is that a woman's or young teen's skull? The brow seems gentler than most men's. Of course mine is like a Neanderthal's so don't go by me.

Great studies Sadie!!

March 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Lynn Adams

Michael the proportions are supposed to approximate an adult male of european descent - although I may have gotten something wrong :)

Jeff I did get the philosophy from TSJ that close observation of the human form is sufficient, and that the study of anatomy is not necessary... I just can't imagine that more information would hurt! I find that TSJ's voice is in my head always, encouraging me to "draw a portrait of every shape" and to think about "what is in front, what is behind". I learned from him to see tapering, spiraling, convex, interlocking form, so I find his teaching is essential and fundamental to the study of bones... and next, muscles! I see errors in all the anatomy books that would benefit from TSJ's teaching.

March 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSadie J. Valeri
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