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Entries in ecorche (15)


Ecorche: Upper arm and some deep leg muscles

Bones and muscles, anterior view
Graphite and colored pencil on vellum, 8.5 x 11 inches
Ecorche/Anatomy class with Andrew Ameral

Ecorche drawing homework: Andy gave us a photo of a living model, front and back views, and we had to draw an overlay of the skeleton, and then another overlay of the muscles we have studied so far. Oh, and label them.

Bones and muscles, anterior view
Graphite and colored pencil on vellum, 8.5 x 11 inches
Ecorche/Anatomy class with Andrew Ameral

I did the drawings copying from Richer's anatomy book and handouts Andy has designed for the class.

Below is the current state of Sid. The class has been going nearly every Saturday for 5 months now, and tragically I am going to miss the last three classes due to a previously scheduled vacation. I'll get more muscles done on the upper legs in class next week, but that's it. Luckily Andy has given me the opportunity to finish up later.

I have learned so much from this class and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to take it!


Ecorche - Shoulder/Torso muscles

Ecorche / Anatomy class with Andrew Ameral

I'm still working on my ecorche, yesterday I added the muscles of the scapula and also finally some major surface muscles - the pectoralis and the latissimus dorsi. Next is the deltoid - it's fun to see "Sid" start to flesh out a bit!


Ecorche: Neck and face muscles

I have begun to add face and neck muscles to my ecorche skeleton. I've also added the shoulder girdle bones - the clavicle and scapulae -  since I last posted photos.

The bones are difficult because the forms are so intricate and precise. And beyond all that... the muscles are just impossible!! All those layers of overlapping and interlocking forms, all squishy and stretchy..... Andy makes it look easy!


Ecorche Skeleton

An update on my ecorche done in Andrew Ameral's Anatomy/Ecorche class.

Most the skeleton is at least roughed-in and now we have started adding the major muscles of the face - and even an eyeball!

The right half of the skeleton will be refined and stay exposed. The left half will have all the muscles.

Therefore, I have only carved the ribs on the right side where they will be seen!

The whole skeleton! The legs and arms are still very rough but it's mostly there. The whole dude is about 30 inches high.

He needs a name. Yes, he is a he. Any suggestions?

Now offering Summer Specials on my Figure Drawing and Still Life Painting June workshops at Bay Area Classical Artist Atelier. Visit my Teaching Page for more info.


Ecorche Drawings:Master Copies

Ecorche after Prud'hon, 8.5 x 11 inches

graphite pencil on mylar

One of the reasons I decided to take Andrew Ameral's anatomy/ecorche class is I hoped it would help me learn to draw from my imagination. The drawings here are my pencil copies from Prud'hon academies, but I drew the bones on trace paper overlay completely without reference.

Ecorche after Prud'hon, 8.5 x 11 inches

graphite pencil on mylar

Not that these bones are perfectly correct, but I could never do anything like that before.

I am almost done with my clay skeleton and this week as a class we will be moving on to the muscles. I'll be posting photos of my skeleton soon.


Ecorche - Skull Refined

As Andy says: "Really nerd out on all the little details"! It was fun to spend the day doing all the tiny refinements that make the structure of the bones feel both delicate and strong. I was thinking, just like with painting, it's so important to notice the difference in edges - sharp versus rounded, and everything in between.


Ecorche: Ribs

After refining the basic "flattened egg" shape of the ribcage, I was finally able to etch the ribs and carve them out a bit. The hardest part was getting the distribution and spacing correct: 10 attached ribs, 2 floating ribs, each spaced equally apart! A hint: The 8th rib at the back lines up with the 5th rib at the front.

The skull has been refined a bit - I look forward to "nerding out" on the details!

More info about my ecorche/anatomy class with Andrew Ameral:


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!


Ecorche Drawings: Pelvis, Shoulder Girdle, Skull/Rib/Pel combo

Two views of the Pelvis
graphite on mylar, 8 1/2 x 11 inches

More studies for my Ecorche Anatomy class with Andrew Ameral. Two solid studio days of just drawing bones, what fun!

Side view of the Pelvis
graphite on mylar, 8 1/2 x 11 inches

I'm also continuing to refine my clay figure, but it's coming along very slowly! I have massed in my ribcage, pelvis and spine, but I won't bother to post photos till they are more developed. Will hopefully post some photos of a prettier skull this weekend.

Shoulder girdle studies
graphite on mylar, 8 1/2 x 11 inches

Studies of Skull, Ribcage, Pelvis relationships
graphite on mylar, 8 1/2 x 11 inches

Most these drawings are copies from anatomy books (sometimes composites from several), only the pelvis drawings are from life.


Ecorche - Pelvis Drawings

Posterior and Anterior views of the pelvis, graphite on mylar, 8.5x11 inches, done for Andrew Ameral's Ecorche class

I have to do 5 by tomorrow, I'm still working on the other 3.... this Friday night will be spend at the studio!

The real human pelvis I bought at the Bone Room is great to have, much easier to see the forms than when looking at the anatomy books. But it's a bit tilted/twisted (the poor old lady must have had a hard time walking at the end of her life!) so I draw from a combination of the books and the real specimen.

My studio setup at the moment:


Ecorche: Skull

Continuing on with Andrew Ameral's Ecorche class I'm taking through June.

Andy showed me where my proportions were off in my previous version, and after fixing it up, the skull is looking a bit more skull-ish. This version has not had Andy's critique yet, I'm sure there are still lots of things to fix.


Ecorche - Skull and ribcage drawings

Here are this week's anatomy drawings to prepare for my ecorche class on Saturday.

All of these are on 8.5 x 11 inch, graphite pencil on mylar. Oh, since I was asked in an email, this is the mylar I use. Be careful and read the label before you buy it at the store, though - it's really easy to buy the wrong stuff, the clear acetate pad looks almost exactly the same. (And it does not come in 8.5x11, Andy requested we do our assignments in this format so I cut down sheets from a larger pad).

Figuring out how to do the correct spacing on the ribs was the challenge. I did not realize how hard it was going to be. I can;t imagine sculpting this.... I guess I'm about to find out!

I really like the stage of drawing where I get to play around with tiny subforms and see all the crazy shapes nature can perform. But with the ribcage, it was all just blocking-in and measuring, no time to explore the fun details of the morphology.

I have a feeling there will be more ribcage drawings assigned next week though, so maybe I'll get my chance.

Sooo tired, but having a lot of fun!


Ecorche - The skull is refined a bit

Today I worked on my ecorche skull for about 4 more hours and did not get close to finished.... I never knew I could spend so much time on 3 inches of clay! I think I over-emphasized the "worried" look.

As difficult as it is getting all the proportions and forms correct... then it has to be symmetrical.

Andy has shown us key landmarks for keeping the whole thing in proportion, but while I whittle away at the details with tiny dental tools I back up and realize the main proportions have been distorted - then it's back to hacking away with the bigger tools.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and I started to get a feel for how the clay works and what the different tools do. I began to get a real appreciation for plastelene (non-hardening) clay. It's amazingly structural, takes deep carving easily but also holds up when you want to just take a tiny shaving off.

Neat-o stuff!

Above is my current setup in my studio for the anatomy drawing homework. I open every anatomy book I have and pick the best images and prop open the pages for easy reference while I am working.

This week I'm drawing the ribcage. I didn't realize how difficult it would be, it's not the sheer number of ribs that's the hard part, it's getting the correct angles, width and spacing.

I have more appreciation every day for the efficiency and complexity of organic engineering: Twelve ribs and not one is parallel to another, yet together they form the most perfect, graceful cage.

If you bend your fingers slightly, with a bit of space between them, into a soft, almost-fist, you'll see at no point are any of them parallel... the ribs are the same way, every facet converging or splayed, but all together they look evenly spaced.

It's a feat of engineering!


Ecorche - Skull

I started sculpting the tiny skull today in my ecorche class with Andrew Ameral, beginning with building a proportional shape showing the major planes, then roughing in the features.


Écorché - Skull drawings

Last week was the first day of my ecorche class with Andrew Ameral.

Ecorche is studying anatomy by sculpting a "flayed" figure - as if it has no skin, so you can see the bones and muscles. We sculpt the bones first and then build all the muscles over the skeleton.

Every week we will have drawing homework. This week we were assigned to draw a skull from 5 different views. It took me exactly 10 hours to draw these 5 skulls - very, very difficult to get the proportions correct.

These two sheets of drawings are each are 8x10 inches, drawn with graphite on mylar paper. Mylar is a translucent vellum that is my new favorite paper for pencil drawing. It grabs the graphite with a silky/dusty feeling and is capable of getting a huge range of value from graphite. These drawings were all done with 2H (very hard) pencils.

I also need to label these with all the names of the bones of the skull - did you know the skull is made up of 22 different bones?

I bought my skulls at The Bone Room. The store is near me in Berkeley, CA, but you can also buy from them online. The cast skulls with the brand name "Bone Clone" are amazingly high quality for a very reasonable price!! I bought the two skulls (one real, one cast), a whole pelvis, and also a fibula (which nicely illustrates the tapered, spiraling nature of organic form!). I contemplated lots of other things to buy, but had to hold off for now. Next I am going to save up for a whole skeleton....

Andrew's class runs through June, and I'll be blogging it as much as possible, so stay tuned!