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Inventing the Shoulder Muscles

April 13, 20164 Comments

To see 4 more narrated demonstrations, check out the premium anatomy course. I’ll guide you through drawing the shoulder muscles in various positions and from any angle.

Let’s see how we can draw the shoulder muscles from imagination! I’m starting with poses of Skelly to get an accurate framework. You can use the Skelly App to create your own poses or if you have the premium anatomy course, I’ve provided you with 5 images. Now, let’s invent the muscles!

Straight on Back View

Here we have almost a straight on back view. The right arm is lifted and the left arm is being pulled back. We need to keep that in mind as we draw the muscles stretched or compressed.

Here’s the basic shape of the scapula. We don’t have to get too detailed with it because it’s mostly covered anyway. But we do need to get the landmarks in the right place. A basic shape of the scapula is more than enough to figure out the muscles. A curve for the medial ridge, and another for the spine of the scapula leading to the acromion.

Simple indication for the pelvis. I’ll use cylinders for the arms instead of bones. I want to indicate the thickness of the arm because if does affect the muscles of the shoulders, but I don’t want to get distracted with the muscles of the arm right now. So, a cylinder helps us visualize the volume of the arm, without all the details.

I got my skeleton laid in, now let’s add some muscles. This right arm is lifting up to the side, so the teres major will be stretching. The left arm is pulling back, causing the teres major to contract. I’ll make this shape a bit fatter and shorter than the right side.

Infraspinatus will cover the rest of the scapula under its spine. Getting those in there, tracking up to the head of the humerus. Remember, the teres major attaches a few inches lower on the humerus, while the infraspinatus and teres minor attach to the head of the humerus.

If we were to see the volume of the supraspinatus, it would be here. Which is actually possible on the right side since the arm is lifting. But usually it’ll be covered up by the trapezius.

Remember the double curve of the lats and teres major? The lats will swing down from under the teres major down to the pelvis.

From this angle, we might see a slither of the serratus on this side since it’s a straight on back view, and the lat on this side is stretching up with the arm. Get the obliques in there.

Shoulders don’t look complete without the deltoids…Oh, and I forgot to mention, the lats will cover this inside corner of the teres major as they curve up toward their origin at the spine. Don’t worry, we’ll learn about the lats in the next lesson.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Stan
    I like your style of drawing but I don’t need the detail of the anatomy that you offer. Yes I know in order to draw lifelike figures it is important to know the details. But as a watercolor painter who likes paint street scenes I would like to see a category of ‘Everyday Gesture’ drawing. I would like t know your thoughts on this.


  2. Veronica says:

    I enjoy your work!!
    I am a returning student after 40 years of doing hair dressing.
    You help me get motaveited to bring forth my once drawing ability!!

    Thank you,

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