How do I get good at anatomy if I don't know wtf I'm doing.
Paul Z
I've been studying anatomy primarily using Proko's premium course, copying the 3D models of bones and muscles from different angles. I've definitely learned alot and gotten decent at copying them but whenever I draw from reference, all the knowledge gets jumbled and I can't see what's under the skin. I feel like I hit a road block where I have no idea if I'm doing anything right. Of course I can look at many different examples and compare against mine they usually don't correspond exactly with the pose I'm using. Of course I don't have the luxury of someone critique my every drawing but I just wonder how other people have overcome not knowing if they're doing anything right. My goal is being able to draw the figure accurately from any angle but there is just so much confusion. First 3 drawings are some of my best ones. 4th drawing is what usually happens. Critiques are very welcome.
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Hey, @Paul Z! Looking at your drawings, I’d say you seem to be at a better place than what you’re giving yourself credit for. In my experience, the way I got to really understand anatomy a little bit more was not by copying, but by designing it. When I’d study from a model photo, I’d start with a simple gesture, then not copy what I saw, but instead build the body’s structure from the inside out: mark up the bony landmarks first; draw the forms of the bones; visualize origins and insertions of the main muscle groups on top of the bone layer; draw the forms of the muscles; and lastly give it some surface softening, clarify the lines or make a little polish up if needed. The reference was just a starting point and something to use as a base. Often times, my drawings would look different than the reference photos, and, many times, I wasn’t sure about some areas of the reference I was looking at either. But as long as I recognized the bigger picture (larger muscles, key bony landmarks) and was able to design a convincing figure on paper, that was fine to me because I wasn’t going for likeness or for being able to analyze the body on the surface - my point was to understand the broader anatomical structure in order to be able to invent it from memory later when I wanted. I’m attaching some of my studies from when I took Proko’s Anatomy course a few years ago; these are the finished studies after I got feedback on them using Proko’s old Facebook group (notes on top were from feedbacks people gave me or from watching the critique videos); they may look somewhat ”clean” after finished, but, in the middle of the process, I assure you each one of these drawings looked a lot like the last image you posted (except that I drew digitally, so I used layers to my advantage and organized the different sketch iterations so it would maybe become a bit less confusing). Over the years, of course our brain optimizes its hard disk space, so a lot of the anatomy I had learned has vanished my conscious mind, hehe - but I feel that the general skills and the overall notion of it stayed solid. Now, when I draw, I combine a more intuitive sense of construction plus the general bits I get to remember, and whenever I need more specific information, I do a little review of the videos, e-books or notes I took. One key thing is to have in mind what’s your goal with all this studying. In my case, I’m a cartoonist, so my goal studying anatomy was to learn the overall notions in order to give my stylized characters slightly more believable structures. For someone attempting to create realistic-looking art, even more in-depth studying and constant reviewing of anatomy topics over time might be needed. I think the best way to find how you’re progressing is to compare your current drawings with older ones - have you done this yet? Maybe you could gather your drawings from before you started the course and take a fresh look at them - this might give you a more sensible picture of how far you’ve come up to now. Two main suggestions for your studies, in case you might want to try them out: 1) Since you’re studying with Proko premium course, maybe you could prioritize studying from the examples provided in the course - that way, you’d get to see the video assignment answers and watch Stan draw the exact same pose you’d attempt.  2) If you use this community wisely, you can definitely get the privilege of someone critiquing every one of your drawings. Various artists and students have been contributing with one another around here lately, so, yes, feedback is something you definitely wouldn’t go without. Tag your posts as “help request” and someone should definitely comment something. Ultimately, for you to get the best out of your premium course, my advice would be to not just copy the 3D models (although of course this is helpful too), but, first, watch the video lessons and examples and take notes thoroughly if possible; and, second, take an attempt at the actual suggested assignments of each lesson and get feedback on your work here on the site. If you’re willing to really dedicate, also watch the video examples and critique videos and learn from other people’s missteps. :) Doubts and confusions may certainly show up along the path, but try as much as possible to be patient with yourself and allow space for the learning to sink in over some time of deliberate practice. Eventually, confusions from before start to become clearer. Hope this helps! Please let me know in case you have questions or would like to discuss anything else. Feel free to count on this community for help with your art whenever you feel like. Best of luck in your studies!
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Paul Z
Thanks for the help Liandro. Appreciate the time you spend commenting on this platform. I think you're right about learning to invent and not just copy. I will try posting frequently to get critiques.
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