Anatomy Master Class review
Story and Artworks by Mary Townsend, Anatomy Master Class student
At school I got a lot of encouragement to pursue an artistic career but what I wanted to study didn't seem to be available at any of the art colleges I was aware of. I decided I'd get a job. I left school and started work in a big company where the PR manager noticed my 'creativity' and sent me to study Graphic Design.
So I became a Graphic Designer, or Commercial Artist as it was called back then. Apart from the word 'Artist' in the title there was no connection between commercial art and the art I was interested in. As much as I loved my career as a designer, I did sometimes wonder "what if I'd found a college that had been able to teach me what I wanted to learn?"
At first I was happy that my salary kept me in the art materials I needed to pursue my hobby but at the same time I found I had less time to enjoy them. Eventually I allowed the pressures of life to get in the way of the one thing I truly wanted to do. Sadly, the artist in me began to slip away - but not completely. I became a secret scribbler, occasionally sketching something I'd seen or imagined. All the while I was looking at artists online, seeing what others were achieving then searching for ideas and information on how I might improve my own drawing skills. It worked to some extent but I soon hit a dead end.
The searching was worthwhile though because I came across the Drawing Academy whose aim it was to teach students how to draw anything they wanted or imagined. I felt they had read my mind, but the real turning point was discovering their form of education was founded in the tradition and methods of the Old Masters.
I joined the Drawing Academy's online Drawing Course in 2019 when I was a winner of one of its competitions. It was hard at first, as I had to break a lot of old drawing habits to make way for more masterful techniques. Perseverance paid off and I was surprised how quickly my drawing was improving.
The process was made simpler by the video lessons which are very clear in showing the techniques used, step-by-step. I could work through the tutorials slowly but surely, in my own time and at a pace that suited me. I could replay the videos as many times as I needed. I realised from the first tutorial that the Drawing Academy delivered on its promises and that it was going to be up to me to make the most of the opportunity. I learned many rules of anatomy as a student of the Drawing Course and began to see improvement in my portrait and figure drawings. I was beginning to draw from life or imagination in a convincingly realistic way, instead of the stylised and caricaturist fashion I'd produced previously.
I knew that human anatomy was something I would need to study in more depth if I wanted to create the realistic narrative work I'm aiming for. So I was thrilled when my husband bought me the Anatomy Master Class Course.
I'm a visual learner and not so good with numbers. I knew from what I'd already studied that human anatomy would involve the study of the Old Masters' canons of classical beauty. These include proportions, angles, alignments and other ideal rules by which the human form is measured. I did wonder if this would pose a problem for me. I needn't have worried. By using the constructive drawing principles learned on the Drawing course, then adding what I'm discovering in the Anatomy Master Class, I find I am starting to create realistic human figures from imagination.
I hope the 'after' drawings below show how I've moved forward over the last few months.
I cannot remember every rule of thumb off by heart, or name every bone in the human body. I use the basic proportions I've learned to get my drawing started then focus on bones and muscles nearest to the surface of the skin. These are the elements that effect what's visible to the naked eye when features of the face change or limbs move position. Having said that, it's surprising what you do remember and has certainly changed the way I see people now!
As I study, I'm developing a library of references that I can turn to as a reminder of things I've learned. I also have access to the online course lessons 24/7 to refresh my memory about any of the techniques I'm using. I can ask questions and opinions of tutors and get feedback from other students, which is a great support.
I've personally come a long way with the Drawing Academy and I know I still have a long way to go. It's a continuous journey so I don't tend to set goals, they seem too final. I prefer to imagine a path that leads to new and interesting places with each achievement as a milestone on the same road.
Thank you for helping me get onto the right road.
Learn human body anatomy and proportions quickly and easily
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