Anatomy Master Class

Study of the Skull and Face

Study of the Skull and Face

Artworks by Dan, Anatomy Master Class student

As a continuation of my attempt to understand the bones and muscles of the skull and face I have produced three additional drawings for this purpose.

Up to now my drawings of the skull have taken on a schematic rather than a “realistic” look. I have used the Anatomy Master Class videos to render proportional skulls that I can use to study the individual bones from as well as the muscles, their placement and attachment points.

Having done that to some extent, I created an additional 3/4 view of the skull using the method and then enhanced its realistic properties by also using an actual skull model to draw from. The result is the first image I have submitted here.

Artwork by Dan, Anatomy Master Class student

I wanted to continue the process of anatomy study by also adding more drawings that show obvious anatomical characteristics as I did before.

This time I really wanted to show direct comparisons between the skull (and the skull with muscle overlays) and the master drawings that I copied.

The two drawings that I decided to attempt was another Nikolai Fechin drawing of a woman and the famous Peter Paul Ruben’s drawing of Isabella Brant, his first wife.

Female Head 5 After Nikolai Fechin

Isabella Brant After Peter Paul Rubens 2

The results are not perfect but good enough to clearly show the features that I wished to demonstrate. Drawing the skull and facial muscles clearly enhanced my sensitivity to how each original artist rendered certain facial features with an eye to the underlying anatomy. In fact, in the original drawings, this was done in a spectacular fashion.

In each drawing, I wanted to point out certain salient features.

For example, in the Fechin drawing I wanted to show how the artist captured the action of the eye as the brow arches above the ocular opening and how the eye widens. I also wanted to show the supreme interaction of the numerous muscles of the mouth.



In the Rubens drawing I wanted to show the principle muscles used in Isabella Brant’s smile.


I find that watching the Master Class videos are very informative and I can reinforce the information from these and other sources as well by actually producing drawings and correlating the anatomy with the drawing. Doing this seems to help my anatomy knowledge and my drawing at the same time.

Next I will descend downward to the cervical vertebrae, the clavicle, scapula, deltoids, trapezius, and sternum and create drawings of both the skeleton and skeleton overlaid with muscle. Then I’ll challenge myself by drawing a portrait with upper torso in the same way that I did the head portraits.

Dan S.

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