Art School Boot Camp: Drawing Rebellious Anatomy | Christine Nishiyama | Skillshare

Art School Boot Camp: Drawing Rebellious Anatomy

Christine Nishiyama, Artist at Might Could Studios

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8 Lessons (17m)
    • 1. Trailer + Intro

      3:03
    • 2. Your Permission to Rebel

      2:10
    • 3. Drawing Torsos

      2:49
    • 4. Drawing Heads

      2:03
    • 5. Drawing Hands + Arms

      2:29
    • 6. Drawing Legs + Feet

      1:31
    • 7. Drawing Proportions

      2:35
    • 8. Drawing It All Together!

      0:36
79 students are watching this class

About This Class

So many people tell me they “just can’t draw bodies”. But what they really mean, is they can’t do it they way they think they’re supposed to do it. They can’t draw the way they’ve been told is the right way to draw—classical, realistic anatomy.

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Those classical anatomy rules mandate things like:

  • A hand must be constructed with 5 fingers with joints, knuckles, and nails.
  • A human body must measure 8-heads high and 2.5-heads wide.

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Well what about how the famous cartoonist, Charles Schulz draws hands? Or how the famous animator, Hayao Miyazaki draws his character, Yubaba? Would you say they're drawing anatomy wrong?

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My point is: drawing realistically is just one way to draw! There are so many other possibilities of what arms, legs, and heads can look like. Believing that there’s only one right way to draw a body is holding you back and limiting your creativity before you even begin.

So you know what we gotta do? Rebel! Throw out the rules! Draw however the heck we wanna draw!

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Years ago, I shifted my mindset from trying to draw anatomy the “right” way to trying to draw anatomy my way. I stopped being frustrated, self-critical, and perfectionist, and I started exploring my unique way of drawing people. And that process ultimately led me to loosen up, have more fun drawing, and develop my overall artistic style.

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In this class, I'm going to show you how to rebel against the classical anatomy rules with some of my favorite creativity-encouraging methods. I'll show you where I've landed and how I like to draw bodies and body parts. Together, we'll draw the basic body part groups from the torso to the toes, and I'll be sharing my favorite methods, examples, and exercises along the way.

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But more importantly, I'll be leading you to discover your own way of drawing bodies.

So with that in mind, let's ditch the rules and take a rebel's look at anatomy! 

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Trailer music credit: 

Waltz (Tschikovsky Op. 40) by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4605-waltz-tschikovsky-op-40- License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Too Cool by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4534-too-cool License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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WANT MORE?

You can see more about Christine and her work at might-could.com

Get weekly essays on creativity and art making here!

Hope to see you in there! :D

Transcripts

1. Trailer + Intro: Some people can draw human hands, but most people cannot. Unfortunately, we need not say any more about it than that. Actually, I have a lot more to say about that. I'm Christine Nishiyama artist and founder of Might Could Studios. Here's my beef with this mindset. It's so extraordinarily narrow. It rests on the belief that there is a right and wrong way to draw the body, and that the right way is to draw a classical, realistic anatomy. Those classical anatomy rules tell us. A hand must be constructed with five fingers, with joints, knuckles, and nails. Well, what about how the famous cartoonist Charles Schulz draws hands, would you say that he draws them wrong? Or what about these hands that I drew, am I doing it wrong? Those classical anatomy roles also tell us. A human body must measure eight heads high and 2.5 heads wide. Well, what about how the famous animator Hayao Miyazaki draws Yubaba, would you say that he draws proportions wrong? Or what about how I draw myself, are these proportions wrong? Even in real life, I surely don't measure eight heads high, am I wrong? So many people tell me that they just can't draw bodies. But what they really mean is they can't do it the way they think they're supposed to do it. They can't draw the way they've been told is the right way to draw, and they're stuck there trying to achieve perfection. But you guys believing that there's only one right way to draw a body is holding you back and limiting your creativity before you even begin. Only allowing yourself to make art-based and classical art rules just leads to boring art, generic, homogeneous, stiff, boring art. You know what we're going to do? Rebel, throw out the rules, draw however the heck we want to draw. Years ago, I shifted my mindset from trying to draw anatomy the right way to trying to draw anatomy my way. I stopped being frustrated, self-critical, and perfectionist, and I started exploring my unique way of drawing people. That process ultimately led me to loosen up, have more fun drawing, develop my overall artistic style, and land four books deal with Scholastic. In this class, I'm going to show you how to rebel against the classical anatomy rules with some of my favorite creativity encouraging methods. I'll show you where I've landed now and how I like to draw bodies and body parts. Together, we'll go through the basic body part groups from the torso to the toes, and I'll be sharing my favorite methods, examples, and exercises along the way. But more importantly, I'll be leading you to discover your own way of drawing bodies. With that in mind, let's ditch the rules and take a rebels look at anatomy. 2. Your Permission to Rebel: Here's your permission to rebel. Before we jump all the way in, I'd like to go over a few things to help you get in the exploratory mindset. Many of us artists, have convinced ourselves that there is a single best way to draw. I want to knock that out of your head right now. This class is about finding your own way to draw people, not the ideal way to draw people. But perhaps you're new to this whole, ditch the rules rebel artists thing. Perhaps the thought of absolute freedom makes you anxious. Here you go. I'm officially giving you permission to follow these rules instead. I, state your name, don't have to draw anatomy in a realistic style. I can draw abstract, graphic or cartoonish if I want to. I, state your name, don't have to draw body parts with volume. I can draw a flat if I want to. I, state your name, don't have to draw the ideal proportions. I can exaggerate and abstract the body if I wanted to. I, state your name, don't have to draw every detail of the body. I can simplify if I want to. I, state your name, don't have to study bone placement and muscle groups. I can spend my time drawing. Finally, I, state your name, don't have to draw anatomically correct body parts. I can draw people, real people with all their imperfections and personality. Following these creativity encouraging rules, instead of the creativity killing rules, will allow you to remain open to the possibilities, which is how you'll discover how to draw anatomy in your own artistic style. I've included a very official and totally binding contract in this class that you can sign and put up on your wall to keep yourself accountable. We're going to begin by looking at individual body parts to experiment and find the way we want to draw them. As we do this, you'll be creating a personal vocabulary body parts that you can return to at any time when drawing people. Let's jump right in with the torso. 3. Drawing Torsos: Drawing the torso. If you've ever googled how to draw a torso, you've likely been inundated with drawings and images just like these, guys with full six packs and rock hard packs. You'll see diagrams of muscles, tendons, bones, and labels for everything. Here we come to our first classical anatomy rule, of which we'll dig into further later. Classical anatomy likes to tell you that you should know exactly how the body works, so you can draw it realistically. But, you really don't have to do that. If you want to, great. But I'm going to show you another way. I'm going to show you the rebellious way. One simple way to start playing around with drawing torsos is the two circle method. To try this out, just draw a bunch of pairs of circles in varying sizes, some overlapping and some close together. Then, you can start drawing a shape, hugging the two circles. You can play with hugging tightly to the indentation between the two circles on both sides or just one side. You can play with making the hug smooth or sharp. These are all ways to show bending, twisting, and movement in a torso like shape. If you want to take this a step further, we can start drawing torsos with the flour sack method. This is a fun way to add some volume to your torso experiments without getting caught up in perfectionism. It's a common method used by animators. We start out the same way with pairs of circles. You can include a line of action if you want to have some direction for your torso, then we're going to use those circles as guides to draw an anthropomorphic flour sack and start to explore different shapes and gestures. Just like with the circle method, we can play with hugging smoothly or sharply to add contrast and interest to our torso. We can then take any of these torso explorations and build out our body from there. Here's some examples of character torsos that I've drawn. When I draw myself portrait character for my sketchbook comics, I actually don't even draw much of a torso. I let the arms and legs just converging to a curved shape in the middle and see what happens as I go along. But for more character-driven work like my children's books, I often need to have a more distinguishable body. But that's just how I do it. There are tons of ways to draw torsos. Here are some examples of characters that other artists have drawn in their own way. Now, it's your turn, grab your sketchbook and draw a page of torsos using the two circle method, then draw another page of moving flour sacks. Be sure to share your progress in the project feed. 4. Drawing Heads: Drawing heads. Classical anatomy has all sorts of rules for drawing the head. They say you should start with a circle, then draw a triangle, then divided it up into the ideal proportions, join the facial features where the lines intersect to make sure everything is all perfectly aligned and proportional. Let's listen up and do it the rebellious way. Let's simplify and exaggerate. First, let's simplify the head to just a circle.Then we can simplify the eyes to just two circles and dots, the nose and the mouth to just a line by simply changing the location of these seven shapes and squishing the eyes just a bit, we've created quickly a face that can communicate almost anything from any angle. But we're not going to stop there. Now that you've got a baseline, you can start exploring, exaggerating different parts of the face. You can explore different head shapes, different spacing between and placement of the eyes, and different ways of drawing the nose. Then we move on to the many different ways of drawing eyes. You can play with keeping it simple with just two dots or really pushing the eyes to be big and expressive. Ears often trip people up, but they can really be just as simple as drawing two semi-circles. We can continue to explore the endless possibilities of mouths from a quick hard line to a wide-open laugh, to big, luscious lips. Now that we've played around, here's how I like to draw the head of myself portrait character. Here are some other heads I've drawn for different character boot projects. But of course, that's not the only way to draw a head. Here are some examples of how other artists draw heads. Now it's time to put this in action. Your next assignment is to draw a page full of heads exploring different eyes, noses, and mouths. Remember to play around with different head shapes too. Be sure to share your progress in the project feed. 5. Drawing Hands + Arms: In this video, we're going to draw arms and hands. Let's start with hands, since they're notorious for being hard to draw. I think the main reason people think hands are hard to draw, is because they're trying so hard to draw them realistically. But remember, you don't have to do that. Instead of worrying about drawing all the knuckles and tendons of a hand, let's try simplifying the hand into shapes. You can keep your hand super simple and just draw a circle than a rounded triangle and a blob for the thumb, like a mitten. From there, you can keep the fingers as one shape or separate them into more shapes. Or you can choose to just draw four fingers, like a lot of animators do instead of five. Remember, focus on the overall hand as one shape, not a palm with individual fingers. Now let's connect these hands to some arms before we move into the examples. Most anatomy classes teach the cylinder method here, showing you how to construct an arm from two cylinders and a sphere for the joint. But we're not going to do that here. Instead, I'm going to show you a more fun way to play around with drawing arms that I'm calling the noodle method. It's very simple. Just draw a curvy line, then another curvy line, then draw a hand like one of the ones we did before. Voila, you drew a noodle arm. The fun thing about noodle arms is that they can do anything and be in any shape. You don't have to worry about elbows, wrist, forearms or biceps. Instead, we can focus on exaggerating and pushing the limits of what an arm can do. You can also draw some uncooked noodle arms if you're looking for something more simple. Now that we've played around, here's how I like to draw arms and hands on myself project character. Here are some other arms and hands I've drawn for different character book projects. Of course, that's not the only way to draw arms and hands. Here are some examples of how other artists draw them. Assignment 3, draw a full page of hands using the different methods we talked about. Draw the hand in different positions, stretched fingers, a fist, a wave. Experiment and see how much you like to simplify and how much detail you like to draw. Then draw a page full of noodle arms. Draw some cooked and widely, some uncooked and straight, and some identity and curved. Don't forget to share your progress in the project feed. 6. Drawing Legs + Feet: Classical anatomy here focuses on the cylinder method, like on the arms. But let's switch it up. You could use the noodle method here as well. But I'm going to show you another method called the shape method. Basically, any body part, including the leg and foot can be broken down into shapes and you could do it in volume like in classical anatomy, but you can also do it with just flat shapes like triangles and rectangles. Drawing out the body parts and shapes can help us abstract and exaggerate certain parts. The foot can be just a couple of shapes. A triangle is really all it takes. One way to really push this and loosen up is to start with an action line. Just draw a curved line that shows where the movement is going and build your flat shapes for legs and feet on top. Curve and bend your shapes to match that lines path and have fun with it. So now that we've played around, here's how I like to draw legs and feet on myself portrait character. Here are some other legs and feet I've drawn from different character book projects. But of course, that's not the only way to draw legs and feet. Here are some examples of how other artists draw them. Now let's try it out ourselves. Your next assignment is to draw a page of legs playing around with different shapes like rectangles, triangles, squares, and circles and don't forget the feet. Be sure to share your progress in the project feed. 7. Drawing Proportions: Classical anatomy tells us, that the proportion of a body is the most important aspect of drawing people, and here I actually agree. But as you make a guess, I don't agree with how far they go with it. Classical anatomy teaches us that the ideal proportions is a figure at eight heads high. It all started when Dr. Paul Richer stated that the average human was 7.5 heads tall in 1889. Then in 1943, the Illustrator Andrew Loomis published his book, Figure Drawing For All It's Worth, and declared the ideal artistic human proportions to be a tad taller at eight heads high. Now first, the average human measured by the anthropologists in Richard's book were all European. Loomis's proportions include details such as, how many heads wide is ideal? What breast size for our women is ideal? How much muscle definition is ideal? The women in his proportion drawings are even wearing heels. I don't know [inaudible]. It all seems like a very homogeneous, boring rule to adhere to in my art. I mean, even if you're aiming at drawing people realistically, there are so many different proportions of people in the real world. Why not explore the diversity in the real world, and further, why not push the possibilities even more. Thinking about proportions, means thinking about how the body parts work and fit together. What will the overall structure of your body be? A fun way to play and experiment with proportions is to exaggerate. First, draw a few stacks of circles in varying sizes, then choose one of your heads from before and draw it on the top circle, then fill out the rest of the body using the circles as your proportional guide. Experimenting like this will help you see what proportions you like best and what feels most natural to you. You can draw additional stacks of circles to really push the proportions. See how far you can take it. Now that we've played around, here's how I like to draw the proportions of myself portrait character. Here's some other proportions I've drawn for different character book projects. But of course that's not the only way to draw proportions. Here are some examples of how other artists draw them. Now let's play with it. Your assignment is to draw a page full of proportions, exploring different head high heights and different shapes and sizes, and be sure to share your progress in the project feed. 8. Drawing It All Together!: Now I want you to take everything you've learned and draw a page full of bodies pulling from your previous pages, exploring all the different ways you found that you like drawing body parts.Be sure to explore different ways of drawing the arms, hands, heads, torsos, legs, and feet. Really push it and aim for expressiveness, not perfection or realism. Find what feels good and draw more of that. Your final assignment is to draw a page full of expressive bodies. Be sure to share your art in the project feed. I'd love to see what you come up with.