Paint the Body Parts That Turn You On!

5 Jan 2012

Back II (Joshua) by Martha Mayer Erlebacher, 2003, oil on canvas, 42 x 42.
Back II (Joshua) by Martha Mayer Erlebacher,
2003, oil on canvas, 42 x 42.
The human body is beautiful—as a whole and in its parts. Body drawings that accentuate the sensuous lines of the body and the power of the human form are steeped in a knowledge of anatomy. But the body is a complex machine with, again, many parts and an infinite variety of positions in which it can sit, stand, and lay.

I love learning more and more about how to draw the human body, but it is a tough process too! So I've made a promise to myself: I'm going to learn drawing anatomy and figure drawing based on the body parts that I find sexy and go from there!

I'm a back and hands girl myself, so my first approach was to look at human figure drawings that zero in on these parts. There are Old Masters like Michelangelo and Leonardo to consider as well as the works of more contemporary artists like Martha Erlebacher and Rob Liberace.

Red chalk figure, detail by Rob Liberace, chalk on paper, 14 x 22.
Red chalk figure, detail by Rob Liberace,
chalk on paper, 14 x 22.

For the back, the toughest part for me is really seeing all the musculature. In a gesture drawing, I'd put one fluid line down the center to mark the dip of the spine and leave it at that. But I'm trying to learn to see the subtle shift and play of bones and skin by drawing models. Positioning them in certain ways that accentuate the vertebrae and muscles of the back is a super helpful way to start.

Oh, how to draw hands! These are tough. There are so many minute muscles, bones, and tissues that make up the hands that drawing the anatomy of them can be really confusing. I'll go over one passage, leave it, then go back and change everything because I see more and more visual information. To stop from shredding my paper, I've tried to stay focused on getting the gesture of the hand right and to pay attention to the different textures of the hands—smooth here, creased there—treating them almost like a landscape.

And I'm also watching way more TV to learn human anatomy drawing. We've got a veritable library of great DVD resources on anatomy specifically for the artist. Man in Motion, The Human Head, and The Human Form Revealed are what I've been reaching for to figure out the human body with an artist's eye. I hope it is the same for you! Enjoy! 

P.S. What body parts turn you on--for your art? Leave a comment and let me know. And keep it clean, people!


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Anatomy for Artists Man in Motion 2nd Edition

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Anatomy for Artists The Human Head DVD

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Comments

lilsoulsista wrote
on 6 Jan 2012 8:55 AM

Lips. I think are very sexy, they are very sensual. i have also take this approach to figure and portrait drawing.  

on 6 Jan 2012 10:49 AM

Unashamedly,

The female buttocks is the single most pleasureable thing on the face of the planet to draw, paint, sculpt, imagine, or behold.

on 6 Jan 2012 10:59 AM

The legs! The gesture of the femur is absolutely beautiful. As an artist/ competitive cyclist, the legs are pure power and artistic joy!

Elyse

dapaintedpaw wrote
on 6 Jan 2012 11:29 AM

A pregnant woman is one of the most beautiful sights to behold and to paint.  And after the child is born painting the babys face sucking from the enlarged breast and nipple is a joy to capture.  Not exactly 'a body part' but rather a collection of parts.  I suppose that glow of motherhood is what I find sexy.

Philip2 wrote
on 6 Jan 2012 1:34 PM

A figure drawing class helped to restore my interest and excitement in drawing and painting...No special body part turns me on ...It is the entire package of living  breathing flesh...from the glint of light on the hair at  the top of the head ...the sparkle in the eye ..to the highlights on the toes....all parts ..a marvelous challenge!

on 6 Jan 2012 3:08 PM

I like to draw a twisting torso. The power of the muscles and skeletal frame is exciting.

chicago2 wrote
on 6 Jan 2012 4:29 PM

Hands, hands & hands ...

on 6 Jan 2012 10:55 PM

Legs and buttocks are my favorite parts to draw.   Though I find drawing the body quite difficult.  Also, I do better working from photos than life but work from life as much as possible to hine my skills.

on 7 Jan 2012 5:57 AM

Thanks for all your good articles. Does the DVD's work in Europe. I live in France and I am not sure that if I order the DVD they can be played in our European format ? Look forward to your answer. Carol

mifarley wrote
on 7 Jan 2012 5:52 PM

What excites me the most about the human body are soft, intense eyes with a depth that look like they could just embrace you with their warmth.

janetkeen wrote
on 7 Jan 2012 8:26 PM

I like drawing the human face best,  particulalrly women. The eyes are the mirror to the soul and you get the face you deserve by the age of fifty.

Cheers janet keen from new Zealand

janetkeen wrote
on 7 Jan 2012 8:26 PM

I like drawing the human face best,  particulalrly women. The eyes are the mirror to the soul and you get the face you deserve by the age of fifty.

Cheers janet keen from new Zealand

on 11 Jan 2012 7:41 AM

Hi Carol,

Our DVDs do work in European players, so enjoy!

Courtney

on 16 Jan 2012 2:22 AM

I have been trying to answer that same question myself over the years. The only thing that keeps coming up when I do is the whole body is a beautiful thing. I guess I am having trouble with finding the one thing. On just a good note is the one thing I am trying to draw is the eyes they have so much to say when done right. You know I think I just answer the question. The eyes which is hard for me to get right.

steve1954 wrote
on 6 Feb 2012 7:51 PM

It seems like any part can be exciting and challenging to draw or paint.