Drawing human anatomy can be an adventure if you take it to the
limits. Artist and draftsman Leah Yerpe certainly does. Her large- and small-scale
drawings feature figures freefalling, tumbling, and twisting as they swoop
across the page.
|Pleiades by Leah Yerpe, 72 x 107, charcoal drawing, 2011.
Though Yerpe's works are much evolved from the anatomy
drawing lessons a beginning artist might encounter, they most likely started
there with some type of anatomy sketches. Without a sure knowledge of how to draw a human body, the artist
wouldn't have been able to render her figure drawings
so convincingly in such a variety
of extreme poses.
For instance, in the body drawing Pleiades,
the artist shows a commanding understanding of the diverse movements of the body's
core. The barrel of the torso is shown as it folds over itself; it expands
through the rib cage when the figure arches her back; and her hips tilt to follow
the backward movement of the legs.
Yerpe also has an anatomical sensitivity when rendering what
I like to think of as the exclamation points of the body--the hands and feet. These
may not be the first thing you pay attention to when viewing her drawings, but
they are the culmination of all the bodily tension and power she is showing. If
an arm is bent and cocked back, chances are the hand is drawn in accord with
the movement--fingers clenched into a fist and the tendons in the wrist slightly
||Cornix by Leah Yerpe,
60 x 113, charcoal drawing,
Her drawings of the foot are done in much the same way. If the
leg seems to be relaxed, the foot is in a neutral position with toes slightly
pointed. If the leg is bent or seems to be mid-motion, the toes are drawn up
toward the ankle and the foot itself is arched. In any given situation, the
hands and feet give us more visual information about the physical action of the
bodies being depicted.
Human anatomy for artists can be a gateway for incredibly
dynamic and unprecedented figural works, allowing you to explore the body's
full range of motion. For drawing anatomy, there are plenty of great DVD resources in the
Artist Daily store to choose from, including Anatomy for Artists: Man in Motion, Anatomy for Artists: The Human Head, and
Anatomy for Artists: The Human Form.
Any of these anatomy drawing guides will allow you to see the action of the
body in real time and explore how to artistically express all the movement
and power inherent in our bodies. Enjoy!