Leg Muscles Study
Hello everyone here are my studies of leg muscles. Any criticism will be highly appreciated. Thank you :)

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Hi welcome to the forum!

I'd be happy to give some feedback if you like! I've also been studying the muscles, so It's a good opportunity to refresh my own knowledge as well.

I have a couple resources that could help. I use the book Anatomy for Sculptors. There are pdf's available if you search for it. Plus they post a lot of pages on their artstation right here: https://www.artstation.com/search?sort_b...0sculptors

I use this for diagrams with muscle names and to see artistic simplifications.

And then I also recommend using a 3D reference to visualize what muscles go where. 2D diagrams are super flat and are hard to understand when translating that to a drawing of a posed person, so something like this helps me a lot. https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/ecorche-...f4ec908d66 this one by chris fischer is really good. It costs money to download, but you can just look at it and rotate it for free.

As for critique, I think you should spend more time sketching the general shapes and form without any specific muscles first! Get the gesture and proportions down first, as this is truly more important, and then it's much easier to divide that into specific muscle groups. On this drawing, the left leg especially doesn't seem very accurate, even though I'm sure you don't intend to make it exactly like the photo. The lower leg is just not really that wide. Spend some time getting the big angles and proportions, and I do a little shading to give it some structure. If this stage feels challenging, it might be that your time is better served working on just those general drawing skills than learning anatomy, though it definitely helps to have that knowledge. Try to think more 3D as well, even if you're doing a line drawing, imagine the lines going around a 3D form, not just a flat shape. I think the very last drawing is the best in this regard.

For the specific muscles, I would label them because it helps your memory, and it clarifies what you do know, and what you don't. Even if you put a question mark next to some muscles, then you know what to look up. Your muscles are generally placed right, but there are some issues with their individual shapes and flow. For example you draw the Sartorius like a really thin string, but it's actually flat and wide more like a belt. Every muscles has a place where it starts, where it ends, and it's own signature shape. Try to study that more and capture both the flow and form of the muscles.

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More of a suggestion and opinion.

3d model is great if the person know what they are doing otherwise it questionable as reference but how would you know that the issue.I suggest working as much from life as possible.Find yourself a victim and take photo of there leg it best to utilize the summer time since it at that time that you get the most chance to catch a leg in is natural habitat.For normal leg ambush i suggest to hunt them down at school during launch time or before class start if your a student.But always make sure to ask permission DON'T BE A CREEP.You can always compensate them in your own way for the service of providing you with reference.

When build your reference gallery don't forget to take many picture of the same pose and to move around to get different angle and ask if they can do certain pose.Obviously if you can find a fellow artist to be a live model for you i am sure they will have no choose but to do the same for you and it a great way to always have fresh tailor to your need reference.You can also torture your family with reference request in exchange of doing some chore around the house.It sure is more work then working from content found on the internet but it much more valuable because it custom made reference.
Plus you learn an other skill which is photography.

Dissecting and understanding is just half of the work applying what you just learn to a new drawing using as little reference as possible is how you solidify the information to your memory.This is why as JosephCow said in is own word you get more out of learning construction because you want a big shape first to add or remove from the shape because you get closer to the real shape much quicker.When you look at the negative space ask yourself why is there bump or a straight line. Is it because there a bone underneath poking to the surface or is because the muscle is getting activated? Why is the curve strong or relaxed? What is the leg doing that the kind of thing that make you understand the action if you don't ask those question you get static pose that feel unatural almost robotic.Some muscle are only showing in specific scenario it up to you to find why is it happening(it probably a muscle that is underneath other muscle group)

One thing i suggest you remember is that the join where limb bend is generally where you will find bone nearest to the surface so there is not much chance that you get strang bump but the shape vary greatly because it a join.When a muscle contrat there also a muscle group that relax.

When you invent figure you want to have a picture of the land mark of the body to establish your proportion.

My Sketchbook

Perfection is unmeasurable therefor it impossible to reach it.
I should clarify that I don't recommend drawing figures from 3d models. I suggested the 3D reference as a 3D version of this type of diagram that are often consulted during this kind of study. While a 2D drawing is useful, I find it easier to spin the model around and look at the muscles on the sculpture from any angle for this kind of thing.

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Thank you for the critique, I'll keep it in mind for the next time I study leg anatomy and thank you for the suggestion :)

In this studies, I focus on getting the shape, placement, relation and I constantly remind myself about the concept of pinch and stretch. I'm not really focused on the form of the muscle, I am more focused on how the muscle wraps around what's underneath it.

My personal issues with this study is I feel like a lot of the time I want to get my drawing exactly look like the photograph or basically photocopy it, but the person I study with always encourages me not to copy the photograph but instead analyze and understand, so I want to know how to get away from that bad habit.

The other issue I'm having is I always forget about the flow, I see the high and low or asymmetry in the muscle but every time I finish the drawing it always appears stiff and symmetrical.
Hmmmm I think I understand where you're coming from. I think if you are making effort to reconstruct the form of what is in the reference, rather than blindly copying shapes, then you don't have to worry about that so much. You can still be accurate about the shapes, forms, and proportions and yet not be photocopying. It's about how you're thinking and how you arrive at the result. Your drawings, from what I see here are in no way close to being a photocopy of the reference. I mean no offense in that, I mean that I don't really see that copying mindset so much.

In addition, these are anatomy studies, useful for learning the muscles. I think you might want to clarify your goals a bit. This study I think probably works best if you stay close to the reference. It doesn't make sense to do your own thing here, just for the sake of 'not copying' when you're just trying to learn. A lot of people actually trace over photos, drawing where the muscles go in order to learn from it.

I do agree with your teacher that it's best to draw from understanding, not just copy. But you can still do that with a good amount of 2D accuracy to get things the right size and shape. And I don't think it's a big concern for this particular study. I would just encourage you to put more focus on 3D construction and giving your drawings form. If you can start constructing the body more from big forms, and get the feeling you are sculpting, then you can naturally get away from the copying thing. Later you can even try using indirect reference, which is a good test of your ability to do this. So your drawing would be viewed from a different angle than your references and you cannot copy them directly. That's basically what I've done in my draw-over, where I looked at the 3D sculpture for the muscles, and translated that to my leg, though it's drawn at mostly the same as in the photo, but not exactly.

With the flow, it's really about how the parts relate to the whole thing. Not about the contour of individual shapes. Look for the connecting lines between parts, the rhythm, and draw along with it. Don't start and stop forms abruptly where they go behind something or appear to stop. Keep drawing them through.

It natural to learn from a 2d approch to a 3d approch it just can be hard to stop operating in a 2d manner when it drill into you and then 3d certainly require more brain capacity you are no longer just peeking and translating your visualizing your deconstructing your memorizing rule.

If you work feel stiff you just need to compensate with adding some gesture drawing to the mix.Gesture is just a bit abstract when you don't understand how the body counter balance itself my advise is to look at dancer because they have exaggerated movement it help you visualize how they balance there weight they are not the best example to start learning gesture they are way to expressive and complex but the idea is to go from stiff pose to expressive pose and the idea is also that it was an example to visualize a visual concept.

If it wasn't already hard enough to think of the body in a 3d manner you now have to visualize those organic shape twisting and bending.That intimidating as i said baby step.

As JosephCow put it the way to go from copying to analytic is to think of the body as primary form.I would say that almost correct but i would say drawing shape as if they are transparent is better to learn to truely visualize and rotate object in space.If you just think of the form as a 2d shape even if it inside a 3d space your not really think 3d your relying on the reference way more then you think.But if you can draw let say a foot and be able to visualize it as if it was a see throught material you actually understand the volume not the ''2D symbol''

My Sketchbook

Perfection is unmeasurable therefor it impossible to reach it.

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