In the Renaissance, artists were occasionally reduced to graverobbing in order to have access to bodies for their anatomy studies. Understandably, the practice was highly frowned upon. Thankfully, today we have a number of anatomy texts available so that we ourselves can lean on the shoulders of our predecessors, rather than spend the midnight hour with a shovel in the local cemetery.
The book I have is called the Cyclopedia Anatomicae, authored by Gyorgy Feher and illustrated in intricate detail by Andras Szunyoghy. It is a giant book, with over 1,000 illustrations of anatomy. It covers not only the human body, but also horses, lions, bears, sheep, pigs, and apes. I was lucky enough to pick it up on super clearance at Barnes and Noble for $6, and to me is worth at least a thousand times that.
The past week or so I have been doing brief anatomy studies based on the illustrations in the book. While I’ve only worked on the hand and arm so far, the illustrations in the book are clear enough to impart a basic understand through picture alone. I pencil the bones onto my medium of choice, and then go over them in fine-point Micron pens to add detail and additional shading. It is slow and precise work, but I rather like it. It almost enables a sense of peace as you study the illustrator’s lines and then attempt your own.
I have been considering the idea of doing these types of illustrations as practice on Bristol paper, and then offering the inked versions for sale in my Etsy shop. While the subject might be a bit macabre, the skeleton’s lines are clean and intricate, and would, I think, make a fine thing to hang on your wall.
I think that building a good reference library is important. Having just gotten out of college, my own collection is still a bit scarce. I own Realistic Figure Drawing by Joseph Sheppard, as well as Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm. I hear that Andrew Loomis’ books are highly regarded, and I also have my eye on James Gurney’s Color and Light and Imaginative Realism. Anyone want to donate a few books to the artist’s cause? *g* I’ve been reading since I was a small kid, and I believe that a library should always grow. I want my personal library to someday be a collection that contains knowledge on a variety of subjects, not just on art, but on history, science, and abstract ideas as well. If I need some information on Subject Y, I want to be able to go to my bookshelf and at least find a book that gives me some ideas on where to find more knowledge about Subject Y.
A few examples of recent work: