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A. The ability to visualize in terms of simple mass helps to create the illusion of reality
on a 2-D surface.
1. Massing and General Shape
a. Artists think of the mass before details and sketch this first.
1. Draw the skull as an egg in front and ball behind.
2. Draw a cylinder for the neck and egg shapes for the rib cage, abdomen and
buttocks, the thighs and lower legs.
3. Different masses can be used to solve problems that arise.
2. Mass and Proportion
a. Proper portions do not exist in reality; however, observations on the mythical
“average figure” can be helpful for beginners. One can then decide to accept or
reject these proportions based on the model.
1. The symphysis pubis can be taken as a point halfway between the top of the
head and the soles of the feet.
2. The nipples are about one head below the chin; the navel another head below
the nipples; and the symphysis ¾ of a head below the navel.
b. Proportions are a matter of relating masses in a manner suitable to the artist.
3. Mass and Tone
a. Artists draw what they know will promote the illusion of reality rather than
exactly what they see.
1. They determine tones of light and shade by lighting simple masses that make
up the model.
4. Lines and Mass
a. By thinking in terms of simple mass one can draw lines that give the illusion of
traveling in 3-D space.
1. First draw the simple mass then draw the lines over the imaginary mass.
5. Mass and Subordination of Detail
a. The impact of details must be subordinated or intensified at times. Sometimes
they are selected, invented or eliminated.
1. Details must never attract the attention that belongs to the mass itself. Tones
of lines on any mass must vary according to the tones on the mass.
6. Inventing Mass Conceptions
a. Artists invent mass conceptions to solve problems. Some of the most personal
qualities of an artist’s style come from his/her preference for certain mass
V. Position, Thrust, or Direction
A. An artist must decide on the position of the form in relation to himself as well as its
direction (thrust).
1. Once you have determined the direction of thrust you must remain consistent
with this throughout the figure.
2. You may come across problems in determining thrust.
a. If a form is in motion you must pick one phase to draw.
b. Direction may have to be altered to improve values/tones.
c. Lines cannot be drawn until the direction is determined.
d. You must choose a direction that reveals the true shape of a form.
3. The phases most suggestive of motion are those of rest at the beginning and
4. You must seize the bodily thrust at the beginning of the pose due to a model’s
movement throughout the pose.
5. Thrust is an important factor in deciding tones to be placed on forms as they
change in direction.
6. The thrust of the form must be decided prior to drawing lines on the form,
because as the thrust varies so does the line.
7. Artists generally avoid ‘head-on’ views so as to best reveal its true shape.
8. The character and rhythm of drapery folds nicely reveal the action of the
figure and therefore should be controlled by the artist.

VI. Artistic Anatomy

A. Knowledge of anatomy is essential in drawing figures from one’s imagination.
B. It is important to study separate bones (in person; not from photographs), because
they dictate the form of the body.
C. Learn the origins and insertions of the muscles in order to accurately draw the
D. The study of animal anatomy can help us learn about human anatomy.
1. Imagining the forces that would play upon a four-legged animal if they
attempted to stand helps to understand the characteristic construction of man.
2. Consider the changes that would be forced on an animal if through evolution it
should stand fully erect. The position of bones adjusts to maintain balance.
a. Carefully consider the muscle masses that hold man erect.
E. It is important to understand the function of muscles and bones.
1. Adjacent muscles that have approximately the same function can be grouped
together (functional groups).
a. Lines on the figure should be placed where functional groups meet.
F. ‘Anatomical sins’ include cutting off the back of the head in profile view, bringing
the neck out of the shoulder, taking ‘bites’ out of the lower rib cage, pulling the
rib cage away from the pelvis/ pushing it down into the pelvis, and running the
split of the buttocks through the sacrum bone.
VII. Driving all the Horses at once
A. You must thing of many things at once when drawing.
B. The elements of drawing (line, light, planes etc.) are interrelated and depend upon
one another.
C. Certain principles of composition may be learned by studying the masters’
drawings as well as paintings and sculpture. Perspective and composition are
closely associated; lines that lead to the perspective point often enter the
D. It is important to study the history of art so as to learn solutions to problems and
avoid persisting in outworn styles.