Anatomy Weekend Workshop at LARA

This weekend just gone I attend an anatomy workshop at LARA. It involved two days of fast passed lectures lead by Inga Loyeva. The emphases being the anatomy of importance to artist. Basically all the visible subcutaneous (Latin – “beneath the skin”) bones, tissues and fat pads. We started with the skeleton drawing it out on grey paper as we ran through the various components. Perhaps the most confusing part was the measurement system for the 7 1/2 head canon. It went something like this..



My diagram getting to grips with the measuring. Not sure if the feet should come of the bottom line or the 7 1/2 head line?

So, we where asked to mark the central vertical line. Then top and bottom line. then half way, quarter marks and half the top quarter again gives the 1/8 line. The head is then drawn in with chin a little below 1/8. I am not sure why you should do it this way and not just draw a head then measure 7 1/2 down which seems simpler. I hope to find out why this way at the next course I’m booked in for there next week. I’m sure it has some thing to do with the bottom section. For these anatomical drawings i think we drew down to the bottom line rather than the 7 1/2 line.. It is handy to know where the 1/2 line is as this is where the pubic synthesis sits an important land mark which together with a fat pad causes a visible mound in that region.


The clavicles are the most visible bone on the body. The lecture pointed out the can vary in appearance depending on posture. This fact is a revaluation for me as I keep trying to figure out the ‘correct’ angle to mark them in on a drawing, but they always seem different depending on model. Nice to have this fact confirmed. The first (top) rib that the clavicle sits on can also be a little visible with the clavicle mass.


Michelangelo 1475 – 1564. This shows the handle bar shape of the clavicles and how they curb round the shoulders to meet the acromion process of the scapular. The neck in a essentially a tube that slots in to a hollow between clavicles – scapular and trapezius.

The sturnum is pretty visible as it sits just below the skin with only the tendons that fix the pectorals in place covering it. It dose not protrude like the clavicles as peeks and breast and or fats can cover the areas either side making the sturnum appear as a depression. The bottom of the rib cage can be visible on thinner people in certain positions. The barrel shape of the cage gives the form of the torso. It is important to remember in a cross section of the cage  the spin goes inwards with the ribs that attach to it curbing in towards it. The cage is of course wider at the sides unlike other mammals on four legs who’s widest point is sturnum to spine.
The spine curbs at from scull to top  of scapular (cervical column)  gently like an inverted c. From the scapular to  sacrum it is in a gentle S shape. The coccyx curves in away from the skin. The spiny protrusions of the spin are visible when sitting with curled back. Standing up they often appear as a depression. C7 that holds the first rib is very prominent always. The scapulars slid back and forward around the rib cage over the top of muscle. The Rhomboids from spine to scapular and serratus anterior from scapular around side of rib cage attaching under armpit down the cage like feathers or fingers. These are responsible for moving the scapular. The serratus anterior can be visible in fit learn models (mostly male) in a certain position.

Serratus anterior seen here fanning from nipple around ribs. Holding them like figures.

The major muscles covering the back are the Trapezius in a 4 pointed star x cross shape. It attaches to spine and scapular spines via tendons. The Latissimus dorsi covers the ribs rapping around to the arm pits. In between these two in a upside down V shape is the Aponeurosis of latissimus dorsi. This stretches down between the gluteus muscles attaching to the sacrum . Where it meets the buttocks it creates a v shaped depression visible through skin.




Diagram showing Latissimus dorsi and more



Study of the Belvedere Torso, ca. 1601–2 Peter Paul Ruben’s (Flemish, 1577–1640) Red chalk, (39.5 x 26 cm) The Virgin Adored by Saints, pen and brown ink, ca. 1627

In the pelvic region we see quite prominently of thin – skinny people the anterior superior ilic spine. also the pubic synthesis is apparent under its fat pad. To the back we see the posterior superior iliac spine (or back of iliac crest). the iliac spine marks the point where the ligaments attract the gluteus muscles, Gluteus medius and maximus,  that create the buttocks. Combined they create a butterfly shape in visible on learn fit models. 1220039777_Bony_pelvis-1   The top of the femur  joins the pelvis creating the hip joint in  ball and socket which allows for rotational movement. On the lateral side of the femur at the top it has a nobly protrusion that can be visible from the back in certain positions. It is most communally seen as an indentation. The female pelvis is wider than the males. With the widest point on the female happening on the thigh just bellow hip joint. On males the widest point is higher up. In the front of the torso we find the muscular groups pectorals major and minor. Above these in the neck are the sternoceidomastiod which are highly visible especially  when neck is strained. They attach to clavicles where they meet the first rib. Its worth mentioning the trapezius is visible from the format above the clavicles. The neck rises as a column descending between the clavicles at the front and the raised trapezius at the back. chestbig Bellow the pectorals which fix to the sturnum in the middle along its length are the rectus abdomens (abbs). These 8 distinctive muscle masses are connected by tendons to form a sheet covering the abdomen. They are highly visible on fit lean people. The external oblique to the side of the abbs create the flanks. 10f873xm0


Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni


The deltoids define the lateral shoulder shape. \they attach around the lateral arm from spine of scapular around the coracoid process to the point of clavicle. Down the arm they tact to the humerus above half way. about where the pectorals ends.


Leonardo da Vici


Paul Baudry, Study for the Torture of Vestal, late nineteenth century, charcoal on paper, 32×26 cm, museum des Beaux-Arts. ref Classical Drawing Atelier, pg – 141

Baudry’s equist drawing shows the deltoid beautiful. as well as describing the scapular and back configuration. The bulging muscle below the scapular I think is the teres major. Below this we see where the latissimus dorsi reaches up to attach to the ribs under the arm and stretching down and around the rib cage across the back. The biceps brachii long head is clearly visible as a contacted lump that nestles below the deltoid at the front of the arm. on the lateral side of the arm (the budge in the middle) we see the biceps brachii short head. The prominent mass at the back of the arm is the two permeant triceps with the third one nestled beneath between the two.

The Fore arm has two long bones running its length from elbow to wrist bones. These are the ulna (little finger side) and radius (thumb side.) As we turn our hand back and forth these two bones twist around each other allowing for a 360 motion.




This illustration shows the twist of the ulna and radius nicely

The muscles of the fore arm work the flanges (fingers). the muscles are located towards the elbow with long tendons running down the fore arm in to the hand. Brachioradialis is the largest of this group. It can be felt and seem on the thumb side of the fore arm. A fibrous band around the wrist known as the exterior pollicis helps keep the tendons and vessels in place. The wrist bones are in a U shape curbing around the outer wrist. This creates a protective tunnel for all the nerves and vessels to connect the hand.


Academic study of hand from St. Peters drawing academy. Showing the hand tendons and extensor retinaculum (band around rist)




Anatomical Studies: A Left Forearm in Two Positions and a Right Forearm, 1600–1608 Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640) Drawing, pen and brown ink 27 x 18 cm



The Femur is the longest bone in the body. It connects to the pelvis at the hip joint. Where it reaches the fibula and tibia (lower leg bones) we find the patella (knee cap). The  largest muscles in the thigh help us stay upright. The muscle most curtail to our two legged elevation is the glutis maximus that is far larger in humans than any other animal. It is said to be the humaraces defining muscle. In the thigh we find the rectus femoris at the front stretching from petella to the hip. There are lots of others but I’m getting a bit tired of this!

The lower leg muscles – most defining is the gastocenemis or calf muscle that is clearly visible in all humans. At the front of the lower leg the shaft of tibia is not covered by any muscles. it is easily to feel on own bodies and is visible creating a slight curb from patella to near ankle.


Picture 11

Chalk board academic studies of leg.

Picture 9

Chalk board academic studies of foot.


Rubens – academic leg drawing


Academic leg drawing

I’m going to look at heads, feet and hands in more detail in another post but for now..


Putting it all together:




Martyrdom of Saint Lawrence Lucas Vorsterman the Elder (Flemish, 1595–1675), after Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577–1640) Engraving; 15 1/4 x 11 1/8 in. (38.7 x 28.2 cm) The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1951 (51.501.7125)


Le massacre des innocents P. P. Rubens, 1609-1611 Huile sur toile 142 X 182 Collection particulière


Lacoon and his sons, 1506, Marble 2 x 1.60 m artist unknown, Vatican City


The Entombment of Christ – Caravaggio c. 1602-1603 Oil on Canvas, Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City


Easy really 😉


Anatomical drawing from lecture:







Cheat sheets for visible bone and muscle:


torso-side torso3





lg-bone leg





web –

Good Rubens Resource

Cool anatomical posters

The Russian Academy of the Arts

Find this book!

Micheal angelo anotomical drawings

Books –

Anatomy for the artist – Sarah Simblet

Classical Drawing Atelier, A contemporary guide to traditional studio practise – Juliette Aristides


About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter


  1. You’ve done some really good research here Emma, it will take your figure drawing to new heights

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