View Full Version : TUTORIALS - The Book of Bones - by Doctor Bone

01 January 2006, 04:54 PM
RK has been so kind to let me post an additional thread which I shall try to keep interesting and educational at the same time, which of course is not always easy.

First let me apologize to those who have seen this post before.

Let me first state that I do not believe there is a right of wrong way to draw <> I do believe in being armed with a much knowledge and as many approaches as possible <> I know the masters worked in many ways depending to the best way to solve the problem at hand.

With that said, I will put forth concepts here from time to time that hopefully will be of some help on your creative journey

There is in my opinion no substitute for working from life but the ability to create the human form without a model is a skill that I find indispensable. It allows one the freedom to finish drawings after the model is not longer available <> to alter a pose or part of a pose to make the drawing/painting more interesting <> add a figure to a composition when needed <> or to draw totally without a model when that model exist only in your imagination.

This not how I normally draw from memory or imagination, it is just something I do occasionally to give me another way of getting into some new challenging poses.

Here are a few non-reference figures <> this is a little game I sometimes play with myself to get more variety of poses from my imagination.

I start with several cubes that represent the pelvis at random angles then add egg shapes representing the rib cage again randomly some overlapping and some not.

This is where I ended up.

And this was the process.

(1) I start with some blocks representing the trunk or pelvis. I try the make sure the these have 3 dimensions (height, width, and depth) and 3 sides.

This gives me some concept of position and aspect <> in other words how the block is positioned in space.

(2) Next, without giving it to much thought, I draw ovoids the represent the rib cage at position that have some sort of relationship to the pelvic blocks.

I try to make sure some of them overlap so that I know I will have some foreshortened figures in the mix.

(3) The next step is to establish a core or center to connect the two elements <> I this point I make some front views and some side and back views <> by drawing the line from the pit of the neck to the pubic bone or from the seventh cervical vertebrae to the sacrum.

I try to make sure that there is some twists and turns involved <> i.e. the rib cage and the pelvis have opposing positions in space.

(4) Next I like to indicate the connection between the two elements using the abdominal strip in front from the bottom or the sternum to the insertion point at the pubic bone and the strong cords in the back that run along side the spine and attach at the top of the sacrum.

(5) At this point I try to establish the weight baring leg from the side of the pelvic block to the ground BTW in a standing figure I know this is usually the high side of the pelvic block.
This is put the other leg in and try to start thinking about the ground plane relationship of the feet.


(6) I deal to knee joints at this point again using a block as my mass conception because it gives me the best orientation in space. At the same time I start to flesh out the torso and the legs.

(7) Now that my support mechanism is fairly well established I start to think about how the head is balanced on top <> the angle of the neck is my first consideration here then the cranio sphere.

(8) The process starts to overlap here because the arms and the heads relate to each other in terms of position and aspect in space. They relate in terms of action and attitude.

(9) At this point I continue to flesh out the figures and starting laying in washes to further define the planes <> adding first the darks then the lights and lastly a couple of highlights

Hope this walk thru was helpful <> remember to leave the head and arms till last <> this is something I stress a great deal and think it to be of critical import to the vitality of the figure.

Thanks all for your support and feedback <> I will visit all of your threads and give feedback in return.

01 January 2006, 05:01 PM

Great! I've linked your Tutorial Thread here:

Tutorials, Workshops, Anatomy Reviews & More ... [links within] (
(See last post).

Looking forward to more greatTutorials! :thumbsup:

EDIT: I've also advertised your Thread on the other forums. This thread definitely deserves attention! :)

Cheers, :)


01 January 2006, 05:39 PM

That was quick.....This forum just keeps getting better by the minute...
Heavy hitters coming out of the woodwork....should be interesting to say the least.
Can't wait for more thoughs on drawing ect. from you, should be very interesting, and
a great learning experience for all...:thumbsup: ;)


01 January 2006, 06:36 PM
And here it is!! Looking forward to get tutorials, and improved drawing skills for all who follow it. :bowdown:


Jakob L.
01 January 2006, 07:47 PM
Doctor Bone,

thank you very much for the addition, I'm sure it will help so many out.


01 January 2006, 08:59 PM
Hi Mentler
I'am glad to see this ... I have already learnt a lot (and I mean it) from your thoughts and demos at CA and TSOFA .. I have hardly read a fraction of it becasue there is so many interesting informations ... information overload hahaha :)
Thanks for your afford and time I'am really glad there is so many talented guys sharing their knowledge

- Slux

01 January 2006, 02:25 AM
:bowdown: Thanks alot for your walktrough, it will be one of my top priorities this week!! :bowdown:

01 January 2006, 02:34 AM
The other day I was wondering how you draw these figures, and today I got this gift.

Thanks a lot, now I can practise a lot more on paper.

01 January 2006, 09:27 AM
thanks so much for this tut mr. mentler! :)

01 January 2006, 11:54 AM
Great! Thank you for posting this Dr.Bone! :D

01 January 2006, 11:18 AM
wow another great tutorial! thanks a lot! :thumbsup:

01 January 2006, 08:18 AM
Thats some groovy stuff dude, well done :bounce:


01 January 2006, 08:24 AM
Great Tut Doc.

02 February 2006, 09:43 AM
Good to see you here at CGtalk sir, really good to see you speading the love, thank you so very much sir.

02 February 2006, 10:20 PM

this is my very first attempt at your method and it worked so well, it was so much fun and it helped me produce gestural sketches which are much better than my usual stuff that I am bound to call it the Method:scream:

I hope you don't mind my posting this in your thread. I figured it might be a useful additional information that even someone as untrained as me can produce believable gestural sketches this way.

In case you think it does not fit here, just tell me and I'll remove it, as I will post it in my anatomy thread also.

Time for another thank you.

Oh, I have a question, now, also:

- I saw you started construction of the legs with simple cylinders. When exactly do you use opposing curves (they are all over the place in your wonderful drawings, aren't they?)... or is that rather a fluent process?

Thanks again!

02 February 2006, 04:37 PM
Mr. Mu <> Glad you found the last post useful and had some fun with it. Here is another one.

Thanks all <> Hope these little exercises are helpful to some of you <> I do them to help me focus and look at things from different perspectives.

This is not the way I start a drawing, but thought it would be interesting to give it a try.

Here is another little exercise where I just start with a line representing the Linea Alba or center line of the front of the torso.

I than place my core landmarks: I call this process mapping I really only use it to construct figures from my imagination <> when I work from life I only use it if something does not look the way I think it should <> working from life is always best but with this knowledge you can finish up 30 second poses or create ones from scratch.

pit of the neck
bottom of the sternum
bottoms of the tenth ribs
front pelvic points

I know it needs more explaination and I will do that Monday as well

02 February 2006, 05:13 PM
Thanks DoctorBone, these are really helpful. I sure will study some of these. :D

02 February 2006, 08:04 PM
*rubs hands*

02 February 2006, 04:23 PM
I realize you can't read my writing, because I can't read my writing LOL

Copyright mentler 2006

This is all about my system of visual measurement based on the Cranio Index, Skeletal Landmarks, Mapping Angles and Negative Formations.

This page points out the importance of the core landmarks < those related directly to the spine > also a bit about the torso trapezium which tells you about the aspect and relationship of the rib-cage ovoid and pelvic block.

Next I am mapping the extended landmarks > leg baring the most weight always first < then arms treated as one unit across the clavicles.

Next I put is the junctions and try to have a change of direction when possible.

Note: The skeletal landmarks are also where major muscles groups attach so when you connect the dots you have really started to flesh out the figure.

Hope this helps you understand my approach.

Here is more of this Treatise oh the SoFA Forums which you might find interesting

02 February 2006, 04:39 PM
Great stuff, Doctor B! :)

I'm still not sure how this is copyrighted though ~ landmarks are well~known. Can you elaborate on how your method differs from known landmarking systems? (Not trying to be pesky, I'm just honestly curious). :)



02 February 2006, 05:01 PM
The copyright issue is because of the concepts not the words <> changing the name from "landmark" to "destination" <> the difference in my concept is that I have separated the Core landmarks (related to the spine) these of course are the same landmarks that a lot of others have used but in my case I am giving them priority status and have have designated them the "Core 4" landmarks.

So it is not so much about what is presented as how it is presented <> the "Torso Trapezium" (c) mentler 2006 on the other hand is a concept I have not seem anywhere else, does not mean it is not out there.

The Cranio Index is most certainly the same basic concept as Hale's 5 eyed line which goes back at least as far as Hatton <> so not a lot of new stuff just new and expanded ways of looking at it.

Hope this clearifles the copyright thing.

Here is more of this Treatise oh the SoFA Forums which you might find interesting
You will have to register to access to Knowledge Vault

These are concepts that will be on my DVDs and in books BTW.

02 February 2006, 07:11 PM

Very interesting, thanks for the reply. :) I think I can understand about your copyrighting terms, but have to admit that repackaging similar concepts in a new way is hard to justify ~ for example, Anthony Ryder in his book discusses familiar terms such as contour, gesture, and block~in, and does these things in his own way, yet I doubt that he could consider these copyrighted terms / concepts. I do understand that you may have a unique approach to familiar concepts, and obviously respect your knowledge of anatomy very much ~ but I just think that there are certain concepts which are universal, and beyond copyright. That's just my opinion, though, and it really isn't important with respect to your approach ~ I think that it's great that you are doing books and dvd's, and think that a lot of folks will greatly benefit from them. :)

EDIT: After thinking about what you've written, you're right. Heh, sorry for the misunderstanding. ;)



02 February 2006, 01:35 AM
RK <> enjoying every minute

Not really a tutorial, but thought some might like to see what I do at a workshop <> this is from one I just did on proportions.

02 February 2006, 10:51 PM
Mentler - Your work always amazes me. Your loose work is so detailed you understand what you are trying to get across. You've changed up your board since I was there. I need to get back soon and get another workshop in. I'll remember to bring the Merlot from my area.


02 February 2006, 11:00 PM
Wow look what I stumbled across :eek:

Tell me you have a DVD already that explains your technique (Credit card is out right now)

02 February 2006, 08:51 AM
Thank you for this amazing thread Doc.

03 March 2006, 10:02 PM


03 March 2006, 12:02 AM
Its always great to see art tutors spreading the love@! :bounce:

03 March 2006, 06:20 PM
The Devil is in the digits <> The never ending battle

These are a few studies going back almost a decade

This is an archive of my hand studies going back about a decade.
I started by doing Bridgmans Book of a Hundred Hands <> of course there are several hundred hands in there. Also some refs from Shepard.

Many of these are posted elsewhere, but I thought it would be nice to have them in one thread.
This is more for inspiration than anything else.

04 April 2006, 08:21 PM
Moving forward to the tut

Here are some of mine and some from life and some from ref.

04 April 2006, 08:28 PM
Moving Closer to the Tutorial.
Hands don't come easy for anybody <> if someone draws hands and feet well it is because they have put in the time to learn to draw them.

04 April 2006, 08:34 PM
Yes Virginia I have drawn a bunch of hands and the still take a lot of thought.

04 April 2006, 08:54 PM
Sorry I am making so many post but it will only let me load so many at a time
Joined CGS btw so I am here to stay

04 April 2006, 08:59 PM
This is where I really started to learn to draw hands from memory, when I begin to realize that the key was to understand the underlying structure.
Of course we always have a model if we need one.

04 April 2006, 09:12 PM
It is more important to know the function a muscle or group of muscles that to know the names. Function creates form.

04 April 2006, 09:17 PM

04 April 2006, 09:24 PM
Here are a few more recent studies <> I think becoming a master is realizing that you really never master anything only evolve

04 April 2006, 10:10 PM
Hi ....Doctor Bone... ....WOW....That's a lot of nice...and hard... work there...:thumbsup: :applause:
very impressive...the hands are great, but that eloquent line of breaths
life into them....a real pleasure seeing these....glad to hear that your sticking around...I really enjoy
studying your work....very inspireing...:)

04 April 2006, 11:15 AM
Wow Doctor Bone

This thread is turning into an encyclopedia of knowledge!

Thanks so much!

04 April 2006, 03:06 PM
Thanks Spirit and Mu

Just moving a few things over from CA so if you have already seen this stuff I apologize.

Will be posting new stuff here as it develops.

This a system I developed to learn to draw the skull totally from memory with no reference <> no focus for the past few years has been to learn the draw the figure from without reference in any postion <> the hands above started out in about 98 totally from reference, Bridgman and others around 2002 I started to learn how to do it totally from memory and imagination <> I am not where I want to be with it and never will be.

But here is the process know it is hard to read and I apologize for that in advance!

04 April 2006, 07:27 PM

04 April 2006, 07:15 AM
incredible work! thanks so much for doing this, very informative and inspiring! :)

04 April 2006, 12:51 AM
Thanks so much for the feedback <> always important to know someone in watching

Small little spine study >< Really important to understand the curvature and to use the vitality of the inside curve as your guide.

The spine in humans is very unique because we face the world in an upright position. It plays and important part in our anatomical make-up and it plays an important part in my approach to dealing with figure structure.

Here is a study I did today to refresh my memory of the forms and functions of the vertebral column.

The column is made up of 29 vertebrae <> 24 real the sacrum and the 4 coccyx or tail vertebrae. We are mainly concerned with the 24 real functioning vertebrae which include: the 7 cervical or neck vertebrae, 12 thoracic or rib cage vertebrae and the 5 lumbar vertebrae.

Anyway here is the start of my review for my anatomy workshops.

Just added a couple a diagrams and notes to this page <> noticed that the vertabrae divide up according to the cranial index which is a guide to the curvature <> do not mean to dwell on this to much but it is the core of the structure the center post on which all else depends.

The artist needs to understand the support system and the functions that create the external forms or they will forever by a slave to coping surface detail.

And no matter how good one gets at copying surface detail there is always something lacking in the final result in terms of weight, balance and vitality.

So it is important to observe and see and have the hand skills to express and render what you see from reference or life, but it is also important to have a good knowledge of function and form so we know what we are seeing what it does and where to look for it.

I really don't think you can divide the approaches, as many seem to think, I think both are important to end up with a great product.

Thanks all <> return visits soon

04 April 2006, 02:06 PM
Which Came First the Cube or the Egg?

I have had several request to do this cube and egg exercise again.
I scanned this very early so that I could make the point that I establish the cube first and then relate the egg to it.

The reason for this of course is that the cube depicts all three dimensions::
The HWD factor: Height >< Width >< Depth

Also here it represents the pelvic girdle which is the foundation element in my approach to the figure.

The point is that it is important to establish the position of the pelvic block.

More step-by-step to follow later today

Second installment <> laid the Eggs connected the sternum and the pelvic bone <abdominal band> on front views and the spinal column on back views

Moving on <> once I have a relationship between the cube and the egg and their orientation in space I start to establish the weight and balance >< look for the weight baring leg for standing poses and look for the settling point of gravity on seated and reclining poses.

Moving a little faster now adding some heads which I always save till near the end because it is balanced on top of the rest of the structure and I like to give it a counterpoint to everything else that is going on <> started to look for some side planes and down planes to establish a little more form to work with.

A little more fleshing out of the figures <> going to take a break more to come

Firming up a couple of figures to see how far I want to carry this puppy <> obviously this is a great exercise to get to some poses you normally wouldn't get to from memory and for me it is fun to stretch a little.

This is all for now <> it is past beer thirty and well into gin time for the Doc.

Hope some of you find this exercise interesting

04 April 2006, 07:21 PM
Hi...Dr Bone.....Really like how you are getting a lot of motion on the page right from the
start....circular eye can't stop traveling around and around LOL...NICE...:thumbsup:

04 April 2006, 03:36 PM
Thanks SpiritDreamer <> I think that one of the benefits of this exercise is that it puts the focus on the whole <> you become more aware of the whole page <> I try no to get to involved in details or on any one figure and try to be aware to the texture and composition of the whole page.

Did more work on the final and here is a short version of the process.
(Absolutely no reference involved in this exercise)

The Cubes and Eggs

Establishing Torsos

Fleshing Out

05 May 2006, 02:39 PM
I've just finished downloading every page of this thread.What can i say...
I loved to watch your cubes and eggs process and the skull tutorial was truly great..and the hands..
Well,i sure hope your students in Dallas appreciate what they have.

Thanks,much respect!

05 May 2006, 07:31 PM
A few pages of note for tonight demo and lecture on the pelvis <> I know they are rough and hard to follow but the key points are that the pelvis and its position in space and its relationship to the ground plane is the most important piece of information in understanding a pose. It is the mechanical axis of the body and the fulcrum for the strongest muscles groups in the body.

If not the starting point it is certainly a very early consideration when dealing with the figure.

Because of the fact the pelvic block and how the HWD of that block need to be understood.

One point I would like to make is that these diagrams are not a way to draw but away to understand complex forms <> understanding therefore is the key, because we cannot draw well what we do not understand.

Thank you all for feeding the monkey have to get to the studio now to get ready for my lecture.

Polonoid <> Thanks sorry these pages are hard to follow <> under the weather this week and just trying to get caught up.

05 May 2006, 10:30 PM
I am going to deal with the Posterior muscle group first and the first muscle of that group is the Soleus which is so named because it is shaped like a Soul fish.

I believe it to be the most important muscle in the lower leg because it is visible from all angles and add form and grace to the lower leg.

I will continue with the muscles of the back (posterior) then go to the front

This will take a while <> the important thing to remeber is that as artist the important aspects are the function and the form <> are muscles that perform the same function can usually be grouped together and the shape of the total group becomes the mass conception to remember.

I should of cleaned these images up a little in PS next time

The last surface muscle of the posterior group is the Flexor Digitalis Longus which runs behind the base of the Tibia on the Medial (inside) of the foot.

Artist generally don't deal with this muscle but I find that it adds form to the front and rear view of the ankle <> this is going to be it for the posterior view will continue with the anterior (front) and lateral (outside) views tomorrow.

05 May 2006, 11:40 AM
I feel ashamed at just looking at the images in this topic. I will put some time in to night to read all the useful posts that were made here. Thanks for the effort you put in here Michaelis!

05 May 2006, 03:00 PM
I am truly amazed! Your work is stunning and truly inspiring! Thankyou so much for creating these tutorials.


06 June 2006, 11:15 AM
i'm studying this tut sir...

thanks and 5star from me

06 June 2006, 03:09 PM
A few footnotes I did before lastweeks lecture <> I try to reveiw the material before every lecture to refresh my memory and to learn something new <> I deal with the foot as having to skeletal structures the "ankle system" and the "heel system"

Let me apologize is advance because I know some of my notes are not that clear

06 June 2006, 03:34 PM
Thx a lot!:thumbsup:

07 July 2006, 02:09 PM
Not one of my better drawings, but I have had a lot of questions about the methods or techniques and materials I use so I thought I would post this here!

This is a mini tutorial on aspects of my pen and ink technique that I have been using on my old master studies.

These start with reference which I sometimes copy and put in construction lines for the keystone of the nose and the dental arch.

Here I drew the keystone on the reference copy (don't do this in books)

Also drew construction lines for brows, corners of eyes, base of nose and opening between the lips >>> I do not do this very often but it is valuable to check the angles which is where most drawings do wrong from the start.

Use straight lines to begin, because straight lines are easier to judge for angles.

I cannot stress the importance of getting the angles right <> we all have a tendency to straighten everything up and we constantly need to check and recheck angles.

The next order of business is to get a feeling for the placement of the eye sockets (which I visualize as aviator sunglasses) <> the triangle of the base of the nose and the center to the mouth.

Note that I am working from the inside out <> Daniel Greene who is a master at portraits works this way and points out as a kid that he drew the outline of the United States and then started to put in the states and by the time he got to the middle he had to start making the states smaller and smaller to get them to fit.

It does make a lot of sense to start from a central point and work out from there <> I prefer the Glabella of keystone of the eye sockets because of it central location and structural importance.

It is also critical in the placement of the eye sockets and the eyes which are more often than not the focal point of the portrait.

Also note that I get some tone in very early because I think line and tone should work together.

Paper: Speckletone recycled (kraft) from French Paper Company, not great for the wet media but I do like the color.

As you can see I work directly with ink with no pencil sketches to start.

For this drawing, and many I have done recently, I am using Nexus rollerball pens made by Koh-l-nor in Germany.

The Nexus pens come in a great selection of earth tones and can be softened with a alcohol marker blender.

The blender is what creates part of the yellow wash effect.

The first hatching I do is for general tone and to start the search for the planes.

The second phase of hatching I look for corners and start defining the planes.

I try to always keep thinking of the unity of line and mass (value) <> this is not how I have always worked. Like everyone else I use to work the line first and then fill in the shapes <> I have only been consciously working them both at the same time for a few months.
I feel very strongly that it is the right approach and now when I look back at the Old Master's I see that's exactly how they approached their studies.

I use a variety of pale Tria and Copic markers the get a little variety in the tonal structure and begin hatching over the marker tones and softening the edges with the marker blender (The Copic marker blender works better than the Tria blender) (in general I prefer the Copic products.

I do want to say that I really don't think to much about the phases of hatching, as they all seem to co- mingle, I do try to avoid creating tick-tack-toe checkerboards and in the latter stages I really try to start following the form.

I also start turning my sketchbook to get the angles I need to hatch. Not that many secrets. The real secret is to do it a lot!

07 July 2006, 09:00 AM
AWESOME STUFF!! this stuff is great and so usefull thanx a lot ;)

07 July 2006, 02:23 AM
Thanks Ravmaster <> Feeding the dancing bear always makes the show better LOL

Here are a couple of notes on hands I did today <> always looking to increase my understanding of structure and function

08 August 2006, 05:21 AM
I really appreciate the overview of the portrait. Seeing it develop and what you're thinking is very helpful. Love the box and egg method -- just a great method to practice with :).

08 August 2006, 03:05 PM
Here are a few new coffee stains and donut crumbs....

08 August 2006, 03:29 PM
Hey Doc, great tutorial on portraits and some awsome sketches as always....this kinda medicine is sweet.

08 August 2006, 12:40 PM
Thanks Mark here are a few more....

10 October 2006, 01:16 PM
Thank you so much doctor bone ...... b4 having lotsa problems ...with figure drawing..but with ur method ... it helps me alot!...thanks again! again and again!!

12 December 2006, 09:22 PM
This is the system that I have developed and use to invent figures without using models or reference.

The first page basically refers to the flaws in using the head as a unit of measurement.
The number one problem with systems based on the head is that the head is an ovoid and changes shape and dimension as it is rotated in space the second problem is that the landmarks fall on flesh i.e. nipples and navels which of course vary depending on sex, age, weight and position.

The system I have developed is based on a sphere which does not change shape or dimension when rotated in space and thus becomes much more useful to the artist as a system of creating the human form in space.

This page is one I did recently from memory.

This is a first page of a complete tutorial on the Cranial Index and the Cranial Grid.

As you can see the torso from the top of the head to the pubic bone is 5.5 units and the legs from the top of the great trocantor to the floor measures 6 units.

I am starting here with the spine and out from there.

12 December 2006, 12:58 PM
This is the first installment on how to diagram the pelvis based on the CRANIAL GRID SYSTEM from THE BOOK OF BONES.

Next installent in a couple of hours.

12 December 2006, 02:53 PM

I totally agree with your sphere like a charm, when creating forshortened figures
in the Z BRUSH program,..using the Z SPHERE'S that they have in there.
I'm doing some forshortened figures of boxers, for a boxing series that I'm working on in my skechbook thread, they are a few pages back from the last page....using sphere's as my starting points...seems to work fine....just letting you know that your theory is being put into practice, and is working great..:thumbsup: :)
As always,...a real pleasure seeing your drawings, and reading your thoughts behind them.
Really looking forward to seeing more..:)

12 December 2006, 03:50 PM
Glenn, I really appreciate your feedback. I think most people fail to realize how far superior the sphere is, as a unit of measurement, to a head system.

The head system becomes pretty much useless when you are working with anything but a straight on pose. And as far as I am concerned is even less useful in inventing the figure from memory.

Once you understand this system you can create any pose from imagination.


Here is the second installment of the pelvis diagram from the front view.
Remember that the squares of these grids represent cubes and everything you see here can be projected in space using the same system.

Third installment later today.

It is later... side view tomorrow

12 December 2006, 11:55 PM
Mini-Tutorial continued <> Cranial Grid used to block-in pelvis from side view.

One thing I would like to point out here is that I do all of these exercises freehand to increase my ability to measure and draw things visually rather than using measuring devices.

This is the kind of knowledge one has to have to draw the figure convincingly without reference.

12 December 2006, 05:11 PM
On with the show.

I don't stress often enough that the diagrams and schematics that I have developed are based on solid forms. They are orthographic parts of a plan to be able to visualize and project the forms in space. So use them to simplify complex structures but remember a square is always a cube and circle is always a sphere.

Here are a few very quick thumbnails using the information from the diagrams to visualize the pelvis in space.

12 December 2006, 05:46 PM
your stuff's always so extremely helpful! [the only thing is the writing LOL - it's taking me forever to figure stuff out :D]

12 December 2006, 03:59 PM
Intervain <> thanks much <> need feedback <> lets me know someone is watching LOL

Thanks all for your support in 06 and look forward to hearing from you in 07.
BTW lets me hear from all of you from time to time so that I know someone is following this thread.

Much more could be done with the pelvis and we will do more when I get to the muscle structure.

Here is the first installment of the rib-cage discussion.

The rib-cage of a large framed adult male fits nicely into a Cranial Grid of 4 units.

Please note the reference to the 5 eyed line which I have borrowed from Hale and continue to use because it is very helpful.

As most of you know the skull is approx. 5 eyes wide from the front view.
The sternum also divides into 5 equal units not including the arrow shaped ensiform cartilage which falls at the bottom.

Also note that the first five ribs attach at the top of each segment with the exception of the first rib which falls in the middle of the first segment of the sternum (manubrium)

It is important to know the position of the first rib and the fifth rib and of course the tenth rib. This as you can see greatly simplifies the rib-cage and makes everything fall into place.

Note the plane break that I have indicated, where the cartilage attached to the bone and the angle changes from a downward angle to an upward one.

This is a start <> more to come <>

12 December 2006, 06:25 PM
Heya DoctorB,

Would love to see you run a Workshop here on the Anat Forum if you are interested in 07 - would be a great learning experience for us all. :)

Cheers and Happy New Year!

12 December 2006, 06:46 PM
Sounds like a plan <> lets talk!

01 January 2007, 01:42 AM
The best way to work out the details for a Workshop is by email - feel free to contact me anytime at (

Happy New Year! :)

01 January 2007, 07:32 AM
Thanks all for your support in 06 and look forward to hearing from you in 07.
BTW lets me hear from all of you from time to time so that I know someone is following this thread.

A replacement for the head measurement system in figurative anatomy? I'm all for that!

I have a bit of catching up to do, I'd just like to let you know that I most certainly will be following this thread from this moment on! Your drawings are absolutely stunning, I can't wait to read more of your thoughts on the figure and drawing. :thumbsup:

01 January 2007, 08:57 PM
Adam, thanks <> This system of measurement has been use by Archiolgist and Anthropologists for decades. Robert Beverly Hale developed it's use for artist's when he taught at the Art Students League. I merely am taken a step or two farther.
It will become obivious to anyone that works with this system that it is far more accurate than head measurements because it is based on the constant shape or the sphere and the constand position of bony landmarks.

First, let me again say thanks for your support in 06 and I will try to keep them coming in 07. As most of you know I am working on several projects including DVD's and books. I am also planning to do some streaming videos step-by-step tutorials as well.

I know this looks like a great deal of measuring but in reality I stress during everything visually and freehand without the use of mechanical aides.

The purpose is to train the eye to see visual relationships and proportions.

These are all based on the "Cranial Index" (sometimes called the Sternal Index) which is used by the scientific community in human studies.

I would like to stress that drawing is really a matter of connecting the dots.
It is about knowing where a line starts and where it ends. In anatomy we calls those insertion points. Getting from one insertion point to the other is what line does the way that the makes that journey is what makes the difference.

One must have some concept of proportion and that proportion needs landmarks to make it functional.

The following plan diagrams and thumbnail projections are based on a grid system which I have developed based on the "Cranial Index"

I could give many acknowledgments here but will save that for the books.

These are just beginning sketches and roughs for book folios.

I know they are hard to read and I apologize for that as well.

I have heard many times in forums like these that, I hate school or I am not good in school and all I want to do is art.

Let me tell you that it is all very important. Learn as much as you can about math, (especially geometry) physics, biology, history, literature, English, music, dance, architecture, botany etc. etc. etc.

The more you know the better your art will be.

In dealing with the rib-cage remember that the important thing is its over-all form and as far as the details such as individual ribs note the insertion points the angles and fine the first, fifth and tenth ribs is probably enough for a starting point.

The rendering of detail is not as important as understanding that function creates form.

Most medical skeletons have spinal columns that do not have as much curvature as in a live person (look at x-rays if you can) most anatomical text drawings are done from these inaccurate skeletons.

So try to make sure you understand the correct curvature/vitality of the spinal column because that vitality will put more life into your drawings.

01 January 2007, 05:33 PM
I review this stuff before every lecture. I work from memory to see what I may have forgotten. I find I learn more every time....

01 January 2007, 04:22 PM
thank you for making the tutorial!i ve always had problem drawing human movemetns and everything!this has been a great help
and glad i replied..XD..cuz i found the bone infos on the back pages...
thx alot!ill be studying it very hard

01 January 2007, 11:45 PM
Loving your work Doctor, it's a great concept that I'm looking forward to experimenting with. I hope your book and DVDs are progressing well, I'd definitely be interested in a Book of Bones.

02 February 2007, 12:41 AM
I think this book is up to about 10,000 pages now. LOL

I will start keying all of this text in the SoFA soon!

02 February 2007, 10:28 AM
wow 10,000 pages O_o

but anyway helpfull as always!!

02 February 2007, 05:10 PM
Handouts for my lecture on Gravity and Balance which leads to Rhythm which leads to Angle which leads to Volumes which leads to Interlocking which leads to Twisting which leads to Yin and Yang

02 February 2007, 02:40 PM
Gravity exercises <> building and balancing <> start simple and work to more complex poses <>

02 February 2007, 04:22 PM

These exercises may seem elementary to some but let me assure you that they are very worthwhile. The basic of creating illusion in the western tradition of drawing depends on ones ability to project the illusion of forms in space. The cube for obvious reasons (it has a height, width and depth) is the best and most basic form to depict a spacial relationship. In other words if you can't get this part right the rest really does not matter.

The universal principle of gravity affects every living thing and artist must feel it and transfer that feeling to the pose.

The Book of Bones is my on going qwest for knowledge about the human form. Think of it as a combination of: De-coding Da Vinci, Illuminating Loomis, Highlighting Hale, Bridgman Unabridged and bits and pieces from the dozens of systems I have learned over the last six centuries. Of course many of these concepts are ones I have developed and are an amalgamation of my experience they will not be found in any book until I publish it.

The order of these post my not follow a direct path because I don't follow the same path most of the time. I hope that this thread is a help to some of you in your studies.

RK It would be nice if this thread were a sticky

02 February 2007, 09:21 PM
The Saga Continues....

This page continues the balancing of the masses of the torso and the introduction of the Core 4 landmarks which are based on the Cranial/Sternal index.

The distance from the pit of the neck (supra sternal notch) to the bottom of the sternum (not including the arrow shaped cartiledge) is the same as to the bottom of the tenth rib an again to the pelvic points. Using these bony landmarks is a great help in drawing from imagination.

Although I talk a great deal about method and technique and the science of form you should always remember that in art "The exception is the rule."

02 February 2007, 12:07 AM
Rum Dumb Doodles <> Basic blocking concepts and variations.

02 February 2007, 12:34 PM

Cubing or Blocking

The bottom line here is that most of us think we can draw a cube and most of us can't.

It is much more difficult than it appears and requires considerable practice and
attention to procedure.

Drawing in the western tradition is about the illusion of form in space.

To do this we have to first find and then fix the axis/position of the form.

We do this by finding the point of the height line that is closest to us.
We than find the point where the height ends and draw a line through that point.

(Note that I said through the point.)

It is always better to draw/think the line through where how think it visually ends.

Once you have established the height line (H) go back to the closest point and
lay-in the first width line.

Then the second width line, making sure that they appear to
converge to an imaginary vanishing point.

Close in the shape with the second height line.

You now have a plane (front plane) oriented in space.

You have gone from Point to Line to Plane.

After you have fixed the width it is time to deal with the depth.

Again starting at the closest point of the height line then the
bottom point of the same height line.

Now you have the depth plane or side plane.

To to create the form put on the top or bottom plane depending on
the axis/position in space.

As I said before this is harder than it seems and I did one wrong here.

I left it to show just how easy it is to lose the illusion
if you are not always aware of the axis/position of the form.

03 March 2007, 02:30 AM

03 March 2007, 09:46 PM
Excellent stuff as usual Doctor!

Really appreciated your box tips too. I've just come back from holiday during which, to my dismay, I had very little drawing time but I did make the effort to practice some cubes whenever I had the chance. You're right - I always thought I knew how to draw a cube, and although I could always construct one using finite vanishing points, drawing one on the fly or freehand at a particular angle proved very difficult. I'm still not there, and your tips I'm sure will help a lot. cheers!

03 March 2007, 11:32 AM
I bless this thread with my first post.

I had typed out a rather long and detailed post explaining my hesitation of joining such a daunting forum of extremely high level artists but I was annoyingly logged out when I clicked submit reply, probably due to the length of time I took in typing up my post.
Basically the jist of it was a pretty well thought out and detailed thank you for making me realise that even someone like me (that doesn't feel as though they can match the talent of many of the other members on the forum) can find more use than merely lurking for eye candy.
Thank you for sharing such detailed and high quality studies and thank you for inspiring me to work harder toward improving my figure drawing abilities.
Keep up the awesome work.

05 May 2007, 07:52 PM
It is now May 25 and there has been no additions to this thread since March. That is a real shame. I have learned more here than all the life drawing courses I took at the University. My "Book of Bones" numbers 603 pages. All of them downloaded and printed from this thread and others (including SOFA). Thank you for your help. Please keep posting. I am particularly interested in feet, hands and head volume.

06 June 2007, 07:59 PM
Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us Mentler. I tried out your method for drawing cubes and you were right I realised that cubes are harder to draw than I thought. Keep sharing with us!

08 August 2007, 02:11 PM
CENTER]Thanks all
here are a few more
shots from the last 3
Anatomy Academy sessions
DVD's moving foreword.
Will get caught up on visiting your
threads when we get done filming....[/CENTER]

08 August 2007, 04:13 PM
Gorgeous work, thanks for sharing. :)

08 August 2007, 07:59 PM
Love the "Fishing Pole"!

08 August 2007, 09:11 PM
Yes, works great, my wife found is discarded not knowing is was broken she brought it home, It is extremely light with a good grip and I have great control with it. It really feels like an extention of my arm.

It allows me to stand far enough from the drawing that the whole class can see what is going on.

And of course there is always the wow factor of drawing with a two foot stick.

09 September 2007, 04:37 PM
DVD's Moving forward <> this shot was taken during a break while shootion Hands dvd.

09 September 2007, 04:16 PM
It's the first here, on your thread, amazing work!! I'm realy going to study this, thank you! :D
By the way can you tell me what materials you use to draw? It looks like you use some kind of material to make lights and highlights that I'm curious in :)

Also in the firstests posts from you I heard something about a books and a DVD how's that coming? when will it be possible for us to get ours hands on thoses :)

And Finaly sorry for my English :P

09 September 2007, 02:46 PM
Will launch massive feedback attack soon to
all of your thread and leave mega stars.
Please know you are appreciated.
For us time is not necessarily money but it is art!

Duplicate Post In Sketchbooks

A few pages of coffee stains and other things.

01 January 2008, 03:32 PM
mr. Mentler-
these drawings are amazing. your methods are so creative and inspiring. These latest drawings are very Leonardo-esque. what type of paper is used here? and is that a giant ink brush you're using on the DVD shots?
oh, and your script is beautiful. I hope to study your drawings in order to improve, myself. I've been studying artistic anatomy diligently for a few months, but your work is possibly the most creative and educational at the same time. I am so I happy I've stumbled upon your work.

06 June 2008, 03:51 PM
A couple a pages and a
few thoughts about
eyes and expression.

One thing that I have not
seen explained in the books
are the reasons for the angle
of the eye in profile.

There are several factors that
contribute to the severity of
the angle.

Number one is that the axis of
the eye ball is pointed slightly
downward when we are looking
straight ahead.

Second the upper lid usually crosses
the thickness of the iris and the lower
lid generally passes under it.

The third factor that is often
overlooked is that the upper
lid is considerably thicker than
the lower lid.

All of these factors taken together
account for the angle or slant of
the lids from a profile view.

This angle is usually underestimated
by beginners and many
experienced artists.

We generally draw our own features
because we have looked at them
thousands of times.

Most of us have developed a
generic shorthand for eyes which
does not take into consideration
the expressive qualities that are
present in the model.

I also think that it is important
to draw the whole head or
at least the socket and side
of the nose when drawing

It is my belief that we should
take every opportunity to
see the relationship of each
piece of the puzzle to its

These are just a few of
the possible expressions.

If you intend to be an
illustrator or portrait artist
you should spend some
time learning are expression.

06 June 2008, 08:46 PM
This is one awesome thread( too), I like the eye angle/tilt thoughts.

Im curious about those DVD's, are ETA on when you think they will be done?(or maybe they are but I missed) I Wouldnt hesitate for a sec to get them :)

08 August 2008, 04:46 PM
The Never Ending Saga
Of The Dvd's

The First Batch Of
The Figure Structure
Dvd's Should Be Finished
By The End Of Summer.

Here Is A
Mass Conception
Of The
Form Units
Of The Upper Leg.[/b][/i][/color][/size]

08 August 2008, 04:29 PM
These Are From My
Weekly Sessions At
The Society of Figurative Arts

I just put these in a pile
and the students take what
they want these are some
that were on the floor
or got passed over

08 August 2008, 05:42 AM
the first 2 of your last post are my helps in understanding planes,light n shadow vry nicely..thanks for sharing

09 September 2008, 03:00 PM

More Time
For Good Measure

The Never Ending
Story Of The
Human Form

Lower Leg
Back View
Mass Conception
And Refinements

09 September 2008, 02:10 PM
Reviewing the
inside and
Outside views
of the lower leg

09 September 2008, 08:02 PM
this tutorial thread is absolutly amazing. To bad I just discoverd it today. I'm sure I will come back and try to get as much information out of it as possible. Thank you very much for sharing your studys.

Last week I did 20 gestures from scratch without reference and I had very hard times. Today I read your box and egg tutorial and gave it at try. The 3D box is so usefull to get a proper orientation and idea of the pose. I'll defenitly stick to that method and will fallow this thread closely.

Thank you!

Oh by the way you were mentioning a DVD is that already available?

10 October 2008, 02:43 PM
I review the function and
form of the body at
least twice a year

The Torso

Pectoralis Major

Here is the start of my review of
the muscles of the torso starting with
the Pectoralis group.

The first task is to determine the form
unit that best describes this muscle group.

The next task is to think about what the
muscle group does.

In this case the "Pectoralis Major" pulls the
arm down and forward.

For almost every action in the human body
that is a counter action.

In other words for every function performed
there is a muscle or muscle group that
performs the opposite function.

In the case to Pectorals the opposition or
opposite function is performed by the
"Latissimus Dorsi" group which pulls the
arm down and backwards.

As I have said, the important thing to
learn is where a muscle starts and where
it ends. In other words, its point of origin
and insertion.

The "Pectoralis Major" has three points
of origin.

A) The inner half of the collar bone

B) The edge of the sternum

C) The coastal cartilage as far as the
sixth and seventh ribs.


The point of insertion is about a quarter of
the way down the upper arm bone.

Note that when the arm is relaxed to the
side the pectoral group has an open fan

The major masses of the front of the
torso are the pecs and the abs so
if you have a grasp of function and
form of these two muscle groups
you have a good start on the front
of the torso.

Finding the center line is always
important and in this case there
is a groove that runs from the
pit of the neck and ends at the
pubic bone.

This line is sometimes referred to
as the "Linea Alba" or white line.

Study from previous review[/b][/color][/size]

10 October 2008, 09:16 PM
Here is another
page of pecs

10 October 2008, 07:40 AM
YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYES THIS was the anatomy key in my brain to unlock what I have known but could not get down THANK, you are amazing Doctorbone. Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge with everyone!

11 November 2008, 01:58 PM
Mass conception
of the
form units
of the
Latissimus Dorsi
back view
side view
It is
to always
view the
griding or plan
as dimensional
and visualize
the projection
of the form units

11 November 2008, 06:04 PM
Here is the first
page of my
review of the

11 November 2008, 05:24 AM
:)thank you for share~

11 November 2008, 02:40 PM
This one of the exercises from
my online figure structure workshop

L'Exerciizio ::: 42

Torso (Rhomboids and Serratus Anterior)


There are two muscles in the Rhomboid group,
the Rhomboid Minor which originates at the Seventh
Cervical Vertebra and inserts at the spine of
the Scapula and the Rhomboid Major which originates
at the Dorsals down to the fifth vertebra and
inserts at the outer edge of the Scapula

Serratus Anterior:

The Serratus Anterior muscles originate at far
underside edge of the Scapula almost connecting
with the Rhomboid group and insert on each rib
down to the Eight Thoratic sometimes even the

Since both of these muscle group attach to the
Scapula it is obvious that they work together
to pull the Scapula; backward, forward, up and
down. The Scapula is not attached to other
bony structures and floats around the rib
cage with the assistance of these two
muscle groups.

There is a third muscle that gets involved
that we will deal with at some point called
the Levator Scapulae which originates just
behind the Sternal Mastoid and inserts
at the top of the blade of the Scapula.

Were get into the muscles of the Shoudler
next and work are way down the arm.

02 February 2009, 04:19 PM
Here is a little review of
the deltoid and the
muscle group on the
outer layer of the scapula.

We are shooting and
editing on a regular
basis now and hopefully
the DVD's with start
flowing in the next few
weeks. Deltoid
And Upper Arm

The Deltoids, Biceps And
Triceps Lift, Flex And
Extend The Upper Arm
And I Like to Combine
Their Groups As Much
As Possible To Study
How Their Functions
Affects Their Forms

By The Way For
Those Of You Who
Have Not Figured
It Out Yet
YouTube Bodybuilder
And The Muscle Or
Muscle Group You
Are Working On
And You Can Observe
That Muscle Group
Being Put Through
Its Range Of Movement.

02 February 2009, 11:12 AM
any tips are always welcome, how's aboyut a tut about properly fleshing out arms and legs?
i finr those to be quite challenging

02 February 2009, 10:57 PM
Thank you Doc, just found and read your fantastic thread. Really looking foward to your DVD and Book. Really enjoyed reading this whole thread and seeing how you have combined the existing knowledge of so many that came before, into an upto date system that we can all use.

03 March 2009, 04:56 AM
insane thread, ive learnt more anatomy in the past few hours than i did in a few months, and its amazing how you just take the simple shapes and convert em into muscles. really helps me a lot, thanks doctah!

03 March 2009, 05:01 PM
Elemento ::: 46

Lower Arm or Forearm

First review # 32 as this
is a refinement of the information
we looked at in the Element.

Here is the first page of new diagramatics.

The forearm is pretty complex and our
species has a far more utilitarian apparatus
than other mammals.

We rotate the wrist by rotation the radius
over the ulna.

The first thing to remember here is that
the ulna is stationary i.e. it does not rotate.

The rotation occurs with the movement of
the radius which rotates over the top of
the ulna.

The next thing is that although there all
many individual muscles involved here we
group them by function and that function
determines their form.

We first try to get a mass conception to
determine the form units involved and in
this case the best solution appears to be
an ovoid that is flattened on the side
where is attaches to the bone.

The next thing to learn here is where
the group start and where it ends.

The three major group are:

1) Extensors - Action (Extend the Fingers)
Origin (Inside condyle of the Humerus)
Insertion (Palm side of the hand)

2) Flexors - Action (Flex the Fingers i.e. closes the fingers)
Origin (Outside condyle of the Humerus)
Insertion ( Back side of hand)

3) Supinators - Action (Rotates the Radius over the Ulna)
Origin (One third the way up the humerus)
Insertion (Follows the Radius to the thumb)

There is also a Pronator muscle
that has an important function
but does not play a major role
in the surface detail.

03 March 2009, 12:52 AM
Thanks so much for posting Doctor Bone - such a great source of knowledge!

04 April 2009, 05:16 AM
This thread is so inspirational and instructive. Thank you so much for all of this. It is a pleasure to look at every single page :)

05 May 2009, 10:56 PM
Working On DVD's

Thought I Should
Post These Feature
Studies Here As Well

06 June 2009, 05:36 PM
Back To Some Basics

Actually It Is Always
About The Basics

Focusing On Features For
A Couple Of Weeks
To Bone Up On
The Finer Points Of
Form & Structure

Have Been Looking At
Vanderpoel And Have
Gotten Some Good Stuff
From His Little Book.

Read The Copy As It
Relates Very Well To
The Little Drawings
Next To It.

As You Can See I Put Most
Of The Studies In Heads
Instead Of Treating Them
As Individual Objects.

I Think That It Is
Extremely Important
To Relate The Parts
To The Whole As
Much And As Often
As Possible.

It Seems To Me That
Vanderpoel Was Well
Understood By Bridgman
As His Book And Hatton's
Were The Main Sources
Available At The Time.

06 June 2009, 08:24 PM
An Ear

02 February 2010, 06:17 PM
Thought some for you might find
this article in the winter issue of
American Artist Drawing Magazine
of some interest!

04 April 2010, 07:00 AM
Amazing works! I'm going to use it as a reference for studies.

07 July 2010, 02:16 PM
Recent short poses from Tuesday life sessions

01 January 2011, 02:56 PM
My first DVD in the Heads, Faces & Features series is ready to purchase. Volume One covers the structure of the skull and muscles of the face and neck. You can buy it now at:

01 January 2011, 03:47 PM
Hi DOC :wavey: Long time no see. ...Congrats on the DVD :thumbsup:

I just ordered it ...Can't wait to get it...should be GREAT:) ..You and your work have always been a great inspiration to and for me over the years..Ive learned alot from you, and still am learning alot from you...Just wanted to thank you for that, and for the inspirations that you have inspired in me...THANKS DOC..:)
As Always...TAKE CARE DOC..:thumbsup:

02 February 2011, 12:06 PM
Hi Doc...:wavey:

I got the DVD, and watched it..on my big screened TV, while kicking back on my couch no less..LOL...Got to love all of this new technoligy..:D was ..GREAT...:applause: :thumbsup:

You are an Outstanding Teacher, and of course Artist DOC..:)

Just wanted to thank you for putting that DVD together..It is, and will always be a most valued addition to my personal library.

Highly reccomended to anyone serious about the study of human anatomy.

Can't wait for the next one to come out..:thumbsup:

As Always..Take Care,..and Keep Inspired and Inspiring DOC
Glenn / Spirit Dreamer

08 August 2011, 06:59 PM
Heads, Faces & Features
Glad You Liked The DVD
Boning Up For The Features

10 October 2011, 07:18 PM
Heads U Win

10 October 2011, 05:04 AM
These renderings are for a lack of better words amazing. I myself love rendering the human form, but this is breath taking. Thank you for sharing!

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