Sketchbook Thread of DriftingEmber


-Aviva, thanks for the kind post and encouragement!

Bought some softer Derwent pencils to try out.

-learning arm muscles, trying to identify muscles in a photograph
-did a painting in Photoshop mainly as stress relief


Love how much care you put into your studies. It definately shows, great work! Keep it up!


Hi Heather :slight_smile:

I just went through your sketchbook…GREAT START…:thumbsup:
DYNAMIC FIGURE DRAWING by Burne Hogarth is a book that can be very useful to you, if you read it and absorb what he is saying and then go about applying it in your own works,alot of principals for doing the figure correctly in deep space using forshortening with rythm/flow, interlaceing of forms ect…really useful stuff for getting a sense of life and motion into your figures.
Along with what you are already doing in the way of study, which is all great and a great way to learn, his book will help further your understanding of how to build and describe the human figure correctly and will also allow you to use and take that knowlage you have gained so far concening the human form/figure even further.
You can get his book/books on the internet…Great teacher and books…
Looking forward to seeing your progress in here…:thumbsup:


Great to see another person who enjoys Jack Hamm’s book, I recommend it to everyone who ask. Of course I don’t practice nearly enough, but I think I learned some things from it.

I really like your digital piece.


My apologies for not responding to people. My health became quite poor a few months ago. I am finally doing better and hope to draw more. Thanks to all for the feedback.

Studying leg structure (more Hamm copies) and attempting to construct torsos from imagination (one used photo reference).


Studied Richer diagrams to learn the leg muscles and then attempted to identify leg muscles in a photograph.


some nice anatomy studies in here. i wish i had the discipline to do so many anatomy drawings, but i frustrate easily in 2D. i look forward to seeing more of these. keep it up!


I’m currently recovering from surgery. Feeling much better. It seems that my trick for ending up bed-ridden is to set any kind of drawing goals, as they’ve coincided for months.

Well, before all that I did a couple quick photograph studies. My husband had agreed to sit for me every night for half an hour or so and I drew him a few times. I tried out Posemaniacs for gesture drawing, set to something around a minute per image. I did a Caravaggio study of a detail from The Calling of Saint Matthew.

I also have a question for anybody interested. My husband is my only current real life study material (aside from myself and my daughter). He has an unusually large skull. While I still think he’s gorgeous, I’m almost afraid of getting in the habit of drawing heads too large. Is it possible to develop a habit that way? Should I consciously attempt to draw it smaller or not worry about it? I’d love to study a variety of live bodies, but that just won’t be the case for a while.


Hi Heather, sorry to hear about your surgery. Hope you make a speedy recovery!

Great job on those bone/muscle studies!


First off, I’m glad to hear your surgery went well. And I love your anatomy studies. The one on legs is beautiful. The torso studies could benefit from the in-depth research like you did on the legs. For a construction dummy, it is sometimes easier to use boxes rather than ovoids. Have you ever given that a try?

As for the head questions, I’ve tackled this for months now myself. I’m not a teacher or an experienced artist, but here is what I’ve learned on my own: Head size will vary with geography and race. Head structure generally stays the same, I find. So in the construction phase it may seem like your subject has a large skull. But depending on how you finish, and whatever racial look you may be going for, it could be just right. For the ideal proportions, you could always look to photographs and use the sight-size method for measuring the width of the skull versus the width of the shoulder versus the width of the hips. After dozens of drawings, your mind’s eye will begin to associate patterns and generalizations as to what is an ideal head size. I find that when I’m out of practice, I draw the heads too small and the torso too large (and i generally don’t post those studies online :p).

For a rough estimate, I try to draw the head with flat sides and kind of long’ish. Then I try to make sure that there is one head of space on each side of the shoulder, and then for women, roughly the same for hips. Then I divide the line of the leg into two halves where each half is roughly two heads long/high. And that’s my ideal setup at the gesture phase.

Anyways I wouldn’t stress over head size yet. Draw the shape and size you naturally see, and worry less about calculating the perfect fit. Hope that helps somewhat.


-heozart, Hi Wes. Thanks for stopping by and the well wishes. :slight_smile:

 -redpanda, thank you for the response! It gives me some things to think about and try out.
 Drawing my hand this time.


I was able to watch a Vilppu video on gesture a bit ago. These are the most prodigiously counterintuitive drawings I have ever tried. You can tell me to “feel” the pull and “experience” the pose, and my brain is obliged to respond with complete blankness.


Hey Heather,

I think your gesture drawings you did look great. The rest of your work is very well done, you have great talent. Keep up the good work!

I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions as well.

  1. Do you have any book recommendations for anatomy?
  2. How does one develop such awesome lines for drawing? I hate how my line work and shading still looks so rough.


Hi Nate! Forgive me if this reply is too long. Here are a couple suggestions for figure drawing:

          -Vilppu Drawing Manual by Glenn Vilppu
          -Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm - This is a book I wish I had when I was a beginner. It seems like it would have been easy for me to digest at that level. It's easy but useful. The criticism I've seen for this book is that the people look "retro." The book is from the 60's.
          Any Loomis books are common suggestions, but you're already getting that.
          You may or may not like Dynamic Figure Drawing by Burne Hogarth. It's more advanced, so perhaps you can look it up at a later date. When I come across opinions on it, they are very polarised. If you get it, do not try learning realistic anatomy or proportions from it. It can be very exaggerated. I still mention it because I haven't come across anything else that helped me understand more advanced ideas like foreshortening, overlapping forms, and picturing the figure in perspective and space as well as it did.
          Some common suggestions I've repeatedly seen that I unfortunately don't have experience with are the anatomy books by George Bridgman and Eliot Goldfinger.
          I'm posting a link to a PDF of a ton of anatomy plates by a man named Dr. Paul Richer. They were published in 1890, so I believe the French version should be in the public domain by now (it lists a 70 year wait on Wikipedia...). So unfortunately... what I have here is in French. However, it's not too problematic figuring out what most the labels are despite not knowing the language thanks to Google. I'm under the impression that they are very accurate, and the images near the end depicting how muscles change as they work are particularly useful. There are English translations for purchase under the title Artistic Anatomy that contain more than just the images. There's also a PDF concerning his female anatomy, since it's imperative to learn that as well. I can't tell you what a single word means (again, it's in French), but there are images comparing the female and male bodies. 
          [Anatomie Artistique images](
          [Morphologie La Femme](
          [This is the orginal source]( for the Richer images.   
          I can try to answer your question about lines, but realise I am highly untrained: 
          1. Practise. Your hand will not make the lines you have in your head until you train it to obey you. 
          2. Be aware of line weight. If the lines are the same value and thickness, it's very boring. Observe where the good artists place different thicknesses, light/dark lines, and tapering.
          3. Try different pencil grips and types of arm control
          I'm surprised you even asked me about lines, because I'm a chicken scratch artist that very timidly approaches lines and seems to form half of them by erasing. My shading can be too tight. When I try making smooth, sweeping strokes, they are far more wiggly and shaky than I intend. I recently found they will smooth out drastically when I try drawing as if I were playing the cello. When you move a cello bow across the strings, you don't do it by bending at the elbow and moving your forearm back and forth as if you were waving. Nor does your hand flop back and forth by bending at the wrist. You "push" the bow past the strings by using the muscles in your [i]upper arm[/i]. You "push" and "pull" back, and the rest of your arm just follows after it.
          In fact, I was surprised to learn that in academic drawing it's common to see the use of an "overhand grip." While it's not exactly the same, it still looks very similar to a cello or violin bow grip:
          There are some other grips explained in that link as well if you would like to try them.
          Try drawing from the shoulder (I read people making this suggestion a lot). Use your upper arm and let the rest just follow it. Then try it from the elbow. Then use just your wrist. They may have different feels and uses to you. Perhaps one is better at smoothness while another is better at control and tight spaces. Draw some pages of just lines and hatching/shading to experiment and learn what feels comfortable to you and your body.
          There's also a tutorial on shading in this forum you can look at:
          There's this site as well:


Hello Heather.

Not too long at all, I appreciate all of the great information you provided and will be diligently reviewing the links as well. I did order the book by Hamm, so I am looking forward to diving into that book along with the book by Loomis. Thanks again for the help.


More gesture drawings. I also revisited the chest and made an attempt to visualise the muscles in a photograph of a male ballet dancer.


Trying to get faster at doing quick sketches.


well i just love that last drawing, lovely flow to it…having seen your first drawings and now your last there has been a real improvement, excellent work all round, Heather…:cool:



-Krispee, thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement. :slight_smile:

My husband’s work has been preventing him from sitting for me. :hmm:

I chose to study a photograph with a highly unnatural pose and fabric preventing me from discerning the back leg very well mainly because the arm and front leg were situated in a way that I did not have any muscle diagrams that matched. I wanted to try figuring out where they would be located.

When I drew the gesture, I drew the overlaps in the upper arms backwards because I didn’t understand how the deltoid insertion moves with the arm. I also noticed one of my previous studies looks like I connected the iliotibial band to the femur instead of the tibia. Lots to learn.


Couple photographs. My husband also sat for me and I drew his back. Too tired to fix his smudged shoulder. -.-