Apologies for starting this thread without any images, and for its length. However, I wanted to save a place and set up the thread to motivate me, and to ask for some help getting started. A bit of background. It has been 15 years since I began formally studying art, and 12 since I completed my BA degree. However, recently, I started a sketchbook thread on another forum, just to get myself back into the habit of drawing something, anything, on a regular basis. The first two comments on my work? "You should study anatomy." Beginner-level stuff. It hit me pretty hard. A decade and a half, and I still can't produce characters that don't get beginner-level critiques? I wasn't very happy. As a bit of background, my art education has been, shall we say, lacking in many basic aspects. All of my foundational drawing courses focused on rendering what was in front of the artist, with no real attention paid to form or three-dimensional thinking. There was no anatomy course offered. At all. In the end, since I really had no idea what a quality art program entailed, I ended up graduating with a piece of paper and a lack of skills I didn't even know I needed. Years later, after much failure and frustration, I finally began to get a sense of some of what I had missed out on, especially in regards to rendering the human figure without a model. To remedy this, about a year and a half ago, I finally got the time and money to enroll in a two-part anatomy course. Part I, which went amazingly well, focused on skeletal anatomy, and Part II was supposed to focus on musculature. However, after six years of teaching the two-part course, the teacher suddenly left between Part I and II, leaving the course and its new teacher in a state of disarray, and me still lacking the knowledge of anatomy I sought. Which brings us to today. I have purchased and studied several books on anatomy for artists over the past few years, and have tried to learn it on my own, but I'm having a lot of trouble trying to visualize forms, especially musculature. For example, right now I'm trying to figure out the arm, but the sheer number of muscles and interwoven, overlapping forms is leaving me confused almost every time. I would really like to improve, but the whole subject of anatomy seems beyond daunting in its complexity. To top things off, I also appear to be a very poor judge of my own progress, possibly due to my lack of solid art foundations - as in the situation above, I often think that I'm doing fine, only to have my perceptions severely checked. That's where, hopefully, this thread comes in. I've decided that I really want to be able to render the human figure, from any angle, in any pose. I want to produce drawings that don't elicit comments like the ones mentioned above.
To do that, I need to learn anatomy. And not just the muscles, bones and forms, but the way to look at and analyze the figure, translating it into images on the page or screen. I need help, not just with the subject matter, but with how to approach and learn the subject matter in the first place.
And that's why I started this thread. I hope that it helps me to do just that.
Once again, apologies for the novella, but I hope it gives you some idea of where I’m coming from, and what I need to do. Any advice on how to approach the subject would be helpful to start. Hopefully, some day soon, I’ll begin making some real progress.