TUTORIALS - The Book of Bones - by Doctor Bone



incredible work! thanks so much for doing this, very informative and inspiring! :slight_smile:


Thanks so much for the feedback <> always important to know someone in watching

 Small little spine study &gt;&lt; 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 &lt;&gt; 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 &lt;&gt; noticed that the vertabrae divide up according to the cranial index which is a guide to the curvature &lt;&gt; 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


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 &gt;&lt; Width &gt;&lt; 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 &lt;&gt; laid the Eggs connected the sternum and the pelvic bone &lt;abdominal band&gt; on front views and the spinal column on back views
  Moving on &lt;&gt; once I have a relationship between the cube and the egg and their orientation in space I start to establish the weight and balance &gt;&lt; 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 &lt;&gt; 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


Hi…Dr Bone…Really like how you are getting a lot of motion on the page right from the
start…circular motion…my eye can’t stop traveling around and around LOL…NICE…:thumbsup:


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


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!


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.


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 &lt;&gt; the important thing to remeber is that as artist the important aspects are the function and the form &lt;&gt; 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.


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!


I am truly amazed! Your work is stunning and truly inspiring! Thankyou so much for creating these tutorials.



i’m studying this tut sir…

thanks and 5star from me


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


Thx a lot!:thumbsup:


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!



AWESOME STUFF!! this stuff is great and so usefull thanx a lot :wink:


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


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 :).


Here are a few new coffee stains and donut crumbs…


Hey Doc, great tutorial on portraits and some awsome sketches as always…this kinda medicine is sweet.