How to Draw Muscles: A Brief Overview

how to draw musclesDrawing the human figure is a challenge in and of itself. There are many things to take into consideration, from the correct proportions of the various parts of the body to learning how to alter the figure to depict different individuals, characters, and characteristics. One of the more challenging aspects of drawing the human figure (as well as animal figures) is correctly drawing muscles. Udemy’s course on Anatomy for Figure Drawing and Comics is a great place to start for any individual who is looking to learn how to correctly draw the body. However, just a few tips can help you to improve your art practically overnight.

Understanding Muscle Anatomy 

One of the biggest mistakes that artists make when it comes to drawing the muscles is not understanding proper muscle anatomy. It’s important to understand that muscles bend, stretch, and bunch up depending on the way that the body is positioned. If you start to think of the muscles as a rubber band connected to two points of the body, and then think of the way that a rubber band changes when stretched, you can start to get a better understanding of the way that muscles move under the skin.

Every artist should enhance their figure drawing ability by doing some study of the muscles in the body. Take some time to learn the various muscles, including those in the back, torso, thighs, legs, and arms. Simply knowing the muscles and how they connect in the body can be an important step in drawing them correctly.

The Differences Between Male and Female Muscles

While some women may be very muscular and some men might not be muscular at all, there are still major differences between the muscles of men and women. Many artists may find that they are able to draw the muscles of one gender very well while faltering with drawing the muscles of the other gender.

Muscles on male figures generally tend to be bulkier and more prominent, especially on the chest, shoulders, abdomen, upper arms, and thighs. Even on leaner figures, the muscles may be more prominent. On female figures, the muscles are often softened. The most prominent muscles in a drawing are likely to be the longer, leaner muscles such as those of the calves or along the back.

Udemy offers a great course on The Secrets of Drawing that can help enhance the way that you look at a subject that you are attempting to draw. This can be a great course to take when you’re attempting to draw male and female figures either from life or from a source photograph. Learning to draw the figure this way can help you overcome some of the challenges that you may have in drawing their muscles the right way.

Tips on Drawing Muscles

It can be tempting to use hard lines to denote where the various muscles in the body appear in a drawing. However, this is something that you should try and avoid. The use of light, thin lines to show where muscles appear in the body is much more common in comics and comic book art. Remember that lines denoting muscles will be darker in areas of the body where muscles are more prominent, such as along the back.

However, other techniques such as shading and coloring can be used to showcase the muscles. If you are a comic book artist looking to improve your coloring ability, Udemy’s course on coloring comics can give you the tools you need to create more accurate drawings.

On the other hand, if you are trying for realism, then the use of value and shading will be much more important in helping to draw more accurate muscles. To draw muscles correctly using shading, you will need to understand the way that a light source affects shadows on the body. You can practice this at home by setting up a lamp in a dark room and watching the way that shadows appear and disappear on your own muscles.

Remember that the more prominent a muscle is, the darker and more prominent a shadow it will cast. Less prominent muscles may be only a shade darker than those of the surrounding skin.

Drawing Muscles in Different Mediums

Every individual that is looking to learn how to draw the anatomy will find that soft charcoal on paper is one of the best ways to begin accurately drawing the figure and the muscles. This is because soft charcoal allows for easy shading of the muscles, and will help you to get a handle on drawing different values much faster.

Learning to draw realistically in pencil can be a challenge, but it is one that is well worth it for many artists. Remember to use a softer pencil to shade in the various values to represent the muscles in the body.

Pen and ink drawing, which you can learn more about on Udemy, presents a bigger challenge to artists when drawing the muscles. If you are using an ink wash, you can create different values for the various muscles of the body. Otherwise, you will have to rely on techniques such as cross-hatching and stippling in order to accurately draw the muscles with the appropriate shading.

When you begin to draw figures, it’s a good idea to start with simpler poses that highlight the muscles. Remember to choose a variety of poses, whether you have a model or you are working with a photograph, so you can see the way the muscles move in a variety of situations. Once you’ve got the basics down, be sure to move on to increasingly complex poses to build up your understanding of the muscles.

There is a lot that you must learn in order to draw the human anatomy correctly, but with a good understanding of the human body and a lot of practice, it’s something that anybody can do. You can Discover the 7 Secrets to Figure Drawing with this great Udemy course and enhance your figure drawing skills in a flash.