An amazing machine

The human body is an amazing machine and the more I learn about it the more interesting it gets… I am moving on to the bones and muscles of the neck finally and am beginning to realize how much I have forgotten. All the names of these muscles and bones have a familiar ring to them as I read them out and get flashbacks to my third and fourth year of Art School… digging into anatomy books and drawing models – eating bagels, instant noodles, apples and weak cafeteria coffee on my breaks.

In these two pages from my sketchbook I am beginning to look at the first seven bones of the spinal column… starting from Cervical 1 – the “atlas” – that articulates with the occipital condyles on the under side of the skull and the Cervical 2 – the “axis” – that fits together with the atlas. The atlas (named after atlas of Greek mythology who holds the world on his shoulders) holds the skull and allows a forward and backward rocking of the skull to look up and down and the axis fits together with the atlas in such a way that it allows a pivoting movement from side to side.

I am sort of struggling to be patient here… I have no physical model to draw from and am going from my anatomy books and pictures that I’ve looked up on Google. Human anatomy is a massive thing to study and so its difficult for someone like me who is very detail oriented to decide between what is and what isn’t essential to learn. There are some awesome references online and good pictures to refer to… There’s a section of the Stanford School of Medicine website with some photos of dissections and cut away views of bones and muscles that are quite helpful.

Here’s the picture from my sketchbook…

I gotta get my hands on one of those plastic skeletons that you see at the Doctors office or something close to it so I can actually look at this stuff close up again. It’s ok to study things in books but as far as I’m concerned nothing beats holding the real thing in your hands and gaining a real understanding of it. This will be especially important when I start working on my Ecorche statue… I would like it to be as accurate as possible.

I’m planning on doing some more work on the portrait from my last post tomorrow but there’s drywall and cleanup work to do in my condo… so I’ll see how well I juggle the two.


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