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Archive for March 2nd, 2014

14AnnDancerNeckIt’s the rope-like muscle that stretches obliquely around the cylinder of the neck, from the ear to the clavicle.  (“It is given the name sternocleidomastoid because it originates at the manubrium of the sternum (sterno-) and the clavicle (cleido-), and has an insertion at the mastoid process of the temporal bone of the skull.”—Wikipedia)

That’s enough anatomy!  What matters is how to draw this thing,  particularly when the head is tilted back.

In last week’s drawing class, everybody worked from photos of their choice and Ann chose the photo of a dancer with a pair of very prominent sternocleidomastoids.

NeckDemoI sat next to her and sketched out diagrams of how the neck joins the head, as seen from underneath.  The problem can be understood as one cylinder (neck) holding up part of a larger cylinder (the jaw).
The jaw cylinder, of course, doesn’t extend to the back of the head, but it helps to think of it as a cylinder in the front.

Ann practiced drawing the schematic version, as illustrated in my page of sketches, and then she took another piece of paper and, never having done anything like this before, she produced this fine drawing.  The foreshortened face, with the upward angle of the eyebrows and the undersides of the nose and upper lip, all that is convincing  The anatomy of the sternocleidomastoids is not quite correct, but the drawing still works because 1)the way the cylinder of the neck meets the underside of the jaw is clear and 2) the markmaking itself—the fuzzy obscuring of the line—directs the viewer away from any expectation of precision.   She worked with tinted charcoal pencil and feathered the lines with a stomp to great effect, taking the drawing from an academic anatomy study into something moody and atmospheric.

(The stomp, btw, was made of tightly rolled newspaper. It’s easy to make your own stomp. We can cover that little cottage industry some other time.)

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