Easily understanding the neck
Being able to draw the neck muscles accurately can instantly make a portrait look much more professional and complete. It is so easy to understand how to draw the neck properly that is literally a shame trying to “guess”. All you need is two points and five lines connecting them…simple as that.
- Step 1: The two points A & B
- Step 2: First set of lines
- Step 3: Second set of lines
- Step 4: Third pair of lines
- Step 5: Fourth pair of lines – Create the outline
- Step 6: Wrapping around the jaw
- Step 7: Covering it all up
You can download this Tutorial in PDF format for free. PDF Tutorial Download
1. Charcoal Stick
2. Sketch Pad
3. Kneadable Eraser
Step 1: The two points A & B
Before we start this step I ll give you a small introduction regarding the drawing set up. What you are looking at on the picture below is someone looking upwards (you are seeing bottom side of skull). The small rectangular bit in the middle of the skull is called hyoid, and it supports Adam’s Apple. This is your point “A”. You are also seeing the collar bones, connected to the sternum (top & middle bone of your chest). This is your point “B”.
The ellipses are just ribs you can see beyond and I added them to be able to create a complete drawing. If they get you confused you can omit them for now. All you actually need is your “A”, “B” and roughly the collar bones.
Step 2: First set of lines
Starting from A bring two lines towards the end of the collar bones. Notice the angles. This is the first layer of muscles. For reference they are called “omohyoid”.
Step 3: Second set of lines
From “A” start a second pair of muscle lines. These connect directly to the sternum; your “B” point.
Step 4: Third pair of lines
Now this pair of lines starts from somewhere below your ears and they end to your “B” point again (on the collar bones to be more precise). Just notice that their end towards “B” splits into two bits wrapping around the collar bone.
Step 5: Fourth pair of lines – Create the outline
These muscles are called trapezius and they connect to the ends of the collar bones. On one of the following steps we will see how the flesh and skin hangs from these muscles creating the outline of the area around our neck.
Step 6: Wrapping around the jaw
Finally before we see how the skin comes around all these muscles we just need to close the gap under our jaw. Two more lines connect your “A” to the base of your chin. Then skin and muscles wrap around those.
Step 7: Covering it all up
Now, after doing all this work unfortunately, you have to cover it all up with skin! Look at the picture below and try to imagine how the structure we had been doing so far, supports the surface; our skin. I have added some tone and made a few corrections to my lines but the base of our drawing is as described so far.
Please notice that the skin is drawn like a series of contour lines which follow the curves of the muscles below! Obviously when drawing a real person you don’t have to do this. In reality you will show all this curvature by playing with light and shadow!
This is obviously not the most detailed tutorial and definitely not one that medical students should read! However, it gives very roughly an understanding of the neck structure.
Remember! Purpose of these tutorials is not to make you remember each and every detail of the human anatomy. Their goal is to help you understand what you are seeing on a model and be able to recognise details before you copy them from life to your paper!
The Artist says:
“It is so amazing studying the human anatomy. You gain an understanding of how things work together and then instead of just sketching individual shapes and planes you understand how the body structure works as a whole!”
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