Human anatomy crash course for sculptors

Arnav Zek
4 min readDec 27, 2019


Tip: Start with low resolution

The rib cage is almost like an egg, the whole body is 8 eggs in an ideal proportion, Leonardo da Vinci used the length of eyes

Try to remember anatomy not by its structure but by its function

from its function understand the volume, don’t copy contours

The focus of art should convey action, emotion. You don’t want someone to stop and look at the parts of it

Start with base mesh and turn it into a gesture base mesh, that has the desirable emotion and action and captures the energy

Don’t use the same shape again and again

Keep adapting

A figure drawing that feels like it has a personality or appears dynamic is going to be more interesting than one that is technically correct.

the human body has the most diverse variation give it the time it needs

Getting the sense of proportions

Add the pelvic bone next, simplified as a flattened circle between marks 3 and 4, with the hip joints sitting on 4. Its width is roughly 1.5 to 2 head-widths.

You can now draw the spine connecting the head to the pelvis, it's center of gravity and stability.

The knee joints sit on mark 6

When the leg is stretched out, the line from circles at 4 connects to the bottom of the circle for the knee cap

The Ribcage, Nipples and Belly Button

The ribcage-lungs group is the third important volume of the body, after the head and the pelvis

It’s good to be aware of that and not attach the torso (the upper part of the body) and pelvis together like two blocks

The width of the oval (torso) is roughly the same as the pelvis for now.

the nipples fall on mark 2, just inside the sides of the head, and the belly button on mark 3.

The shoulder line is about halfway between marks 1 and 2, 2 to 3 head-widths

To begin with, it’s slightly curved down, but in tension, the shoulders tense up and the curve can itself turn up and look higher. Furthermore, the trapezius muscle, which from the front appears to connect the shoulder with the neck, is highly individual; if it’s very muscular, or carries much fat, it can make the shoulder line look so high there’s no neck; inversely, an underdeveloped trapezius, often seen in very young women, gives the impression of a long neck.

The Arm, Wrists, and Hands

The wrists are on mark 4, slightly below the hip joints, elbow level 3

From the side

In an erect posture, you can place the pelvic bone (a narrower version of the head’s egg), the shoulder and knee roughly on this vertical line.

The Spine in Profile

from the side, the spine is revealed as being shaped like a flattened “5”.

Note the shoulder joints are ahead of the spine!

The spine then comes back forward, and peaks again (inward) a little above the pelvis it changes direction again briefly and ends in the coccyx or tail bone.

The Ribcage and Legs in Profile

The hip joint is ahead of our vertical axis, and this is counterbalanced by the ankle being a bit behind it. So our hip-knee-ankle line is slanted backward and staggered again: from hip joint to front of knee joint, and from the back of knee joint to ankle.


The overall effect of this posture is a visual arc from head

The Arms in Profile

The upper arm falls fairly backward to the elbow

But the arm is never fully stretched when at rest, so the forearm is not vertical: the arm is slightly bent and the wrist falls forward, right over the hip bone.

To sum up

Proportion Reminders

The following are a few useful visual reminders that are based on the body. They come in handy when the body is not standing upright.

parts of this article are noted from

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Arnav Zek

Freelancer . Fulstack Dev . Game Dev