Posted by : SimoneGallina™ venerdì 4 luglio 2014

When the very first art teacher commanded the very first art student to learn anatomy, it began a long, long search for shortcuts. 

Anatomical study from George Bridgman's life drawing class, 1911

Thousands of years later, art history is still littered with failed attempts at shortcuts on anatomy.   Artists have tried concealing their ignorance by using heavy shadows or excessive random lines or a soft focus.  They have tried concealing hands in pockets, or cropping pictures to exclude difficult parts, but their weakness shows through.

Yet, consider the drawings of Jack Kirby:

Kirby invented his own version of anatomy, and while it is often inaccurate, it seems just as persuasive as the genuine anatomy found in Bridgman, Vesalius or Muybridge.    

Contrast the following study of deltoid, bicep and elbow from George Bridgman's life drawing class...


....with the same body parts in Kirby's drawing:

Kirby's muscles don't connect properly-- he confuses the deltoids and the pectorals, his elbow wouldn't function, and his squiggly lines don't describe any known anatomical purpose.  Yet, this remains a powerfully convincing drawing.

And that's the way it is with Kirby; there is a confidence and virility to his figure drawing that repeatedly powers him through awkward anatomical questions.

Of course, bluffing as often as Kirby did, sometimes his bluffs failed spectacularly:

The fine lines of inker Vince Colletta betrayed structural weaknesses more than bold brush strokes did

I don't know whether Kirby actually understood human muscles, bones and tendons, but his work reminds us that the right attitude can enable artists to get away with expressive liberties that other artists cannot.

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Simone Gallina, fondatore di VISUALITY international, illustratore, grafico, fotografo ed artista multimediale, opera su vari progetti in rete ed off-line. Creatore di brand e websites, autore di una serie titoli su Amazon, lavora attualmente all'estero.

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