How does understanding human anatomy help with drawing portraits?

I’ve been interested in drawing lately, especially portraits. I talked to a mentor for some advice and she said that the understanding of basic human anatomy can help when recreating the look of a person because you can use tricks to break a few rules and make things look more dynamic or prettier.

I was wondering, how does that exactly help and what rules are there to break to make the drawing look more interesting? Also, what parts are there of anatomy that you can study to help with drawing?
I really want to learn a lot so if you can then please include extra information ^_^
Thank you!

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3 comments

  • There are general standards that are involved with the face. Knowing then helps with placement of the features. Even if your subject doesn’t follow the standard it gives you a starting point to draw your character. Eyes 1/2 down the face, nor 1/2 from eyes to chin, mouth 1/2 from nose to chin ears even with eye and bottom of nose, mouth falls under pupils eye width between each eye and 1/2 eye width to side of face from eye…

  • Studying human anatomy definitely helps with understanding what you see, but it does not help you draw better, in my opinion. (Most teachers would disagree with me). In my experience, I learn more from looking at other people’s drawings, getting critiques, and most importantly – drawing.

    There are no official rules when drawing, it mostly depends on what your goal is.

  • Always concentrate on the detail that’s the main thing in my opinion, i have only ever learned the very basics of anatomy but still get good results.
    I could be drawing a portrait for ages getting frustrated with the outcome, and then just change a few minor details and the picture has been transformed.
    Check out my portraits and the tutorial below it might help or inspire you.
    http://www.portrayedtoprecision.com

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