Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Hope Print Isn't Completely Dead Because I'm Making a Book!

A recent occurrence in the life of a friend (to be elaborated upon later) spurred an unexpected dive into a project I've been thinking about for years. Writing and diagramming for a blog is all fine and dandy, but despite my love of electronic media and its infinite educational possibilities, I still have a soft spot for print. So I've always dreamed of creating a book. A book with thick creamy pages that smells like a printing press. A book I can crack open for the first time and run my fingers over after hugging the UPS guy and dragging my eagerly awaited shipment box into the house. Until recently this dream has been next to impossible without an official publisher, but now that the printing process has evolved beyond the expensive and limiting, it's possible for us less-than-famous-or-well-known-or-prolific writers to get some of our own goofy little projects printed.

As such, I'm inhaling deeply and jumping into the world of print-- for a short time anyway. Yep, I'm making a little booklet of anatomical landmarks references for figure artists. It will include diagrammed photos, illustrations, and concise explanations of labeled structures. Its intended purpose is to function as a handy reference guide for figure artists who are stuck on any particular area of the body and would like some extra anatomical guidance.

The book will be organized by body regions, including head, neck, shoulders, anterior, lateral, and posterior torso, upper arm, forearm, hand, hip, thigh, lower leg, and foot. Heck, I may even throw in an ear and eye page is there is enough space. Each area will be shown from a variety of angles and everything will be labeled clearly and thoroughly.

Below is a sample photo from the book, showing the axilla and medial upper arm. It also shows one of my cabinets and some dishes in it because, yeah, I'm not a professional photographer. No matter, we can see lots of anatomical structures, right? Not sure if this specific image will make it into the final cut (I'm still shooting and slashing and re-shooting and editing) but we'll see. Regardless, why don't we take a little time now to talk about what we're seeing here?

OK, first a word about the weird numbering. In this image, I used the same numbers as in another photo on the page (in which they are in order.) Ah, it'll make sense when it's in print. I hope!

The axilla (the anatomical term for the armpit) is formed by two muscles-- the pectoralis major (10) anteriorly, and the latissimus dorsi (11) posteriorly. Up inside the axilla, we can see a short muscle called coracobrachialis (12.) It is given this name because it runs from the coracoid process on the antero-superior scapula down to the humerus bone in the upper arm. (The Latin root brachio- refers to the upper arm.)

Just before coracobrachialis inserts on the humerus, it tucks under biceps brachii (4), the most obvious superficial muscle on the anterior upper arm. Just deep to biceps brachii at its distal end is the brachialis muscle (13) which can be seen peeking out on either side of biceps brachii (although its borders are not very obvious here.) We can also see the long (8) and medial head of the triceps on the medial upper arm. The only bony landmark we see on the medial upper arm is the medial epicondyle at the distal end of the humerus. Another visible structure in the area is the deltoid muscle (3) that covers the top of the shoulder.

Just posterior to the coracobrachialis (12) we can see another soft lump of tissue labeled with an F. This is not a muscle, but a small mass of fat tissue that cushions and protects a few structures that course through the underarm, including the basilic vein, the median and ulnar nerves, the brachial artery, and some lymph nodes, which feel like lumpy little jelly beans in the armpit.

There are also a few structures in the image that, while unrelated to the upper arm, warranted acknowledgment for their clarity. Those are the clavicle (C) and the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle on the anterior neck.

The book should be printed and on sale by sometime in June! I will post more information then. See you next time!


  1. I am a collector of Artistic Anatomy books, and I would love to have one that I could actually use, as an artist.

    I am a bibliophile, who loves books, and would love to see more well designed books.

    Before the advent of desktop computers, I worked as a layout and pasteup artist. Yeah, we used paper and pencils, and pens and ink, and whiteout, and bristol board, and tracing paper and light boxes. I wish we had this Good ****ing Design Advice available back then.

    Yeah.... looking at that web site, and looking at the photograph in this post, and I can only point to the Good ****ing Design Advice that says: "Hire a photographer." Please !!!

    1. I would love to hire a photographer if I wasn't doing this with zero funding. But thanks for the encouraging input.

  2. I know, right? Funding? What is that? If you are not already 'published' you do not exist. Most of today's books are put together by 'marketing teams' that do not know the concept of 'content'. Then again, if you are a hammer, all you know is nails. The ultimate test is to take what you know, and make something with it. Once you've made something with it, try and teach someone else to do it, with the same information. This is the frustration *I* have with artistic anatomy books. Really, I AM trying to be encouraging. I really AM. *I* really WANT an artistic anatomy book *I* can USE. One of my faves is SURFACE ANATOMY by Joseph Royce. Philadelphia, PA: F.A.DAVIS Co., 1965.

  3. I think Valerie Winslow's book "Classic Human Anatomy" is very good.

    Good luck with your project.

  4. I'm looking forward to this release as well. I can't get enough anatomy references.

    Some perhaps lesser knowns that I like are Rey Bustos' self published book, Rey's Anatomy, and Michael Hampton's Figure Drawing: Design and Invention. I like Winslow's book. I haven't seen Royce's. Goldfinger's books, one on human anatomy and the other on animal anatomy, are great.

    1. Thanks very much! I'm afraid my book won't compare to those. It's just a reference guide for surface landmarks. There is no anatomical illustration. It's mostly photographs of figures with the landmarks labeled, plus text describing them. But it is extremely thorough! I just sent it to press today, so it should be available by mid-July!