20 July 2000


YouCanDraw.com's Insiders Communique


In this issue:

1) Back from our Summer break - the downloadable e-Sourcebook
2) Quick anatomy lesson: the Neck


HI everybody,

1) Hope all is well. We've been making steady progress on the downloadable
Caricature Lesson e-Sourcebook (which we've come to affectionately call it :-)
Hopefully in a few short weeks, after a couple small bugs have been finally
ironed out it'll be ready for selling - and we'll give all of you a very
good deal on it for being such loyal and dedicated artists!

2) Quick anatomy lesson: the Neck

This'll be a really quick and dirty overview of the neck. Basically the head
bone's connected to the neck bone, the neck bone's connected to the shoulder
bone, the shoulder bone's connected...not exactly anatomically correct, but
it's a start.

A foundation

Generally when doing a caricature, you want to give it a foundation. Most
people's heads aren't floating in space - they have a foundation. The Neck
forms that foundation. Some folks have a bull-neck, some a pencil neck, but
most everybody has a neck. Mike Tyson's neck seems so thick it's more like a
tapering of his shoulders than a true neck - and he's often caricatured
that way: with a huge, truly bull sized neck.

The "C-Spine

To approach drawing the neck, I find it easier to visualize the swoop of the
back bone - the "cervical spine" - the actual vertebral column of the neck.
Around it is built the main cylinder of the neck. In sketch "1" of the
drawing below, you get the general idea of the head just planted on top of a
post. This post has a curvature that, when viewed from the side, arches
towards the front. A very gentle "c" if you will. (It's called the "c-spine"
by medical folks.)

The supporting cast

If that's all there was to holding up the head, I don't think any of us
would live real long! In picture "2" you can see the main support muscles of
the front of the neck. These are called the "sterno-cleido-mastoid" muscles.
Now that's a name! The pair of them arise out of the sternum, (the breast
plate) and they anchor in right behind the ears. They help turn the head
left and right, support it when you look up at the sky (go ahead and lean
way back over your chair and look at the ceiling - you'll feel them hard at
work). Visually they form a "V" when looked at from the front.


In picture "3", the trapezius is added. "Trapezius" means trapezoid or
triangle - (it's a pain in the neck trying to remember all that
Latin...sorry I couldn't resist :-). Whichever it is, it means some kind of
geometric shape - and I see it as two triangles on either side of the neck.
Viewed from behind it's kind of, well, trapezius-shaped! It forms the
outline, the smooth swoop you see in an athlete's neck between the head and
shoulders. This is the main muscle you use when you shrug your shoulders
(when you say "gee, I don't know").

If you squint at sketch "3", you can make out the outline of the full neck.
Go ahead, look at it and squint. Don't you see the main shape forming?


Shadow-wise, there's usually a groove of darker value along the front of the
sterno-cleido-mastoid muscles, (scms), and a second one at the margin
between the scms and the trapezius.

Good 'Ol Adam's Apple

The last general piece of anatomy that's usually represented in most people
is the "Adam's Apple" - the cricothyroid cartilage. It can be drawn as a
rather oval-shaped shadow or line between the scms. It tends to be larger in
men, and it stays right in the middle if you turn left or right. (Try this:
lightly touch your Adam's Apple between your index finger and thumb. Turn
your head left and right. See! It doesn't go any where. So when you draw
someone with their head turned or their neck "craned", notice where it stays
and how the scms and shadows move in relation to it.

Your Assignment

Today as you're out for a walk people watching or you're paging through a
magazine, or watching TV, notice the main shapes and shadows we've talked
about: the pyramid of the trapezius, the "v" of the scms and the central
oval shape of the Adam's Apple. Also look for the little notch right there
front and center above the sternum - where the two scms attach. Envision
how'd you draw them.


Lastly, Since we're in the process of moving the main sales site, the main
sales site won't be accessible for a short while linger (the domain name
"youcandraw.com" has to be transferred and electronically parked at it's new
location. This does not effect the Insider's Artist Loft.

So, keep on drawing, and I'll talk to you all soon!