#86 - Free Artistic Anatomy Reference

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I recently talked to someone about free anatomy references for artists, and I stumbled upon the Paul Richer Artistic Anatomy plates. The English version is still under copyright, but the original French version was published in 1890 and is in the public domain.

The English version of the book is often introduced online as “Artistic Anatomy is widely acknowledged to be the greatest book of its kind since the Renaissance.”

The plates are a great reference to study, to draw from observation and memory. You can go from simple shape studies to more detailed tonal studies.

Art academies often prepared plates for students to practice from back then. It’s a great idea; students don’t have to scramble for references.

I added another workout with the Paul Richer plates to draw from.

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Study anatomy from the French Artistic Anatomy plates by Paul Richer, published in 1890.
I initially tried cropping parts of the plates to be larger on a mobile screen but soon realized something was lost. The plates are designed to illuminate a part of the human anatomy, which was lost when the illustrations were shown separately.

Successful online accounts like taco1704 and the Etherington Brothers also present information that way by having slides with several illustrations illuminating one concept from different angles. The Etherington Brothers even numbered their tutorial plates like in the nineteenth century.

I have been thinking about “flash cards” for artists: cards with one bit of information to memorize, but perhaps “plates” are a better concept for sharing artistic knowledge.

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