On the drawing board - what I’m working on now
His hands on my ribcage
To give context to my close-up drawings of the spinal nerves and nerve plexuses, I’m returning to the figure – this time using the anatomy of nerves to convey sensation and movement: the consciousness of the body..
Drawing my back in the embrace of a lover’s arms, I returned to the feeling in my body at that moment, the thrill of his skin touching mine, the comfort and acceptance flowing through his hands to my malformed ribcage and the compressed vertebrae (locus of pain) just below. I tried to visualize my skeleton below the surface of my skin, and the spinal cord and nerves that brought those sensations to my consciousness. That’s what I’ll try to show in the new drawing I’m about to start.
I’m starting my new drawing on this beautiful floating colors sheet. I want it to have a looser style than my usual, showing some aspects of the underlying anatomy with lots of detail, but just barely indicating others. I want the focus to be on the dynamics of twisting, the flow of energy, the pressure of gravity. The challenge, as I add the figurative imagery, will be to retain the simple and beautiful dynamics of the floating colors.
In Photoshop, I layer together a composite image to help me set up the anatomy for the new piece. First, a set of images from my 3D CT scan. In the lumbar area, I’ve cropped away the most posterior part of the vertebrae, the spinous processes, to show the spinal canal: the space for the spinal cord.
I usually try to show more dynamic poses in my drawings, but for this one I’ve chosen the straightforward posterior view. It’s the view most often shown in anatomical source materials, and this drawing is going to be so complicated and multi-layered that I’ll really need to rely on those references.
Next, I make a drawing that shows the details of the spinal cord and nerves in the thoracic area. I know that thoracic spinal nerves follow the curves of the ribs, but I’ve never drawn mine before, and I need to really understand the anatomy so I’ll know what I’m doing when I work on the final drawing.