Muscle Draw Over

This content has been archived. It may no longer be relevant

Muscle Draw Over

The Idea

When I was a kid, I first learned anatomy and poses by drawing from comic books and magazines.

If I wanted to draw a hugely muscular character, I would reference the Hulk. A sexy woman? A catalog model or MJ or Wonder Woman.

The Process

The idea here is very simple. To help yourself become familiar with musculature, just trace those muscles.

  1.  Get yourself familiar with Google’s Image Search (
    1. Update: now has a great image search function if you’d prefer to not use Google’s option.
  2. Use it to find yourself an image that’s to your liking. (The image seen here, I just used the search string “arnold schwarzenegger bodybuilding wallpaper”)
  3. For the digital illustrator:
    1. Open your reference image in your favorite art application.
    2. Lower the opacity of the reference image (here, I lowered it to 25%).
    3. Create a new layer on top of the reference image and trace the muscles of the reference image below. Bonus: Use different colors to differentiate between different muscle groups.
  4. For traditional media:
    1. Use your printer to print out your reference image.
    2. Use tracing paper to create the same ‘layer’ effect as described above.
    3. Trace the musculature on the tracing paper. Same bonus applies here – use colored pencils to differentiate between the different muscle groups.

More Art Exercises

We’re planning to bring you more art exercises here on Dragonbones. Projects to help improve your art skills and increase your creativity. Just a good, solid, free resource for folks to enjoy. Want to help? Let us know in the comments below. Have an art exercise you especially like? Let us know – we’ll add it to the list and there may even be a little something in it for you.

Share Your Work

We’d love to see what YOU do with this exercise. Post a link in the comments section below!