How to Study Bridgman – Student Anatomy Critique

How to Study Bridgman – Student Anatomy Critique

Edward did a really nice Bridgman study. Bridgman has an anatomy book or a few that
were compiled by his students and their demonstrations that he did on a wall with a giant stick. So his drawings are very crude but the information
that he teaches us is extremely useful. You just have to know how to study Bridgman. And it’s important that you when you guys
are drawing from Bridgman that you don’t just copy the marks, you don’t just copy his lines
because that’s not what it’s about. He was drawing with a big stick, he was using
as few lines as he possibly could to just kind of get the information across. He wasn’t trying to make these pretty, even
though they look actually really nice for what they are. So you have to make sure that you’re dissecting
these and you’re trying to pull out of it the information that he’s actually trying
to teach you, and not copying his marks because that’s not what it was about. So there’s some common ways that people talk
about to study Bridgman. One, you’ve gotta read the text you gotta
make sure you understand what he’s talking about. And two, you have to draw these with form. You have to try to shade them instead of copying
them you take this information and you try to create it into an actual three dimensional,
shaded anatomy drawing. And that’s what it looks like you’re doing
which is awesome. Although I don’t think that you took the information
correctly. So when we look at Bridgman, you’ve gotta
make sure you know that Bridgman is all about three dimensional structure. He is better at that than anybody else. The way he observes the human form and the
way he simplifies it is really useful to show the way the forms wedge into each other, and
flow through the body. And the crazy thing is even though he is all
about structure, his drawings feel extremely dynamic. He doesn’t sacrifice the gesture at all. His structure is based on gesture. So when I look at…I pulled the page out
of his book that I think you’re referencing. When I look at some of these drawings each
one of them he’s trying to show us something different. With this one he’s showing us that there’s
a very obvious tendon that’s diagonal it’s flat and then it’s surrounded by these this
belly. And this belly has a bottom plane. A very simple statement, you don’t need to
take it literally when you design it but you need to look for that information when you
look at a real person. So when I think about that and I look at your
shaded drawing you missed that statement, right? Look at it, I don’t see a bottom plane in
these triceps that you put in. I don’t see a diagonal tendon. So I feel like you might be taking his shapes
and you’re kinda outlining and them, putting the flat shapes that you’re seeing, and then
you’re kind of putting aside his drawing and then you’re shading it. Instead of looking at the analyzing the forms
he’s trying to show you and shading it and applying those actual structures to your shaded
drawing. Because if you did that you would have shown
a medial area in here, another one in here, and a very obvious plane change around it. Not as obvious as he has in his drawing because,
you know, you’re kind of softening his forms or you should be softening his forms. But you still gotta make sure that the information
he’s teaching you is actually getting across into your drawing. And even in the one where you copied his marks
you’re still missing that now bottom plane. There’s no bulk to the muscle. He’s showing you that the muscle is bulky
and the tendon is flat. In this one he’s showing that this one’s up
here and this one’s down here, so there not symmetrical. And there’s a very clear corner in the elbow,
the elbow is like a box. When I look at yours I don’t see that box
at all in your elbow. Another thing let’s say let’s look at the
forearms, because that’s part of this arm. What I’m getting from this is drawing of the
forearm is three very important forms. Super blocky and he even kind of curves that
bottom plane of that blocks to wrap around the carpal bones, so that’s cool. But it’s super blocky. He’s got a front plane and he’s got a side
plane. And then to that he attaches this drumstick. And then on top of that the ridge muscle is
stacked. So he’s showing you that there is that drumstick,
but the ridge muscle is kind of on top of it, it’s not part of that drumstick. So the three very specific forms. Now when I look at yours, I feel the drumstick,
I feel that rounded form, and I feel that extra ridge group on top. But then I don’t feel the blocky wrist, I
feel like you actually just kinda continued that drumstick soft form all the way through. The whole thing just looks like round, soft,
mushy. Look at how clear he’s trying to make it for
you right in here. About two thirds of the way down the bulk
of the muscle, the curvature ends and we get straights. There’s tendons in there, tendon and bone. He’s trying to make it as clear as possible
for you by over exaggerating everything. What is it important to look for? And so you gotta make sure that everything
he’s telling you, you take that into account. Okay so Bridgman, I don’t think it’s for the
for beginning artists. If you’ve never studied anatomy this is gonna
confuse you, and you’re probably just gonna copy his marks without knowing why you’re
copying them. I feel like you have to study a little bit
of anatomy and a little bit of simple structure before you go to Bridgman. But once you do it’s so useful. So I hope this gives you a little bit of guidance
as to how to study Bridgman because it could a complete waste of time or it can be extremely
valuable depending on how you approach it. You want a free model sample pack? Go to You’ll be the first to hear about sales, videos,
events and I’ll send you some hand picked model reference that you can use for the assignments. If you want a critique, post your work in
one of our groups at and get feedback from the community. And don’t forget to share this video. It really helps me out and it lets me to make
these videos better and better. Thanks.

100 Replies to “How to Study Bridgman – Student Anatomy Critique”

  1. It’s important to not study his lines. Instead look at what he’s trying to show you. His observations about the body are the gold. His lines are rough. They’re only detailed enough to get the message across and no more.Understand his forms and apply it to a real person, don’t copy his marks. Can you find subtle versions of his forms on real people?

  2. This was fantastic and really helpful, I never quite understood how to look at Bridgman before. I'd love to see more breakdowns of his anatomy books.

  3. I have one of Bridgman's books, so thank you so much for sharing the techniques of how to study his work! I'll be sure to keep that in mind as I look to him for anatomy studies.

  4. I love you proko (not in a weird way). You videos has made a really big impact on my art. I grew up using comics for reference but I was never really satisfied with the way stuff turned out. After all these years I finally realized what I was missing was a good teacher, never been to art school or took any classes but I can pick up a lot from your vids I guess my little experience helps. I really appreciate the content and I will be signing up when I'm able to save up enough.

  5. Mr P, please keep this one up forever. There are some really great reminders in here about Bridgman's reasons for exaggerating and seeing. Totally worth lots of looks. Thx!

  6. I really don't like Bridgman. His concepts are undeniably excellent but his drawings don't reproduce well, were unclear to begin with, and to my eye obscure more than they illuminate.

  7. guys, if you can afford it go after Rey Bustos's DVD, that, integrated with Proko's videos, is just top level preparation. As for Bridgman, it's really not my cup of tea.

  8. Thanks for the info, Stan. I have been studying Bridgman for years and have never heard anybody mention this!

  9. Construction to me is important more then anything the way you draw boxes in perspective the same way you draw these. I improved on perspective lately and I can say one thing coming back to draw out of proko wideos and bridgman it makes sense more then ever. Step by step you improve then you come back to perspective improve there A and you can again get into Anatomy it's hard work going from one thing to another it works greatly for me. And practice the same way form nature or photos but it's a guide for as to study photos and nature loomis simplified drawings.

  10. I purchased the Bridgeman complete Guide to Drawing from Life. Did not understand a thing. Now I know why. As I have never studied anatomy before. But who would expect that you have to learn anatomy before you read the book by, Bridgeman?

  11. This is the most useful video you have published ever! For me at least because 2 weeks ago I just bought all bridgeman books to study 🙂

  12. Thanks for this info. I like this how to study a certain Anatomy master. My first book was on Bridgeman and I had a hard time figuring out what to look for. Now I can revisit it with real purpose. A second example would have been even better.

  13. I use both, skeletal and shape work. I just quickly make the form and try to make a dynamic pose but it's still a practice. I do know the most important bones and hope to know more about the muscles too.

  14. I feel like this is the same thing people misunderstand when they dismiss Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Anatomy. It was never meant to be an accurate depiction of anatomy but a visual language to convey the way the forms and surfaces (topography) are interacting.

  15. I appreciate all that Bridgeman has left us and those that came before him. However it is equally important to state the disclaimer that when studying this forearm beware that most forearms don't appear this way. I find that this study of anatomy gets in the way of reality. I think that it is very important for an artist to look to draw the cause rather than the effect but all too often the students of classical anatomy in drawing forget the point of it. Becomes a classic case of forest for the trees!

  16. Thanks didn't realize i was just copying lines without understanding why. Gonna do some research into simplified anatomy then

  17. You could make a video explaining about Frank J Reilly Method, please? I love your way of teaching.

    hugs Brazil.

  18. In my opinion Bridgman drawings, didactically are of great value, since he stages his drawings starting with the analysis of their geometrical structure, then he partly dissects them in the fashion of the renaissance masters, in order to help us see the relationship among bones, muscle, fat and skin in the motion mechanics of the human body.

  19. I sometimes wish i had money i could spend on your stuff because im sitting here with this book i have had for years and you made it make sense in a 7 minute video.

  20. This is great. I'm teaching an anatomy sculpture class, and the main focus is Bridgman's "Constructive Anatomy". Explaining to the students about how to study Bridgman, was a major part of the opening lecture. I think he's an invaluable resource, but often misunderstood. People see it as a drawing guide, when really its a structure guide. I loved the thing you said about not sacrificing gesture. I'm going to add that to future lectures, as I believe it's crucial when creating studies (illustrative or sculptural).

  21. I must disagree that one should study other anatomy before coming to Bridgman. 40 years ago I was at a comics convention in Florida where Will Eisner was the guest of honor. After his presentation, he spoke personally to those of us in the room, (about 30 people or so). He agreed to look at one young man's drawings. After he did, Eisner asked him if he studied anatomy. The boy replied that he used Burne Hogarth's books. Eisner, who knew Hogarth, said, "Burne would kill me if he heard me say this, but don't study Hogarth. Study George Bridgman, B-R-I-D-G-M-A-N." (He did spell it out). I went home and bought one of Bridgman's books and started copying the drawings. I already owned Jeno Barcsay's book at the time, and I found it's drawings beautiful, but the anatomy was too complex for me, too daunting. After copying Bridgman's drawings for awhile, my own figure drawing began improving noticeably. (I was not doing life drawing at the time, but I did start that a few years later.) After becoming familiar with and learning Bridgman's simplified and dynamic SHAPES for the body, I was able to more easily digest the more realistic depictions of anatomy in Barcsay's book, (and in other books I looked at). For me, at least, Bridgman was the doorway to my learning and comprehending human anatomy, as well as the shapes of the forms of the body. (Norman Rockwell and many other prominent artists and illustrators studied personally with Bridgman, and he is almost universally revered.)

  22. If you are a beginner and you would like to study Bridgeman dont be scared. My first anatomy book was a Bridgeman book and it was a bit scary and complex, but a few weeks in I got the hang of it and it helped me to improve alot.

  23. I have one of his books, it's just been collecting dust because i did not know how to use it. It's hard to draw from his book if you do not how to. Like me.

  24. Attorney Proko is justly ready to rest his case as he has shown, without a reasonable dought, that, in fact, Bridgeman is just not that easy to figure out no matter how many of his books one posseses , like me, it's hard to just git it!

  25. If a guys book needs a tutorial on how to learn from that book. I think it's safe to call that book a shitty book.

  26. This is probably overshooting, and I know that, but I yearn for someone like you to answer this for me. You're a professional, and you draw the exact way that I hope to, and you know your stuff because you studied it.
    I've been studying too. I study anatomy and muscle structure, and then I move on to other things, like forms and gesture.

    What I want to ask you, (in high hopes that you read this) is what would you recommend studying and in what order?
    I've read over Andrew Loomis's Drawing the Head and the Hands multiple times. I've read over Bridgman's Constructive Anatomy twice now. I'm afraid that I'm too stuck on these guys being masters, and I'm not taking into consideration how many more resources there are out there that share different techniques and ideas, or that shed light on those that exist.

    I want to be great at drawing. I just don't have a structure in which to study it

  27. Bridgman was like 95% accurate with his demos at The Art Students League because he was drunk(it's documented he was a functioning alcoholic)usually while he taught. Bridgman was arguably one of the most celebrated student and teacher the league ever produced. Some lines are vague are haphazard or refined and detailed, that's partially the sauce and just him trying to convey an idea without going overboard with detail. I find Bridgman easier to understand than Hogarth. For constructive figure drawing, I recommend Glen Vilppu, Will Weston and Ramon Hurtado. Human Anatomy for Artist by Eliot Goldfinger is an excellent anatomy book with pictures of live models with skeletal overlays. Scott Eaton has immersive 8-10 wk online instruction on anatomy, even one dedicated specifically for portraiture. Oh yeah.Colleen Barry as well,check her out on Grand Central Atelier's Instagram.

  28. I guess everyone visualizes things differently. A lot of people here seem intimidated by Bridgman's drawings, but to me, this actually makes the human form make sence and it relates to how I view the human body. Ordering his book because of this video.

  29. I loVE the way he explained the flow, information about muscle structure and function of every muscle and all this simplified but so detailed as well!
    I now can remember all Important muscles and the position to build a correct looking leg, still working on the torso tho, but…. You need to be ready to get into more intense anatomy to understand WHY the body is build like it is, if that is done u can include this Knowledge into your own work!
    And it is so fun;)))

  30. So, how should we use Bridgman's book? I'm wondering why all these drawing anatomy books never have any actual steps for someone to approach the process. Would you train an electrician like this? "Well we are students of the master electrician, and we have a bunch of images of the wires he used, so now we'll put all those images in a book and sell them …that makes readers a master electrician!" Sorry, after 30 years of trying to find drawing anatomy books that actually take one beyond the "cubes and their cousins," I've found very few are willing to teach students simplified methods to draw the skeleton or to stress that YES you must draw the skeleton!

  31. I was doing horrible at my Bridgman studies until my teacher suggested simply pulling up an anatomy diagram of the muscles in the human body. From there it was simply seeing which parts Bridgman was showing and how he added the flow, which helped immediately. Just some handy advice.

  32. I just got a couple of his books for a buck and I really love the style
    I totally want to study this guy

  33. Bridgman is hekka talented and it wouldn't be a sinch for any regular person to just pick up and master his technique. It does take practise, well there are some naturally talented people out there with a gift for picking some things up but still I'm not doubting the practise because that's what I need, as much practise as I can possibly get, 10,000 sketches or minutes/hours of sketches. A community college I went to for art said somewhere around 1000 drawings but think of it as how much effort you are putting in to learn what you may be unsure of and need the enlightening. I know that I need all the tutorials, and trainers and techniques that I can find. I'm even practising to learn anime/manga styles that I have never attempted before, it's interesting and I hope it gives me motivation to learning more.

  34. 6:40 oh…i thought bridgman anatomy books were for beginners lol.
    he has like 4 books of anatomy :p , which one is the 1º to study?

  35. Just a thought, there's four arms in a row on the page that the student drew the study from. The study is of arm numbers 2 and 4, which have actually been done very well, and don't have as pronounced a ridge in the middle (as in arm number 3, which the student didn't actually make a study of). But point taken on the bulk in the middle of the arm.

  36. i want to purchase some of your courses, but i’d be breaking the bank. thanks for putting these free critiques and videos on youtube though!

  37. Alternatively, look at any Marvel, DC or Tower Comics from the mid-1960s drawn by the late Gil Kane to see how Bridgman's approach could be adapted to superheroes (for the most part).

  38. I am doing Bridgeman's 100 hands right now and this video defined some of the concepts discussed here. It's easy to create a featureless hand. With Bridgeman you get DETAILS. This video was and is critical to that end. I discounted some of the accentuations. That was a mistake. You can't make that mistake if you want to be a comic book artist.

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