How to Draw Muscles

Artist: KingTutorial / March 30, 2012

Step 1.

Drawing muscles is actually pretty complicated. When I first started drawing muscles as a kid, I would give my characters 16 rows of ab muscles (more abs = stronger, right??), and squeeze a lot of "( )" lines into each arm or leg section. I had no id   

Step 2.

The first step to drawing muscles is understanding what a muscle is. Muscles are made of strands of "fibers." If you've ever had whole roast or corned beef, you can see the individual muscle strands in the meat. So while the different muscles in the    

Step 3.

While it's impossible for me to give detailed instruction on drawing every muscle in the body, it's supremely important to note that muscles and body parts look different from different angles, and in different positions. Here I drew a front, side an   

Step 4.

I wanted to touch on the basic functions of most muscles that are drawn on the human figure in action. When it comes to the arms and legs, and even the major torso movements, we're talking about Flexion and Extension. The biceps and hamstrings (and I   

Step 5.

Ok, enough lecture. Now let's draw. Begin by drawing a large circle for the chest. Draw a small oval above the chest and a small triangle below it and connect them to the chest with short lines. These are the head and pelvis. Draw two long lines down   

Step 6.

Lighten your base drawing and begin the line drawing. I've drawn a 5-sided shape for the outline of the head. Square on top, with a pointy chin. The torso is basically two shapes smacked together. I should have draw a separation line, but I want the    

Step 7.

Keeping things simple, let's draw a jellybean for each upper arm. Be sure to have two curve on top -- one for the biceps and one for the shoulder. Then move down and draw a house-shape or pentagon for each of the upper legs. The lower point of these    

Step 8.

I'm combining two steps here because the shapes are so simple overall. Draw two angles to outline each lower leg. The angle on the inner calves is more dynamic than the outer side of the leg. Draw in some simple feet, then move up to the arms. I reco   

Step 9.

With the main body parts outlined, now we can start drawing in the main muscles groups. I would begin with the line that runs below the pectoral/chest muscles. It's a wide W-shape. Then split the chest in half with a center line that runs down the en   

Step 10.

Now for the arms and legs... Begin with a small curve to underline each shoulder muscle. Then draw a curve for each bicep. Follow that with a smaller curve for each ultra-muscular armpit. I noticed I needed some lat muscles (latissumus dorsi), so let   

Step 11.

Ok, don't get distracted by all the extras on this step. Start at the neck and draw a small V from the chin to the chest. Draw a curve on each side of the V, running from the jaw to the chest. These are the sterno-mastoids. I think there's a "cleido"   

Step 12.

I decided to use the current artwork as a base for a more detailed drawing with thinner lines. I made a couple of adjustments to the pectoral placement. Other than that, everything matches up closely to the simpler drawing. Getting the basic muscle p   

Step 13.

Now we're going to tackle something a bit more complex. I'll try to space the steps out as much as possible, but we're going to be drawing a figure from both the front 3/4 angle and a back 3/4 angle. Draw a circle for the chest and a smaller one for    

Step 14.

I don't always draw muscles the same way on every character. I like to mix up the techniques. One fun way of starting off is to picture the chest and shoulders as a harness that wraps around the ribcage in one piece. The front should look familiar, b   

Step 15.

In the front view we'll draw in the sterno-cleido-mastoids that run from behind the ear to the center of the collar bones, right between the top of the pectorals. Then we'll draw the trapezius muscles from both the front and back view. These muscles    

Step 16.

Here I want to draw the primary muscles seen from each angle. On the upper arm, we see the biceps on the front angle and the triceps on the rear angle. The biceps can be drawn as a rounded rectangle running vertically, down from the shoulder to the e   

Step 17.

Now it's time for the forearms muscles. These are some of the most complicated muscles on the body, so I recommend looking at a mirror and using an anatomy book, action figure or photo reference to help you place these muscles. The larger forearms mu   

Step 18.

Using each opposite image as reference, we can finish up the arms by adding the remaining muscles that are mostly obscured in each view. Knowing what the triceps look like from the rear view should make them easily recognizable in the front view. The   

Step 19.

On the front, let's outline the bottom of the ribcage and start adding the interlocking muscles below the pectorals. These are the serratus anterior. On the back view, we can draw the lats I mentioned in the previous drawing. They're only partially v   

Step 20.

This step is pretty each. First we'll outline the top ridge of the pelvis. On the rear view, it runs along the top of the gluteus muscles. On the front view, the line continues down to the crotch. From there, we can add the six pack of ab muscles. Th   

Step 21.

Now we'll draw the major muscles seen on the front and back of the legs. On the front, start by drawing each kneecap. The center quad muscles runs from the kneecap up to the pelvis ridge. The tendons that attach to the bone are skinny, but the muscle   

Step 22.

Now we can add the main muscle heads that rest of either side of the center quad muscle. The bulk of these muscles rests just above the kneecap, but they actually attach to the lower leg bone as well as the upper leg bone. You may notice a tube-like    

Step 23.

The calf muscles mirror the forearm muscles in an interesting sort of reverse-symmetry... if that makes any sense. The bulky muscles sit high on the back of the leg and tendons run down toward the ankle, all the way to the toes. The shin itself is mo   

Step 24.

With all the muscles in place, we can go in and detail this sucker in any way we please. I decided to go with my thin line-drawing style. I kept the upper body very defined, but blurred out the lower body muscles a bit so that not every muscle looks    

Step 25.

I think the coloring step is pretty important when it comes to illustrating a character that's muscular and mostly unclothed. Unless you're adding heavy shadows to define the muscle shapes, a black outline isn't always clear to the viewer. That's why   

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Artist: KingTutorial
Date Added: March 30, 2012
Steps: 25
Favorited: 1 (view)
Views: 1 in last hour, 64 in last day, 430 in last week, 298001 total
Comments: 10
Tags: how to draw muscles, how to draw musculature
Description: I'm back, and this time I'll be showing you how to draw muscles. I'll touch on some basics and then we'll draw a simple muscular figure and a complex front and back shot. Let's get drawing!