Friday, July 29, 2011

Artistic Anatomy Part 2: Brow & Forehead Muscles

Now that we know the bones of the front of the skull, let's learn some muscles!

First, a quote from Andrew Loomis's Drawing the Head and Hands, p. 45 (a book I highly recommend. Downloadable pdf's of all of Loomis's books can be found here.)—"I do not see any material advantage to the artist in knowing the names of all the muscles and bones of the head, but it is of great importance to him to know where they are, where they attach and what they do."

I couldn't disagree more! If it's important to know where they are, where they attach and what they do, then you need to know what to call them. Muscle names often reveal information about where they are, where they attach and what they do so knowing their names is hugely beneficial.

Second, an awesome online resource for facial anatomy and expressions is Victoria Contreras Flores's ARTNATOMY/ARTNATOMIA (Spain, 2005) at This site is hugely helpful; it allows you to see the results of the contracting of each muscle. You MUST check it out!

The two muscles for this lesson, with accompanying images, are:

L. rugare—to wrinkle
origin: inner part of superciliary arch
insertion: medial skin of the brow
action: pulls skin of the eyebrows together causing vertical wrinkles on the forehead

Frontalis (Epicranius, frontal belly)
G. —epi, upon + kranion, skull
origin: cranial aponeurosis [a flat sheet or ribbon of tendonlike material that anchors a muscle or connects it with the part that the muscle moves]
insertion: skin of the brow
action: pulls skin of the eyebrows up, skin of the forehead down creating horizontal wrinkles across the forehead

Here's a page from Scott McCloud's "Making Comics" (highly recommended) that describes the corrugator, the frontalis and all of the other important expression-making muscles. I've colorized the two muscles on this page as I did on the skulls:

Page from Scott McCloud's "Making Comics."

Once you've learned these two muscles you'll be ready for the next lesson: planes of the forehead.

Is this information making sense? Do you find it helpful? Would you like to add to it or ask a question? Please post your comments!


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  2. Very Helpful THANK YOU

    1. You're welcome, I'm glad it was helpful!