Scapula – continuous tone watercolour

Scapula illustration examples

Project goals

The goal of this project is for the students to produce a monochrome watercolour painting of a dorsal view of an anatomically correct scapula. Alongside creating the monochrome watercolour, the students will also create and a monochrome digital painting of the same subject to start to develop their digital skill set. Through depicting the scapula in these mediums with continuous tone the students will apply the theories of light on form that they learnt on their foundation course. Emphasis will be placed on direction observation of the subject matter, proper lighting, instructional impact and reproducible quality. The project will provide the student with skills in watercolour and computer skills Adobe Photoshop.

 

Project objectives

  • Analyse good examples of scapula illustrations from which to benchmark your own work. Emphasis on instructional impact and focus on rough and smooth portions of the scapula and how they relate to surrounding soft tissue.
  • Put into practice the principles of light on form that were taught on the foundation course.
  • Learn watercolour techniques and develop common vocabulary relating to watercolour and of the materials used.
  • Learn anatomical terminology, landmarks and muscle attachment sites that can be found on the scapula.
  • Learn effective techniques to use in Adobe Photoshop. Develop a basic understanding and vocabulary relating to digital painting. Understand the basics of reproducible print quality.
  • Create a monochrome watercolour and digitally painted dorsal view of a scapula.
  • Prepare pencil studies of both a dorsal and ventral view of a scapula, in correct anatomical orientation, showing clearly defined muscle insertions which would be used in an anatomy book. Either on the study on on overlaid tracing paper,  produce pencil studies of surrounding muscle structures to evidence your understanding of the structure of the scapula in relation to the rotator cuff muscles and humerus.
  • Produce a series of pencil and watercolour studies of the acromion and blade of the scapula in various lighting conditions to explore bone transparency and density.

Project Outcomes

  • An anatomically accurate illustration of a correctly orientated posterior view of a scapula both as a digital and watercolour illustration which will show instructional impact.
  • A collection of studies of the dorsal and ventral views of the scapula with muscle attachments defined, showing surrounding muscle structures.
  • A collection of pencil and watercolour studies relating to the robust and delicate features of the scapula.
  • Evidence understanding of the structure of the scapula.
  • The ability to self assess own illustrations.
  • Mastered skills in monochrome watercolour illustration and monochrome digital painting in Photoshop.
  • Acquired skills in Adobe Photoshop and an understanding of print quality.

Marking criteria. The marking criteria indicated here is a guide and grades are allocated in conjunction with the assessment criteria laid out under ‘Assessment Information – In-course Assessment Criteria’.

Criteria Levels of achievement
Illustrations/graphics impact and clarity. Including skill in chosen medium (Final monochrome watercolour only and marked out of 10 points)

• Instructional impact of drawing
• Observation accuracy of structure and surface detail
• Skill and neatness of rendered illustration
• Effort given to the requirements of the project
• Understanding and control of art tools, materials
and techniques, singly and in combination
• Understanding of elements, such as colour, line,
texture, balance

Fluent ability

9-10 points

Confident ability

7-8 points

Competent ability

5- 6 points

Basic ability

3- 4 points

Limited ability

1-2 points

Anatomical accuracy and exploration
(Final monochrome watercolour only and marked out of 5 points)

• Anatomical accuracy
• Lifesize, correct viewpoint and orientation needed
for this illustration
• Understanding of the bone in wider context as demonstrated by studies and sketches

Excellent form and anatomical accuracy

5 points

Almost no errors in form and /or anatomical accuracy

4 points

A few errorrs in form and/or anatomical accuracy.

3 points

Some errors in form and / or anatomical accuracy.

2 points

Major errors in the form and anatomy

1 point

Presentation and attractiveness
(Includes all images/sketchbooks etc. and marked out of 5 points)

• Presentation neatness
• Layout and labelling design and effort
• Spelling
• Use of art vocabulary when discussing artworks

Excellent

5 points

Extremely good

4 points

Very Good

3 points

Good

2 points

Basic

1 point

Observational and
exploratory quality of
the collection of scapula illustrations.
(Includes all images/sketchbooks etc. and marked out of 5 points)

• Observational skill
• Creation of final display
• Independent research and original concepts
• Understand stages of art-making
• Awareness and appreciation of the context and purpose of illustration

Fluent ability

5 points

Confident ability

4 points

Competent ability

3 points

Basic ability

2 points

Limited ability

1 point

Level achieved from total points:
This project is marked on the four categories listed above. Once points are assigned to each category they are added up and a grade is given depending on the total points.
Distinction (20 – 25 points) Credit (19 – 15 points) High Pass (10 – 14 points Pass (5 – 9 points) Pass with Amends/ Referred for re-submission (1 – 4 points)

Pencil drawing artwork A

The pencil drawing artwork A

  • This scapula project is designed to follow on and compliment the drawing skills developed during the preparation of the femur project.
  • Begin by preparing a clear and well observed pencil drawing, i.e. a detailed working drawing from which you will then be able to develop your watercolour version as a development of your skills using a different medium.
  • Observe the shape of the scapula structure as a whole, considering the importance of its shape, i.e. which areas protrude forward, mid, back and those receding.
  • Work on your project/bone as a ‘whole’ and build up your pencil shading as a ‘whole’ too, which will create a much more unified finish to your completed drawing.

Materials artwork A

  • Use good quality cartridge paper – recommend 250gms weight
  • Use sharp traditional pencils, having a good range available from 2H, H, B, 2B, 4B
  • Putty rubber
  • Calipers are useful for detailed measuring, but where possible learn to draw ‘by eye’ and hand measuring with your thumb/pencil

Watercolour artwork B

The monochrome watercolour painting artwork B

  • This monochrome tonal painting is designed to follow on and compliment your initial pencil drawing, developing your understanding of light and shade, depth and tonal colour.
  • By using a combination of your detailed pencil scapula study and continued observation directly from the bone itself, prepare a tonal watercolour version as a development of your skills by using a different medium.
  • Lighting of your scapula is very important, begin and keep to the same lighting point throughout your artworks and portfolio whenever possible e.g. lit from top left. You may choose to light from the top right if you are left-handed. Whichever you choose – be consistent.
  • Keep your work surface clear and clean.
  • Use a clean piece of paper under your hand to prevent any greasiness transferring onto the paper which can cause the paint not to adhere properly.
  • Take your time to test colours and observe the object.
  • Select a single colour for use as your one tonal colour, for example Paynes grey, indigo, raw umber test and chose an appropriate and complimentary colour that will suit this project.

Materials artwork B

  • We recommend a minimum of two good quality professional artists range watercolour sable brushes. We recommend a minimum of two brushes – one size ten and another as either a size eight or twelve depending on your preference. One brush can be for your paint and one for blending out with clean water. If you use pans, it is important to have your paint, as hard dry paint will blunt and damage your good brushes very quickly when you try to pick up colour. Soften your pans by using a firm brush full of hot water onto your pan, if you haven’t used your paints for a week or two.
  • Paints – always buy the best you can – professional quality is always preferable. These can be pans or tubes. A few of the best, is far better than numerous pans or tubes from student ranges. Also try and buy from the same range, because makes can vary.
  • Porcelain paint mixer (plastic versions may stain).
  • Brush roll or wrap to protect your brushes these are cheap to buy and will prevent the brush points becoming damaged or bent. If you are a dab hand with a sewing machine, then they are very easy to make!
  • Two water containers are crucial. Use one for painting with clean water, the other just for cleaning your brush. Change the water in both as required.
  • Water dropper is useful for adding water to the paint/mixer.
  • Watercolour brush pens are a useful addition, being very portable.
  • Paper – this can be sheets, pads or sealed pads – which don’t need stretching. Paper types can be from an extra smooth surface to a rough texture, all with different paperweights 240+lbs is a good starting weight. Try several types and see which suits your style best. Remember in future projects, you may wish to use different papers to achieve different results.
  • Make a colour chart of all the paints you wish to use. Use a small piece of white card, drawing sufficient squares for all the colours. Fill in each in turn painting each square from light to dark so you can see the colour range each one makes – label.
  • Using watercolour sheets, paint block colours overlaying each in different orders – label colours used and keep for future reference i.e. red over blue, blue over red etc.

Additional useful watercolour related materials

  • Masking tape
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencils, pens
  • Sponges
  • Inks
  • Card corners/view finder for sizing images
  • Paper towels/tissue

Watercolour practice

  • For future watercolour practice and projects, begin with your three primary colours : Windsor red, blue and yellow. Limit yourself to a few colours when you start, so you really get to know how to overlay these few colours to acquire experience of how your colours mix, their character and intensity.

Other useful colours

  • Cadmium lemon Light red
  • Raw sienna Rose madder
  • Raw umber Cobalt blue
  • Burnt sienna Indigo
  • French ultramarine

These colours are good for their general permanence and are not prone to fading.

Watercolour mediums

  • Gum Arabic a traditional binder for watercolour paint, increases gloss and transparency.
  • Ox gall also a traditional additive, improves the wetting and increases colour flow.
  • Impasto gel not a frequently used watercolour technique, but can stop colours running into each other.

What to I need to bring to class?

  1. First step in initial seminars: Bring pencils, cartridge paper, watercolour brushes all outlined in the materials section above. Once in class, locate an intact, non-pathological scapula from the bone collection at the Gordon Museum and make initial sketches, research the anatomical landmarks, origin and attachment sites of muscles on the scapula and obtain initial feedback from your supervisor. A lesson on watercolour will be provided and you can review good examples of monochrome watercolour to benchmark your work. The Photoshop lesson is provided as an online video.
    1. Homework
      1. Form: Pencil and watercolour studies of the rough acromion and of the thin blade of the scapula. Make studies in various lighting conditions to explore how light is filtered through the thin bone and blocked by the thick acromion.
      2. Exploration: Pencil drawing of both a dorsal and ventral view of a scapula, in correct anatomical orientation, showing clearly defined muscle insertions which would be used in an anatomy book. Continue with pencil studies, relating the scapula surface to surrounding bone and soft tissue structures to evidence your understanding of the structure of the scapula. Incorporate the rotator cuff into these studies.
      3. Medium development: Watch and follow along with Adobe Photoshop scapula video. Produce work-in-progress for next seminar.
      4. Coursework draft: Pencil drawing and watercolour draft of dorsal view of scapula in correct anatomical orientation.
  2. Second step is the interim presentation: You present your finished homework pencil studies of the scapula and a work-in-progress watercolour and digital painting. The ventral, dorsal view of the scapula with muscle attachments indicated can also be presented as work-in-progress to ensure your drawings are anatomically correct. Supervisor and peer review of the work-in-progress will provide formative and critical feedback to produce your final version.
    1. Homework
      1. Incorporate any feedback received on the ‘form’ and ‘exploration’ homework into your work and add final artwork to portfolio ready for next assessment. This work will not be marked independently at assessment, but will form part of the ‘anatomical accuracy and exploration’ and ‘observation and exploratory quality’ sections of the marking criteria.
      2. Incorporate any feedback received regarding the photoshop scapula study. Present again at following seminar for final feedback if required. This work will not be marked independently at assessment, but will form part of the ‘anatomical accuracy and exploration’ and ‘observation and exploratory quality’ sections of the marking criteria.
      3. Finish watercolour coursework of the dorsal view of the scapula based on feedback at seminar. Present again at following seminar for final feedback.
  3. Final step is the final presentation: Before submitting to assessment you must have it checked by the supervisor in seminar or on a designated tutoring day via email and telephone. In assessment your work will be marked according to the marking criteria of that project. You will receive a detailed feedback form after assessment.

What do I need to bring to assessment?

You must bring:

  • The final monochrome watercolor and digital painting of the posterior/dorsal view of a scapula, mounted and labelled.
  • Homework artworks which include the watercolour and pencil studies of the bone.
  • Include a clear photograph within your portfolio of the real bone specimen/s you are working from.
  • Make sure all artwork is well presented, neat and labelled.

Details on all the Medical Artists' Education Trust projects can be found below