Digital painting study of the forms of the back muscles when flexed beyond all comprehension. Below shows my process for making this image. I hope it shows that I used the photo reference to allow me to figure out the forms as they would exist in space and map everything out from scratch.
I changed the background a little when compared to the original reference to enhance the composition and remove the tangents that appeared due to background shapes “touching” the contours of the top of the hands and right side of the head. Some areas are more detailed than others in form and value range to draw focus to the back as the eye is attracted first to areas with most detail.
I learnt a lot with this and the anatomy study did indeed continue through the rendering stage since I had to account for and describe the extra forms created by the skin and tissue being laid over the muscle forms.
Time to study some more practical figures for anatomy study. Making a study of someone unnaturally flexing every muscle is great as a first step in figuring out the insertion points of muscles on the skeleton but it is only good in my visual library for those characters I draw that are flexing every muscle. I think body building is the only reason I can think of for someone needing to do that so i’ll go study people doing more useful things with their naked bodies.