10 Best Anatomy Figure Models For Artists

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Written by Juha

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Anatomy figure models were used by the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci and other legendary artists. Today, they’re a staple in any artist’s toolkit.

A manikin reference is essential for mastering the concepts of anatomy, perspective, and proportions.

Models range from basic shapes of the human body to more intricately detailed body types, which are great for referencing muscle groups.

There are models based on both male and female body types, as well as models with exaggerated proportions, often used by cartoonists or anime artists.

If you want to upgrade your art skills by having an anatomy figure model, here are the best picks among expert artists.

Artist’s Wooden Manikin

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If you’re at all familiar with the world of art, then you might recall seeing this manikin before. This particular design has been around for years and still remains one of the most popular anatomy figure models of all time. 

It’s more basic in nature than some of the models out there today, but its lack of defining features is actually one of its greatest strengths.

Just as an artist “blocks in” a figure before refining the final outline, this manikin serves as a great indicator for limb length, joint placement, and perspective.

It’s fully jointed, with multiple points of articulation. It also has a built-in stand, so you can even use it to illustrate movement or action based poses.

These manikins are made of durable hardwood that ensures they’ll weather the wear and tear of regular use.

Even if you have more advanced or specific anatomy models in your collection, this manikin is a must-have. It even became a popular design element in recent home trends!

Disarticulated Human Skeleton Anatomical Model, 62″

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If you’re not one to be squeamish, this model can prove to be a useful reference guide for artists who specialize in realism.

This is true to a life-sized human skeleton made of PVC, of course!

This model isn’t your average Halloween decoration, however. It comes completely disarticulated, or in other words, as a bag of bones. It’s also not meant to be articulated, so it won’t ever be able to be pieced together.

The level of detail on this model is impressive, however. Originally designed for medical students, there are a number of educational features, including a skull with a magnetic open and closure, removable teeth, and even some extra lumbar discs to insert into the spine.

Altogether, this model includes over 203 different bones. The hands and feet, however, are jointed together.

Having a skeleton hand lying around your art bench might seem strange, but it can provide a huge advantage to artists. Many (if not most) artists struggle with rendering the human hand, especially in its infinite variety of poses.

These jointed models, even without any extra layers, can help indicate where joints go or how long fingers should be.

Who else might find this skeleton model useful?

Artists who work in the horror genre or with graphic themes. This is not recommended for artists who are squeamish.

Miniature Skeleton Model, 41 Pieces

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Those who are interested in having a skeleton model, but want something more space-efficient, might consider this highly acclaimed pick from Learning Resources.

This compact, miniature model fits on a desktop and is extremely detailed. It even comes with the major organs and arteries in their respective locations.

Working from a skeleton model, in comparison to the basic wooden manikin, is great for hyperrealism. Seeing the bones of the arm, for example, and how they’re jointed together, will help an artist render these nuanced differences in body composition.

One other interesting advantage to this model is the inclusion of major veins or arteries.

This is particularly useful for rendering action or fight sequences or the body in motion. Illustrating an enlarged vein can be a way to illustrate that the body is under some sort of stress.

Male and Female Anatomical Reference for Artists

Male&Female Human Anatomy Figure Ecorche...
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These models are hyperrealistic, which is an asset to artists in any style or art form. It comes with both a male and female model, both anatomically correct (which simply means that they have their respective genitalia).

The left side of each model is sculpted as usual, but the right side of the model is an exposed view of the muscles.

While these models aren’t posable, the level of detail it provides of muscle grouping and fat distribution is extremely useful.

There are so many subtle differences between the muscle groups of a masculine versus a feminine body, and having models of both sexes is a thoughtful inclusion on MModel’s part.

One thing that artists have found useful with these particular models is by referencing them for shading a figure—making the slightest adjustments of shade can breathe life and realism into a piece.

1:6 Male Anatomy Figure v.3 (12″)

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Anatomy figure model from Proko’s shop

Proko is a leading dealer in anatomical models and educational or artistic references. This is one of their best selling models, the 1:6 male anatomy figure. The “1:6” scale means that every inch of the model is equal to six inches in real life.

This model, as a result, is 12 inches, or a representation of a human male about 6 feet tall.

This scale is also called the “play scale” because it’s the scale that Barbie uses! This model shows the interior view of the muscle and fat composition of the body.

When it comes to detail, Proko’s meticulous outlining of the muscles is unmatched. So unmatched so that it’s used by doctors in training and medical professionals.

If you’re looking for exactness, Proko has it.

Male Anatomy Figure, 11 Inches

This model is another example of an “ecorche” model, which is a term used to describe anatomical models with the outer layer of skin removed to display the muscles.

By definition, it’s a half-ecorche, meaning that the left side is presented as normal, and the right side shows the muscles.

This figure comes with a built-in stand and is non-posable but does come pre-made in a neutral pose.

It’s anatomically correct and has impressive detailing of the hands and feet.

The head and profile of the model seem to be more rendered and realistic than some other models, which is another advantage.

Human Anatomical Model of Musculoskeletal Structure

11inch Human Anatomical Model Art...
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  • - Half-skin, half-ecorche,Shows direct...

One unique aspect of this model is that it was actually recreated from a male and female athlete. It’s half ecorche, so you get both regular and musculoskeletal views.

One other interesting thing to note is that these two models have a white finish, whereas other models are typically finished in grey.

The color grey is used as a neutral base to not distract the eye from any detailing, but white has its advantages as well because the bending of light is what most mimics what we see of an actual person, regardless of their skin color.

The color white is also useful for projecting shadows on the body, so you can reference shadows in real-time.

Artists’ Manikins

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These kinds of manikins are highly sought after by anime artists. They’re still identical to the human body and realistic form, but they have an incredible range of motion and posability.

The figures are articulated much like an action figure and are ideal for making poses that might seem otherwise unrealistic. It comes in both neutral gray and peach toned.

The other defining feature of these models is that even their stand is posable. That’s an invaluable feature for in air poses and fighting stances.

Body-Chan Model for Figure Drawing

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These models by Uranny are another popular choice among anime artists. In addition to the features of the previous model, this one comes with interchangeable hands and feet to help reference a variety of intricate or specific poses.

The models aren’t built onto stands, so you can pose them together (such as the example provided of the man carrying the woman in his arms). This set even comes with a katana and other accessories that an anime or manga artist might find useful.

Male Human Anatomy Model of Art

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  • Half-skin, half-ecorche,Shows direct...

Here we have another half-ecorche model that provides a comparison of the skin versus the muscles. It also has a white finish, which is ideal for rendering shadows and lighting nuances.

Similar to TMDel, this model was sculpted from a live human figure, so the realism is impeccable. It’s a great all-purpose figure that can suit a variety of artists’ needs.

Miniature Models, Huge Potential

The anatomy figure model is celebrated by some of the greatest artists in humanity.

Even artists with surrealist works would rely on these reference models to serve as a guide and foundation for their work. Of course, there’s plenty of picture references online, but the convenience of having your own model means posing it exactly to your specifications.

Some models even come with interchangeable parts to perfect the pose. Whatever your art style is, having one of these anatomy figure models will prove invaluable to your work.

Studying muscle composition and anatomy will improve your perspective, dimension, and so much more.

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Table Of Contents

Hey! Don't Forget Your Guide!

When I was starting to draw digital art, everything was new to me. I didn’t know what to think about digital art or even how to draw. I kind of started from the beginning. I was scraping information through various sites, trying to get a complete picture, however, only ending up with a fractured picture of how to approach it all.

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