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7 Best Anatomy Figure Models For Artists

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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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This particular design has been around for years and remains one of the most popular anatomy figure models ever.

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″

Houseables Disarticulated Human...
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This model 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.

Recommended for artists who work in the horror genre or with graphic themes.

Miniature Skeleton Model, 41 Pieces

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Those 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. For example, seeing the bones of the arm and how they’re jointed together will help an artist render these nuanced differences in body composition.

The advantage of 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

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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 referencing them for shading a figure—making the slightest shade adjustments can breathe life and realism into a piece.

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

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11inch Human Anatomical Model Art...
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One unique aspect of this model is that it was recreated by 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.

Male Human Anatomy Model of Art

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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.

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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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