How to Learn the Muscles of the Body for Artists - Part 6 - The Muscles of the Leg and Foot



Before we get started, I'd just like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. To do this, I've created a virtual little Christmas card for you, dear reader.



Now let's get on with some anatomy. We've spent a long time looking at the location of the pelvis in the previous instalments, so now, it's time to reap the rewards of this and learn the muscles of the leg and foot. We'll need to learn the names, the origin points (where they start from), and the insertion points (where they end). We'll also be starting to familiarise ourselves with the shapes of the muscles.


I've included all of the muscles, even if they are hidden beneath others. This will give you full and in-depth knowledge of what is going on beneath the surface of the skin. Again I have been using the Muscle Premium software to generate the images and check the origin and insertion points. This is an invaluable piece of software for artists, and not just for the physiotherapists that it's aimed at.


I've used numerous different tactics to learn these muscles because - and I'll warn you here - it's not easy. But to improve your figure drawing, it is entirely necessary. Let's have a look at the techniques I've used.


  1. Write down the muscle names using the book Anatomy for Artists by Jenő Barcsay. This gets the long process started and familiarises you with the muscles.

  2. Watch the videos for each muscle on Kenhub. These show the origin and insertion points and give a brief description of what the muscles are used for.

  3. Use the Muscle Premium software to explore the body. You are able to easily find the origin and insertion points of each muscle and it's a doddle to see how all of the muscles fit together. I'll say it again; this is invaluable.

  4. Making simple sketches of the muscles, in isolation and as part of a larger group.

  5. Drawing the origin and insertion points onto a human figure. This is where your pelvis knowledge will come in very handy.

  6. Creating the images below. I had to write the names so many times in labelling and renaming files. It's all good practice.

One of the things I found hard was just learning the muscle names. But there are some handy hints I can now give you to make this easier. There are some words that keep cropping up and they describe the muscle or its function.


  1. Longus - This shouldn't be too tricky to work out. It means long. For example, Extensor Hallucis Longus.

  2. Brevis - Think of the word brevity to help with this. It means short. For example, Extensor Hallucis Brevis.

  3. Extensor - This is the function of the muscle, to extend or straighten.

  4. Flexor - Again, this is the function, to flex or bend away from the straight position.

  5. Adductor - A muscle that moves a limb or other part towards the midline of the body.

  6. Abductor - A muscle that moves a limb or other part away from the midline of the body.

  7. Hallucis - This one is all about the big toe.

  8. Digitorum - This refers to the fingers or the toes. Muscles with digitorum in their names don't include the big toe. For example, the Extensor Digitorum Longus has insertion points on the four smaller toes. The Extensor Hallucis Longus has an insertion point on the big toe.

Another tip is to set up a file on your computer that has all of the things you need to practise so that you can go through them regularly, definitely on a weekly basis, if not daily at the start. You can include any images that help you to draw the pelvis plus the quizzes that I'll include in this post are also really useful.


This post can also be used to go through the muscles and remind yourself of the origins and insertions.


So without further ado let's go through each muscle in image form. You'll see the origin points marked in red, or magenta if the points are on the reverse side of the bone. The insertion points are in blue, or green if they are on the reverse. I'll also include an image of what each muscle looks like. The quizzes will be at the end of each section followed by an image of the muscles together.



Top of the Leg - Front View


Sartorius


Rectus Femoris


Pectineus


Adductor Longus


Adductor Brevis


Gracilis


Vastus Lateralis


Vastus Medialis


Vastus Intermedius



Tensor Fascia Lata and Iliotibial Tract

The Iliotibial Tract is shown below in blue.


Quiz: Top of the Leg - Front View




Answers:

  1. Sartorius - origin.

  2. Rectus Femoris - origin.

  3. Vastus Lateralis - origin.

  4. Vastus Medialis - origin.

  5. Gracilis - origin.

  6. Adductor Brevis - origin.

  7. Adductor Longus - origin.

  8. Pectineus - origin.

  9. Vastus Intermedius - origin.

  10. Tensor Fascia Lata - origin.

  11. Iliotibial Tract - origin.



Answers:

  1. Rectus Femoris - insertion.

  2. Vastus Intermedius - insertion.

  3. Vastus Lateralis - insertion.

  4. Vastus Medialis - insertion.

  5. Sartorius - insertion.

  6. Gracilis - insertion.

  7. Adductor Longus - insertion.

  8. Adductor Brevis - insertion.

  9. Pectineus - insertion.

  10. Tensor Fascia Lata - insertion.

  11. Iliotibial Tract - insertion.




Top of the Leg - Rear View


Gluteus Maximus


Gluteus Medius


Gluteus Minimus


Biceps Femoris Long Head


Biceps Femoris Short Head


Semitendinosus


Semimembranosus


Adductor Magnus


Quiz: Top of the Leg - Rear View



Answers:

  1. Gluteus Maximus - origin.

  2. Gluteus Medius - origin.

  3. Gluteus Minimus - origin.

  4. Adductor Magnus - origin.

  5. Semitendinosus - origin.

  6. Semimembranosus - origin.

  7. Biceps Femoris Long Head - origin.

  8. Adductor Magnus (also 12) - insertion.

  9. Semimembranosus - insertion.

  10. Semitendinosus - insertion (on front side of tibia).

  11. Biceps Femoris Long Head - insertion.

  12. Adductor Magnus (also 8) - insertion.

  13. Gluteus Maximus - insertion.

  14. Gluteus Medius - insertion.

  15. Gluteus Minimus - insertion.

  16. Biceps Femoris Short Head - origin.

  17. Biceps Femoris Short Head - insertion.




Pelvis Area - Rear View


Piriformis


Gemellus Superior


Obturator Externus


Obturator Internus


Gemellus Inferior


Quadratus Femoris


Quiz: Pelvis Area - Rear View



Answers:

  1. Piriformis - origin (on the front side of the sacrum).

  2. Piriformis - insertion.

  3. Gemellus Superior - insertion.

  4. Obturator Internus - insertion.

  5. Gemellus Inferior - insertion.

  6. Obturator Externus - insertion.

  7. Quadratus Femoris - insertion.

  8. Quadratus Femoris - origin.

  9. Gemellus Inferior - origin.

  10. Gemellus Superior - origin.

  11. Obturator Internus - origin.




Pelvis Area - Front View


Psoas Major


Psoas Minor


Iliacus


Quiz: Pelvis Area - Front View



Answers:

  1. Psoas Major - origin.

  2. Iliacus - origin.

  3. Psoas Major - insertion.

  4. Iliacus - insertion.

  5. Psoas Minor - insertion.

  6. Psoas Minor - origin.




Lower Leg - Front View


Tibialis Anterior


Extensor Digitorum Longus


Fibularis Longus


Extensor Hallucis Longus


Fibularis Brevis


Fibularis Tertius


Quiz: Lower Leg - Front View



Answers:

  1. Extensor Digitorum Longus (also see 4) - origin (small magenta area on diagram).

  2. Tibialis Anterior - origin.

  3. Fibularis Longus - origin.

  4. Extensor Digitorum Longus - origin.

  5. Extensor Hallucis Longus - origin.

  6. Fibularis Brevis - origin.

  7. Fibularis Tertius - origin.

  8. Fibularis Tertius - insertion.

  9. Fibularis Brevis - insertion.

  10. Extensor Digitorum Longus - insertion.

  11. Tibialis Anterior - insertion.

  12. Fibularis Longus - insertion (on underside of foot).

  13. Extensor Hallucis Longus - insertion.





Underneath of Foot


Flexor Hallucis Brevis


Abductor Hallucis


Adductor Hallucis Oblique Head


Adductor Hallucis Transverse Head


Flexor Digitorum Brevis


Opponens Digiti Minimi


Lumbricals


Quadratus Plantae


Abductor Digiti Minimi


Flexor Digiti Minimi Brevis


Quiz: Underneath of Foot



Answers:

  1. Flexor Hallucis Brevis - origin.

  2. Abductor Hallucis - insertion.

  3. Adductor Hallucis Oblique Head - insertion.

  4. Adductor Hallucis Transverse Head - insertion.

  5. Flexor Digitorum Brevis - insertion.

  6. Adductor Hallucis Transverse Head - origin.

  7. Opponens Digiti Minimi - insertion.

  8. Lumbricals - insertion on Flexor Digitorum Longus.

  9. Adductor Hallucis Oblique Head - origin.

  10. Quadratus Plantae - insertion on Flexor Digitorum Longus.

  11. Opponens Digiti Minimi - origin.

  12. Abductor Digiti Minimi - origin.

  13. Flexor Digitorum Brevis - origin.

  14. Abductor Hallucis - origin.

  15. Quadratus Plantae - origin.

  16. Flexor Hallucis Brevis - insertion.

  17. Lumbricals - insertion.

  18. Abductor Digiti Minimi - insertion.

  19. Flexor Digiti Minimi Brevis - insertion.

  20. Flexor Digiti Minimi Brevis - origin.


The Plantae Fascia has been removed from the soles of both feet. The Flexor Digitorum Brevis has been removed from the right foot.



Lower Leg - Rear View


Popliteus


Soleus


Tibialis Posterior


Flexor Hallucis Longus


Achilles Tendon


Plantaris


Flexor Digitorum Longus


Quiz: Lower Leg - Rear View



Answers:

  1. Popliteus - origin.

  2. Soleus - origin (also see 10).

  3. Tibialis Posterior - origin (insertion in next quiz).

  4. Flexor Hallucis Longus - origin (insertion in next quiz).

  5. Soleus - insertion into Achilles Tendon.

  6. Achilles Tendon - insertion.

  7. Plantaris - insertion.

  8. Achilles Tendon - origin.

  9. Gastrocnemius - insertion into Achilles Tendon.

  10. Soleus - origin (also see 2).

  11. Flexor Digitorum Longus - origin (insertion in next quiz).

  12. Popliteus - insertion.

  13. Gastrocnemius - origin.

  14. Plantaris - insertion.



Answers:

  1. Flexor Hallucis Longus - insertion.

  2. Flexor Digitorum Longus - insertion.

  3. Tibialis Posterior - insertion.


The Gastrocnemius has been removed from both sides. The Soleus has been removed from the right leg.




Top of Foot


Extensor Digitorum Brevis


Extensor Hallucis Brevis


Dorsal Interossei


Quiz: Top of Foot


Answers:

  1. Dorsal Interossei - origin.

  2. Dorsal Interossei - insertion.

  3. Flexor Digitorum Brevis - insertion.

  4. Flexor Hallucis Brevis - insertion.

  5. Flexor Hallucis Brevis - origin.

  6. Flexor Digitorum Brevis - origin.



Phew! That's your lot. And that's a lot of muscles. I won't lie. It is a daunting task to learn anatomy. But do it one muscle at a time and eventually, you'll get there.


Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.


See you next time!

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