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Submitted on
August 28, 2012
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(Contains: nudity)

Usual disclaimer: These are my opinions! There is no real physical centaur to compare against, so the best I can do is make an educated guess. If you prefer a design other than this, that's fine, but this is what I'm going to keep drawing. If you disagree, fine, but do so politely, and above all, please don't ask I draw things your way. I know how I think it'd work, and that ain't gonna change.

So it's time to graduate past the 100-level tutorials and start digging into the details. In the 200-level tutorials, we'll talk about musculoskeletal structure, in detail, so you can see how a centaur holds together; and in the 300-level tutorials, we'll talk about circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and excretory systems.

So this is Centaur Anatomy 201: The Leg Bones, in detail. Last time, we saw how the joints fit together in their broadest aspects. This shows how the leg bones work to form those joints.

The dotted blue arrows show which direction a given joint can generally bend.

The color codes correspond to equivalent regions on human arms or legs, for comparison:
  • Pink: Equivalent to a human shoulder or pelvis.
  • Red: Equivalent to a human upper leg or upper arm.
  • Orange: Equivalent to a human lower leg or lower arm.
  • Yellow: Equivalent to a human hand or foot.
  • Green: Equivalent to fingers or toes.

The most common mistake artists make when trying to conceive of an equine leg is to assume that the pastern is equivalent to a human foot. In reality, equines (as with most digitigrade creatures) walk on tiptoes and fingertips: The cannon is not like a shin or calf, but rather is actually a long, narrow equivalent of a human hand or foot! Once you conceive of the upper parts of the legs as being the actual leg, the entire rest of the design is actually pretty easy to understand.

So Lucy here doesn't need high-heeled shoes: Her heels are a good 18 inches off the ground whether she likes them that high or not ;)

Next time, we'll expand this drawing to include her ribcages, spine, and arms, so you can see a complete picture of how her bones fit together.
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Gipsymoon Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Very cool! I've been trying to figure out wings on a human so I know this isn't easy to do. :iconconfusedplz:
cyllarus Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012
With regards to LuciusAppaloosius' comment about the forelegs' need to carry more weight, I agree that the weight difference is insignificant; what is more significant is that a horse's head and neck (whose combined weight I believe you underestimated) is carried forward of the forequarters (a cantilever), whereas a centaur's torso is carried above. This means that in the horse all of that weight is carried by the forequarters, whereas in the centaur part of that weight is carried by the hindquarters; thus the centaur would not be quite as agile as the horse.
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I see your cantilever argument, but I don't really buy it; if anything, with the horse's head forward like that, more mass needs to be supported by the forelegs because the center of gravity is that much farther forward.
DPRagan Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2012
Personally I have the gluts merge into where the neck on the horse is as well ;)
LittleBlueMonster Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012
Btw: thank you for all of the English centaur nomenclature I have to look for at the dictionary otherwise... ;-) ;-) Great work!!
Vezirax Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012
Wow have you given this alot of thought. Are you sure you weren't a biomechanical engineer in another life?
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't think so, but I am an engineer in this life, so that probably helps ;)
LittleBlueMonster Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2012
Great work. I'm waiting for all of the centaur anatomy, well!

Remark: if I were a beginner, I wouldn't understand your notices (oh, this if-constructions!!! Grmbl! Wrong, isn't it?).
You mean, horse's legs are equivalent to humans (f.a.:"designed as a short human leg...") in evolution and anatomy comparing. Horses are walking on their fingers and all this infos.

You don't say, the artist has to draw the horse legs of a centaur as short human ones, don't you? A centaur has horse legs at all, not human legs (the original ancient centaur is desribed with human fore legs sometimes, so Arno Schmidt did also...). I'm a little bit confused. :-) I think, it's better, you erase the notices.
phantom-inker Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think you're probably confused by the language difference. The text is very clear and unambiguous, if English is your first language. The text is written as a study in comparative anatomy for the needs of artists, and it works well that way. I don't see any reason to remove it, especially when others have said that they're glad to have the detail.

So no, you don't draw the equine legs like short human ones: When drawing, it merely helps to think about the relationship between the bones and how to correlate them to human bones so that you know which joints are where and how they function.
LittleBlueMonster Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012
OK, you are right: English isn't my first language (and I'm still a beginner...) and therefore I was confused because you mixed comparative study between human and horse AND (on the same sheet) how to draw a centaur.
I had all this thoughts while creating my own centaurs.

Thank you for your detailed explanation. :-)
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