Proko challenge – cartoon anatomy

When was beta-testing their new site they issued a Proko Challenge:

Get creative and imagine what the bones and muscles of cartoon characters look like.

This scene from Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin – Destination Moon came to mind when I saw this challenge. The Thom(p)son twins are spooked after seeing each other through an X-ray screen. Here’s Hergé’s original page:

Click the image for animation… Original image from

This was a real challenge. It was only once I’d started that I realised how hard it would be. I had to go back through the Proko videos and lesson notes for a crash course on bones and muscles and ended up going down the rabbit hole. The Skelly app was really useful for setting up the pose and taking some of the guesswork out of how a bone looks from an unusual angle.

I have an old graphics tablet but it’s a bit awkward and not easy for getting any kind of flow, especially for the initial sketch. So I started with pencil or fineliner pens on tracing paper, scanned in, then cleaned up and corrected (or redrawn completely) in digital.

I think my overlay of muscles on the skeleton is a bit suspect, but this kind of exercise is good for working out what’s going on in the figure, what all those bumps and dips represent. As Glenn Vilppu said in a recent livestream: A knowledge of anatomy helps you understand what you’re seeing, what to look for. If you can’t see it, you can’t draw it.


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