Here are some things that might prove useful or interesting. If you like them, use them; if not, ignore ‘em; and if you find errors, please let me know.

Anything with “MJW” in the filename is a scan of a page from my notebook. Beware that I drew these for myself without the intention that they would ever be seen by anyone else, so I often omitted structures that weren’t directly relevant to the day’s dissection, or that I already knew cold. Think of these more as explanatory diagrams than encyclopedic references. Ideally, you should make your own sketches; even if all you do is slavishly copy a picture from an atlas (which is how most of my drawings started), you’ll at least engage your sensory and motor neurons, and hopefully learn the material better.

Most of the “Color Your Own” diagrams I made by taking public domain images from the 1918 edition of Gray’s Anatomy (free online here), modifying them in GIMP (also free), and dropping the contrast. The idea is that one can use them as templates for drawing on ligaments, muscles, vessels, nerves, and so on.

You may also find useful: How to Study for Gross Anatomy (and Just About Everything Else)

Postcranial Anatomy – Sketches and Slides

Nervous System

Spinal cord and spinal nerves – blank – for tracing in somatic and autonomic nerve pathways

Spinal cord and spinal nerves – key – just a sketch I made in lab, until I can knock up something prettier

Upper Extremity

Brachial plexus – MJW 2011

Brachial plexus blank – MJW 2011

Subclavian-Axillary artery branches – MJW 2011

Pronated forearm NN and MM – MJW 2011

Pronated forearm blank – MJW 2011

Abdomen and Pelvis

Foregut and midgut sketches MJW 2011 v2 NB: updated 2013-07-09.

Umbilical ligaments MJW 2013

Inguinal ligaments and triangles – MJW 2014 – NEW!

Lumbosacral autonomic nerves – MJW 2013

Layers of perineum and their contents

Drawing the perineum – slideshow

Developmental homologies of reproductive system

Pelvic foramina slideshow

Internal Iliac Arteries MJW 2011 (and see this post for an explanation)

Lower Extremity

Subtalar pronation and supination – MJW 2011

Lumbosacral plexus – MJW 2012

Lumbosacral plexus blank – MJW 2012

Sustentaculum tali slideshow

Lower extremity extension and flexion MJW 2012

Knee and ankle drawer tests MJW 2013

Leg and foot sketches 2014-10-02 – This is a bundle of 7 pages of sketches that came out of my group office hours on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. No systematic approach here, just whatever students had questions about and I needed drawings to explain.

Hip and inguinal sketches 2014-10-03 – Same story as the above: 2 pages from office hours the next day.

Postcranial Anatomy – Blank Diagrams from Gray’s

Color your own back

Color your own forearm anterior

Color your own forearm posterior

Color your own hand

Color your own hip anterior

Color your own hip lateral

Color your own hip posterior

Color your own knee

Color your own foot dorsal

Color your own foot mediolateral

Color your own foot plantar

Head & Neck Anatomy

Gray 1918 plate 788 annotated – chorda tympani vidian nerve and friends

Pharyngeal arch cheat sheet v3 NB: updated 2012-10-22.

Maxillary artery – MJW

The orbit – MJW

Color your own skull anterior

Color your own skull inferior

Color your own skull interior

Color your own skull lateral

Color your own brain sagittal – MJW

Color your own brainstem – MJW

Color your own cranial nerves – MJW

10 Responses to “Human anatomy study materials”


  1. very cool! In fact, this stuff is probably a lot better than most of the standard texts :)

  2. Adam Yates Says:

    OK, you invited corrections, On the cranial nerves you abbreviated CN 8 with a V, shouldn’t that be an A for auditory?

    Excellent, helpful materials,BTW, I wish I had found these a little earlier when I was teaching vert anatomy last term.


  3. [...] the right, under the list of Pages, is a new one called Human anatomy study materials. It’s a bunch of stuff I’ve made for students over the years. As I wrote on the page, [...]

  4. Matt Wedel Says:

    OK, you invited corrections, On the cranial nerves you abbreviated CN 8 with a V, shouldn’t that be an A for auditory?

    V is for vestibulocochlear. I know auditory is also in play for that nerve, but I prefer vestibulocochlear, because auditory is sometimes also used for just the cochlear component. Vestibulocochlear explicitly includes both the vestibular and cochlear nerves. Thanks for the catch, though, it’s good to be reminded that not everyone learned these by the same names I did. Keep ‘em coming!

  5. Adam Yates Says:

    agreed, Vestibulocochlear is clearer, however it kind of stuffs up the mnemonic “On Old Olympus Towering Top….” which was about the only way I could keep these damn nerves straight in my head, and find myself repeating over and over as I work my way through a fossil braincase I have right now.

  6. Matt Wedel Says:

    Ah, well, you need to have someone teach you, “Oh Oh Oh, To Touch And Feel…”. Not a student, if you want to keep your job, and not me, because this is a family blog.


  7. [...] second is teaching. My day job is teaching gross anatomy at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona. The anatomy courses run from mid-June to the [...]

  8. David Marjanović Says:

    I learned the nerves on my own, basically one by one, so no mnemonics :-)

    Cranial nerve VIII also leads to the lateral-line organ when that is present, right?

  9. Matt Wedel Says:

    I learned the nerves on my own, basically one by one, so no mnemonics :-)

    Good on ya. I agree, mnemonics are at best a crutch; eventually one must stand and walk unassisted.

    Cranial nerve VIII also leads to the lateral-line organ when that is present, right?

    There seems to be some diversity of opinion on this in the literature. Some authors describe lateral-line nerves as part of CN VIII, but from my brief scan of things I think more authors describe the lateral-line nerves as separate nerves apart from the classic 12 cranial nerves (see, e.g., the McGraw-Hill Science & Tech Encyclopedia entry here). As I’m sure you know, the classic list of 12 nerves is an imperfect description of the actual complexity of what comes out of the brain (and spinal cord, in the case of the spinal accessory nerve). Unfortunately my Liem et al. vertebrate anatomy textbook is packed up where it’s not readily accessible. I know it’s a textbook with all that that implies, but generally I’ve been impressed with how up-to-date and complete it is, and I’d like to see how they handle the identifications and functions of all the cranial nerves–the classic 12 and the oddballs.


  10. [...] haven’t heard from me much lately because I’ve been busy teaching anatomy. Still, I get to help people dissect for a living, so I can’t [...]


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