|Waiting, oil on canvas|
Any artist, even landscape artists, should know about the human figure. And the way an artist should know the human figure is to know the anatomy in detail. But if one is a figurative painter, then knowing the human figure is very important. And for those who are portrait painters, and those who stick to realism, I don't have to explain much at all.
Knowledge of the human figure to an artist should be as clear as it is to a physician. The overall structure of the body and the curvature is what gets apparent in a finished painting. But to be good in that, an artist needs to know the details of the bones. Where are the long bones and the short ones, the joints, kinds of joints, musculature around the different limbs of the body as well as in the body. There is a lot of finer points that the artist has to keep in mind while tackling a human figure.
Drawing and sketching cannot be emphasised more when it comes to practising the human figure. Only with enough drawing can one get a grasp of the subject. No part of the figure can be ignored. Whether it is the fingers, the facial muschles, the shoulders, the legs, the back. The shape of the head too. If one likes figures in motion, then one needs to hone ones skills in that department too.