Lesson 3- Art in physiology: Chordae tendinae, Papillary Muscles, Trabeculae and moderator band


Simple Line drawings & constructing a study page

Week 2  recap: You have practiced drawing from a grid, continuing with  some exercises on controlling your pencil and shading

This week: Anatomy of the interior chambers- focus on chordae tendinae, trabeculae,   & papillary muscles

There are a few main interior structures: Papillary muscles,trabeculae and valves.

This week we’re focussing on all the stringy looking structures

For each session you will be given tasks to improve three elements of your critical thinking;


  1. Accuracy
  2. Draughtsmanship
  3. Knowledge of cardiac anatomy

Right ventricle from the front- gross anatomy

1. Accuracy


  1. This took a couple of hours – its like a sketch for your book-Using grids see my example in thee video 
  2.  Positioning of all those stretchy structures is tricky, and layering with pencil gives a sense of depth.
  3. Using an HB pencil

    Make lightweight preparatory sketching marks first to plot the basic dimensions, these marks can be removed later. 

  4. If you start with a lighter shade, it will disappear as you shade darker tones. 

  5. Think about the basic shapes within the subject that you are trying to portray by identifying simple geometric shapes. Take some measurements of the subject, such as height and width. Look at those negative structures.

    Remember you will be starting with the lightest shades first (I started with a 3H)- so decide what that will be. If you have a reference shading panel use that to decide which pencil shade you want to use.

  6. As you get darker , its akin to bringing the nearest structures into focus.

  7. You can go back using lighter shades- at the end I used an HB to differentiate the upper and lower regions
  8. Feelings about trabecula? Describe all of this in your own words- What do they look like to you? How do these structures make you feel? Write this in your book.

2. Knowledge of anatomy

By the end of this lesson you must know :

What is the function of the trabeculae carneae?

What is the function of the moderator band?

What is the function of the papillary muscle?

What is the function of the Chordae tendinae?

Answers below

3. Draughtmanship

  1. Label those essential elements and in doing so find out what on earth each of them does……

You should now have a complete page, tracings, and annotations with notes. Do remember to date it. When you have done so, upload a PDF or photo of your work into the forum AND email to me


Enter your work here

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More Updates

Critical Thinking in Physiology: Valves

For the next session on the heart click here

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