Sketch­ing ba­sic an­i­mal shapes

Brynn Metheney starts a new se­ries by show­ing how work­ing from gen­eral to spe­cific is an ef­fec­tive tech­nique for drawing an­i­mals

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Fantasy Illustrator -

Drawing an­i­mals is the first step to designing your own fan­tasy crea­tures. Na­ture has an amaz­ing va­ri­ety of so­lu­tions, shapes, colours and sizes to solve the chal­lenge of sur­vival. You’ll find that drawing and study­ing an­i­mals will yield more ex­cit­ing and unique ideas to your crea­ture de­sign.

I al­ways begin with broad ges­tures and light pen­cil marks when start­ing a sketch. I’m only try­ing to find the an­i­mal’s ges­ture, so I tend to work quickly. This is es­pe­cially key when drawing from life, where an­i­mals move about as you draw.

I like to use a harder lead pen­cil or broad lead pen­cil, depend­ing on how large I’m work­ing. The harder lead keeps my stroke light. Us­ing my whole arm to draw, I sketch through the forms. An­i­ma­tors tend to use this tech­nique and I’ve found it adds en­ergy to my draw­ings.

From here, I’ll build up my an­i­mal sketch by find­ing the mus­cle groups. I’m able to iden­tify and mem­o­rise where th­ese groups lie, based on the body plan of my sub­ject. Quickly adding in a bit of value and sug­gested form, I can give weight and depth to my sketch. Only now do I sug­gest some de­tail. How­ever, there are more an­i­mals to draw and this tech­nique can yield fast and ef­fec­tive re­sults. Time to move on to the next beast!

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