In part two of the series on drawing animals, BRYNN METHENEY shows how getting a skeleton’s general shape and gesture correct will help with the proportions
We warmed up last issue with our general to specific animal drawing lesson. Now we can move into really understanding the structures and systems underneath an animal’s skin.
Skeletons are the structures that help keep us and all other animals together. Vertebrate anatomy is centred on the spine. From this structure stems our scapula, our pelvis, our arms and our legs. The more we draw skeletons of other vertebrate animals, the more we realise how similar we are and how, really, it’s just the proportions that are exaggerated between species.
Using a harder lead at first helps keep initial skeleton gestures light. This is important. We want to only map out our basic shapes and posture. I’m constantly comparing sizes and shapes. Sometimes skulls are almost as large as scapula. Femurs can be as long as rib cages.
As we begin to build our skeleton, we use heavier pencil leads. HB will help us solidify the general line quality and shapes and the B pencil will finalise details. Keep those pencils sharp and dull; variety is good here.
Drawing the skeleton from the ground up like this can help you quickly flesh it out to a point where it will be useful.