Draw­ing an­i­mals in ac­tion

Pos­ing an­i­mals is all about line of ac­tion and ges­ture, says Brynn Metheney. Don’t feel in­tim­i­dated about get­ting ev­ery­thing right on your first go

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

Draw­ing be­liev­able poses and ges­tures comes from study and ob­ser­va­tion of an­i­mals in zoos and in the wild. Watch­ing doc­u­men­taries is a great way to get a glimpse of an­i­mal move­ment and be­hav­iour.

Try to cap­ture your pose in the wire­frame skele­ton first, and in­di­cate the joints and the pelvis and shoul­ders. Think about how the legs sup­port the whole body of the an­i­mal and where the spine lies in be­tween the back and front legs.

Be­cause I’m draw­ing and not tak­ing a photo, I need to ex­ag­ger­ate those poses slightly to make them feel alive. You’ll no­tice that if you draw, piece for piece, a pho­to­graph of an an­i­mal then it can look a lit­tle stiff. But if you round out that leg more or push the an­gle of the shoul­der, you’ll add life to your draw­ing. Such an ap­proach is com­mon among an­i­ma­tors.

As you draw, keep your arm loose. It’s a good idea to not only think like an an­i­ma­tor, but to move like one. Draw with your whole arm and try not to work only from your wrist. Some­times this means repo­si­tion­ing your hand that’s hold­ing your pen­cil or stand­ing up to draw. Fi­nally, when pos­ing an­i­mals, con­sider act­ing out the pose. If the an­i­mal is stretch­ing or stand­ing alert, act­ing out those at­ti­tudes can help in­form your draw­ing.

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