Paint­ing colour and de­tail

The an­i­mal king­dom is full of colour and unique or­na­men­ta­tions, and de­pict­ing them is cru­cial to cre­at­ing re­al­is­tic an­i­mals, says Brynn Metheney

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Fantasy Workshop - Brynn spe­cialises in crea­ture de­sign, fan­tasy il­lus­tra­tion and vis­ual de­vel­op­ment for film, games and pub­lish­ing. She lives and works in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia. www.bryn­nart.com

Na­ture is full of amaz­ing adap­ta­tions and traits. Bright colours, flu­o­res­cent pat­terns, tusks, horns, dewlaps and much else – traits used for cam­ou­flage, at­tract­ing mates, in­tim­i­da­tion, bat­tling ri­vals or find­ing food. These de­tails can make your an­i­mal draw­ings pop and it all be­gins with draw­ing, of course.

I’ll start by find­ing the struc­ture of forms like crests and horns with pen­cil. It’s im­por­tant to add in tex­ture and an in­di­ca­tion of vol­ume. Per­spec­tive is im­por­tant when it comes to horns and antlers, so I’ll break things into shapes and pla­nar views.

You’ll want to map out where your high­lights and shad­ows will be. Work­ing in marker, I’ll be build­ing up from lights to darks and plot­ting out my whites.

Lay­er­ing colour is key, too. Na­ture doesn’t just come in 12 colours, there are lots of colours in be­tween. Don’t be afraid to throw a bit of green into that gi­raffe or a bit of blue into that ele­phant. It’ll help keep the colour from look­ing flat and make it feel like the an­i­mal could be in an en­vi­ron­ment. Any type of marker you’re com­fort­able with will do for this. In fact, al­most any medium you use will abide to the same prin­ci­ples of colour and de­sign. Only the method of ap­pli­ca­tion changes.

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