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
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.