How can I learn to paint a more im­pres­sive snarling beast?

Ques­tion

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imaginenation Artist Q&A - Mads Kris­tiansen, Den­mark

An­swer Mike replies

When­ever you’re paint­ing a crea­ture that’s show­ing a fa­cial re­ac­tion, it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand what’s hap­pen­ing be­neath the sur­face. The skull of the crea­ture is a good start­ing point to fig­ur­ing out how the mus­cu­la­ture is con­structed. The mus­cles of the face and the top­i­cal sur­face anatomy are what cause the re­ac­tion you see. So when I’m paint­ing an an­gry­look­ing crea­ture, I’m tak­ing into ac­count all of the mus­cles and folds of skin build­ing up as they pull back and con­tract. The skull it­self doesn’t change in po­si­tion if a crea­ture is sim­ply snarling with its teeth clenched.

The amount of wrin­kles, mus­cles groups and skin pulled back re­veal­ing the teeth, gums and the over­all ex­pres­sion are all based on the type of crea­ture and the fa­cial mus­cles. So when re­search­ing, I’ll look at the anatomy of hu­mans, bears, big cats, ca­nines and other an­i­mals that are ca­pa­ble of mak­ing that snarling ex­pres­sion. It helps to un­der­stand why an an­i­mal snarls in the first place and which real-world an­i­mals usu­ally ex­hibit such be­hav­iour, too.

I want to de­pict an omi­nous fan­tasy beast snarling with el­e­ments sim­i­lar to bears and fe­lines, but with a bit of a twist in its bone struc­ture.

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