Sketching basic animal shapes
Brynn Metheney starts a new series by showing how working from general to specific is an effective technique for drawing animals
Drawing animals is the first step to designing your own fantasy creatures. Nature has an amazing variety of solutions, shapes, colours and sizes to solve the challenge of survival. You’ll find that drawing and studying animals will yield more exciting and unique ideas to your creature design.
I always begin with broad gestures and light pencil marks when starting a sketch. I’m only trying to find the animal’s gesture, so I tend to work quickly. This is especially key when drawing from life, where animals move about as you draw.
I like to use a harder lead pencil or broad lead pencil, depending on how large I’m working. The harder lead keeps my stroke light. Using my whole arm to draw, I sketch through the forms. Animators tend to use this technique and I’ve found it adds energy to my drawings.
From here, I’ll build up my animal sketch by finding the muscle groups. I’m able to identify and memorise where these groups lie, based on the body plan of my subject. Quickly adding in a bit of value and suggested form, I can give weight and depth to my sketch. Only now do I suggest some detail. However, there are more animals to draw and this technique can yield fast and effective results. Time to move on to the next beast!