How do I draw an imag­i­nary crea­ture that’s stretch­ing?

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation Artist Q&A -

Do­minic Arm­strong, US

Brynn replies

Crea­ture pos­ing can be dif­fi­cult, but if we work from gen­eral to spe­cific, we can achieve an in­ter­est­ing pose. The stretch is a univer­sal move­ment for a lot of real-life an­i­mals, and vi­su­al­is­ing your crea­ture de­sign this way will show off its char­ac­ter.

I be­gin with a rough ges­ture to block out the pose. I like to push through my strokes and draw through the forms, much like an an­i­ma­tor. To this end, use your shoul­der when you draw in poses – you’ll de­velop a more dy­namic pos­ture for your crea­ture.

In work­ing out the pose, I’ll usu­ally work with wire frames to find those big skele­ton land­marks like the rib cage, the shoul­der blades and the pelvis. From here, I build up the draw­ing, us­ing lay­ers in Pho­to­shop to over­lay more fi­nalised draw­ings over the last. Ev­ery time I bring the draw­ing to a cer­tain point, I re­duce the Opac­ity, make a new layer and re­fine the draw­ing.

As I work, I con­sider the shapes of the crea­ture be­fore I think about the de­tails. It helps to keep things in per­spec­tive as I work. I call this “the pla­nar view”. Now I find those ma­jor mus­cle groups: the glutes, the tri­ceps, the latis­simus dorsi and so on. Mus­cle anatomy for crea­ture de­sign takes lots of study and prac­tice. The more you draw real an­i­mals, the eas­ier time you’ll have adapt­ing anatomy to crea­tures.

From here, I move into de­tail. I think about the weight of the crea­ture and where I can flat­ten the forms to show where they meet the ground.

Even though I’m us­ing dig­i­tal tools, I choose to keep a pen­cil-like aes­thetic. This means I can main­tain an an­i­mated feel to the pose and have fun ex­plor­ing the shapes and rhythms of this crea­ture’s body.

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