Animal Anatomy Help!

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  1. #1
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    Animal Anatomy Help!

    Erk... First I'll point out that I'm an amateur when it comes to drawing. My artwork focuses mainly on animals, because I cannot comfortably draw humans yet. >>

    Anyways, I'll just post several pics so you guys can point out the flaws...
    I need help with general animal anatomy.


    1. Animal Anatomy Help!
    This guy is sorta a catty-weasel thing.

    Animal Anatomy Help!
    This is supposed to be a CAT. >>' As you can see, he barely looks like one. Dx

    2. Animal Anatomy Help!
    I mostly wants crits on the face on this one, as the the body was drawn rather... 'chibi'ish? The placement of the eyes, nose, ears looks off. How exactly do I line them up?

    3. Animal Anatomy Help!
    Now, this pic is old. Also, please excuse the fact that the grass was drawn on with a brush. >> *cough cough*
    Do you guys have crits on how to make the water look better? It's supposed to be a stream, but barely looks it.
    Also, the leaf and the cat both look pretty bad. >>

    4. Animal Anatomy Help!
    Alright, this is something I did in my art class.
    Please excuse the fact that I took this pic with my cellphone. Dx The colors look a bit off, and the real thing is MUCH bigger. 'xD




    I know I really need to go and draw based off of some photographs of some animals, or try to draw my own cats. (if they'd just stay still...)
    But I thought I'd still go ahead and post these up here for now so you guys can point some stuff out for me that I can keep in mind when I draw later on.


    Any redlines would be loved. >>

    Last edited by Kinarei; December 9th, 2009 at 05:09 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Ana-wait for it-tomy. Get some reference, get something solid to look at. The reason why your facial features are being misaligned is because you're not seeing them as actually being a part of a skull. They're just slapped-on 2D to what's supposed to be a 3D image.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Falchion View Post
    Ana-wait for it-tomy. Get some reference, get something solid to look at. The reason why your facial features are being misaligned is because you're not seeing them as actually being a part of a skull. They're just slapped-on 2D to what's supposed to be a 3D image.
    Yeah, I'm lackin knowledge of that. 'xD I picture it as 3D in my mind, but it always ends up as crap when I draw it.

    I need to stare at one of my cats' faces. >> I have trouble with the muzzles, jaw bone, the cheek fluff (where the jaw bone is?? dunno), eye placement, and making the ears not look so... fake.

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    Firstly (and I know this is a sensitive topic with a lot of anime and manga artists so please don't take offense), but for these animals, is your aim to have realistic animal anatomy with anime stylization, or stylized bodies? The first rule of stylizing anatomy, be it animal or human, is to be familiar with realistic anatomy first.

    That said, if you want to learn to draw better stylized cats, learn to draw real cats first. If you don't have a cat, go to a friend's or family member's house who has a cat and bring a pad and pencil. Study feline anatomy. There are tons of references and resources out there for cats, so it won't be hard at all to get started

    That said, for the teal cat with the bandaged tail, its body seems more greyhoundish in terms of anatomy. Cats, even short-haired ones, have too much fur for their limbs to appear long. Again, being familiar with cat anatomy will help you with stylization, even if you want longer legs.

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    Id do some sketches form real life, perfect if you have your own cat. Just let it roll up on your tummy and there you go. Maybe do some digital fotostudies. Look at form, colour and value. And just google some cat skulls!

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    Thank you, thank you~ :3

    I shall get a bunch of different photos and references so I can sketch some realistic cats/animals between work at school, and then go and draw my pets. xp

    Hm... Seems I should also look up skulls? I can try to find some skeletal structures and muscle diagrams of some cats/canines~

    That's gonna be a little hard with weasels, but I can probably find some ref photos or a pic of a weasel skeleton.

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    Yer on the internet, kid. There ain't nothin' you can't find on the internet. Aside from actual facts.

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    Haha~ xD

    Ahh, but it still might be a bit harder to find good reference for less popular-to-draw animals such as weasels. xD But I shall try my best to search for some good stuff on teh internet! D<

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    Get this book: http://www.amazon.com/Draw-Animals-P.../dp/0399508023
    There are probably others as well that are decent. Also check out Rien Poortvliet - perhaps the best modern animal artist.
    I hate to tell you but cats are probably the most difficult domestic animals to draw/study from life - their anatomy and form are completely hidden beneath all that fuzz. Dogs are somewhat better because at least their heads/muzzles/legs have some structure - short haired breeds being even better of course.
    I would recommend doing most of your study from still lifes - until you understand light/shadow, surface texture, scale, proportion, etc. - all the important fundamentals to good drawing - yes, it takes awhile, learn to enjoy the process!
    Best of luck!

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    Ah, I'll be sure to check out some books like that one~

    I'll also go look up Rien!

    Yeah, that's the problem with cat anatomy. x.x Luckily, I own three cats (all looks pretty dif 'xD), and it's a bit easier to understand what the different parts are by seeing them in motion.
    I could also look up pictures of hairless cats. xD

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    As a general rule, and because I think you're trying to expand your horisons, I'm going to let you in on a piece of valuable advice I wish I had when starting out.
    Be careful of generic anime anatomy.
    Look at animal skeletons, see how they move, I see you've mentioned you have cats and study from them. However, think about how they're so different from foxes and dogs and horses and other animals. Animals are all different, know how and why.

    Also, in terms of character creations... almost all your characters have bandages on them! Yes it's cool to have bandages and accesories, but try to aim for a bit more variety.

    Now the first one I think would be hard to redline the anatomy for, since it's kind of a mixture, partly made-up animal. I'll give that one a miss but I'll go through the others.

    Anyway, REDLINES
    I'm trying to make this short 'n sweet

    The cat who doesn't really look like a cat
    Animal Anatomy Help!
    well alright, well... I redlined this as best I could but I've pretty much drawn over it. There's quite a bit incorrect with this picture in terms of anatomy. Erm... it's not really educational at all but I don't know how to explain this without chopping it into different sections and pointing out. For now I want to go into the basics with you.
    The face is very much just a generic anime animal face. Cats faces are round and very much defined by their facial features.
    Ears on a cat rarely are pointed down, unless it's very angry or very upset. Which the character here seems upset, he seems more blank than anything else. This would mean his ears point upward. If you want to draw pointy down ears anyway, search around for images. I coulnd't find any directly to the side with a cat's ears down, but there are images out there. Maybe even take a photo of your own cat if you see it do that.
    http://critteristic.com/wp-content/u...3/cat-face.jpg
    As for the body anatomy... personally I think your chibi pictures are more accurate in depicting a cat. Pay attention to ratios and such, the location of the ribcage (AFTER the forelegs, not before, a common mistake by newbies) and the way the bones are in the legs.
    Also, the tail follows on from the spine, in this picture it sort of juts out from the back.

    Animal Anatomy Help!
    because of the posture, I'm assuming this is a cat?
    alright, now this is a chibi, but keep in mind chibis are pretty much shortened, simplicied, exaggerated versions of the usual.
    The placement of the eyes nose etc. can be figured out by drawing a line down the center of the face horizontally and vertically. This can help you find the center of the face. It also helps to know basic skull structures, such as jaw, eye holes, nose etc.
    this also helps you figure out where to put the ears. Take a look at actual cat ears and see where they belong on the skull.
    Please please don't use clothing like scarves to hide anatomy. The scarf is more likely to scrunch up around the back than tighten the neck. If it was that tight the cat would be choking and very uncomfortable.
    but I just want to let you know, just because you draw something as a chibi, doesn't mean you can abandon the concept of anatomy altogether.

    still working on the critique D|

    Last edited by Ihaveasoultoo; December 10th, 2009 at 11:05 PM.
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  13. #12
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    I personally don't see an issue with your basics and the first few matched a certain style to a degree.

    If it's realism you are after then refs should help. If it's an overall enhancement you are looking for get a book on the issue.

    There was four or five consecutive ImagineFX issues with a rather complete coverage of all kinds of nice and technical animalistics. It's worth looking at that if you can get your hands on it.

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    I'd say it's good to get a feel for real animal anatomy for various species, then you get a fair idea of how bone structures are generally put together and you can invent from there. Ken Hultgren's book is very good for this, since it points out similarities between hip structures of various creatures, and so forth. Worth a look for the beautiful brush work alone, honestly.

    Weasel anatomy isn't that hard to find, go look up some resources on ferrets. There's your basic weasel right there, and you should be able to find loads.

    It all comes down to structure, as many have pointed out. Spheres with mid-lines, basic shapes, general proportions, perspective, all that good under-the-hood stuff that's a pain to learn by boy howdy does it pay off! Which is one reason you're looking for reference, it shows you what the underlying structure of an animal is, then you can break it down to essentials. Doing studies of real cats (or weasels, or whatever) teaches you motion and behaviour, which is also very important, and it's a real, 3-D object rather than a flattened image. That's important, especially when you're getting the concept of planes, which are very important in animal faces.

    Keep at it, you've got a good start and a healthy interest in improving. I think you can produce some stunning stuff with a little foundation work under your belt.

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    Alright, here are some cat head sketches I did.


    Animal Anatomy Help!

    Ahhh. Can people do a lil bit of redlining?

    Or correct me if I'm lining things up weird?
    I'm unsure if the bottom of the ear is at the right place... Should that be lined up with the eyes or a little over the eyes?


    Also, my necks are really bad.



    @Ihaveasoultoo: Thanks for that GREAT improvement of Ken's feline anatomy there. xD
    Ah, I had the folded back ears to try to convey a look of I guess boredom, also that somethin was sorta botherin him? 'xD

    Also, yes. Those are little fluffy things on the tips of her ears. x3 Sorta like the tufts of fur on a lynx or caracal's ears.

    Also, ribcage after forearms? I gotta remember that one. >>

    Also,I have a thing for bandages, it seems. 'xD

    @Nezumi: I'll definitely go look up Ken Hultgren!
    Hm... I'll probably be able to find a LOT more ferret pics and references, so I'll go search for em if I fail to find some weasels!

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    Animal Anatomy Help!

    Alright, here's some more sketches.

    Also, Ken Hultgren has some AWESOME stuff.


    I'm also going to go look up Siamese Cat anatomy.
    I have a thing for more slender builds, also it might be easier to understand the anatomy since they have shorter fur?

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    I can see so much improvement already! It's this sort of process that I notice you have a dramatic improvement in.

    and yes yes, it's good to expand into different species of cats. It's so easy to stick with domestic shiorthairs, but siamese and persians are good to practice as well, more and less fur, different builds.

    I was going to continue on with the previous critique but it's more of the same. You seem to have grown beyond that stage. I'll come back at a later time to help out with backgrounds and such in the previous pictures.

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    I'm glad it seems I'm improving quickly!

    I'm going to keep sketching some short hair cats so I can have a better understanding of their anatomy.
    I think I'm starting to get hang of drawing feline heads, too. xD Although they seem to be coming out a tad weird, and my necks still need work. xp Seems the the line starts a little above the base of the ear? Just need to work on the angle. xD

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    http://www.humanbeingsaregreat.com/i...t-skeleton.jpg
    Well I found this image of a skeleton which can be useful. Keep in mind this is a stalking pose and not a regular standing pose. It still helped me figure out the bone ratios.

    Anyway, I know you're probably not going to be drawing JUST CATS all your life, but I've been working on a study about the anatomy. I've just done the legs so far, and I redlined one of your sketches to show how it all fits together.
    I apologise for my horrendous writing. I hope this not only helps you with cats but can help you see what to look out for in other animals too.

    Animal Anatomy Help!

    the ≈ symbol just means approximately equal to

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    You have no idea how helpful that sheet is!!! o.o

    I'll definitely try and remember the size ratios/comparisions~

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