Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 58
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    The back of beyond and lovin' it
    Posts
    785
    Thanks
    46
    Thanked 22 Times in 12 Posts

    Animated Animals 101

    For those of you who are curious, I started this thread for the benefit of bumskee, who asked me to please explain how I do animals.

    I intend this to be a full participation thread, so please post your efforts. Don't just say: "I'm having trouble!!!" and don't post anything! I will crit, and I hope others will do so as well. If this thread is pretty far along and you just noticed it, feel free to start at the beginning as it were - I'm here to teach (and learn, hopefully!). If you notice any mistakes that I make, or find something hard to follow, PLEASE TELL ME! I am still learning as well and I would greatly appreciate better artists' critiques and posts!

    Now, to drawing! When drawing animals, always always ALWAYS start with anatomy. I can't emphasize that enough. What good is it if your rendering is fabulous but the legs bend the wrong way? Anatomy books on animals are hard to find - at least, I've had a hard time finding them. The absolute best one I know is "The Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists" It covers in detail horses, cows, lions and dogs; and delves a little bit into various other animals. Lacking this, the internet is a great resource. Just google 'squirrel skeleton' and you're sure to find at least one.

    Here are some examples of why it's important to start with the bones:

    Animated Animals 101

    Top one is a lion, bottom a squirrel. If you didn't study the anatomy, you would probably never figure out that a squirrel's shoulder blades don't come down like a cat's, but lie across the back like a human's. Studying real animals is great up to a point, but sooner or later you will have to sit down and draw the bones to figure out WHY a horse's leg bends the way it does.

    Once you study the bones from several different angles, you'll feel comfortable enough to start moving parts around. One great exercise I did was to take a horse calender and draw the horses in it as skeletons. It gives you a wonderful feel for how the bones move and twist.

    After drawing skeletons of your animal of choice, next you'll do gestures.

    Animated Animals 101

    Gestures are NOT finished drawings! They are loose, usually light (I did mine intentionally dark so you could see) and can scribble all over the place as you try and figure out placement.

    I think this is a good place to stop for now. Okay, everyone's homework is to pick an animal, and draw it's skeleton from a variety of angles. DRAW FROM REF!!! Now is not the time to be inventive. As the old cliche says, first you must know the rules before you can break them! A good variety of angles would be to pick two or more of the following: front, side, rear, and top view if possible. If you can find a view of a skeleton from underneath...gold star!


  2. Hide this ad by registering as a member
  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    2,647
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1,432 Times in 152 Posts
    Hi Teigrob,

    ok.. Thanks heaps for putting this up, I am going to draw some skeletons tonight... *patience* I am going to need.

    cheers,

    Min

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Practically Sarasota.
    Posts
    3,281
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 11 Times in 8 Posts
    That's awesome

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    2,647
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1,432 Times in 152 Posts
    Skeletons.. I just realised how much I hate drawing skeletons.. I will try and do one a day... hopefully... I really want to draw some proper animals..

    first one is lion.. doesn't look like it in skeletons though.. hmm and the second a Trex... andsome skull I found on the web.. not sure what that is.. I am going to go hunt for animal skeletons, anyone know any good reference site?

    Animated Animals 101

    Teigrob, so I keep drawing skeletons? I realised there are some similarities between them and human, vertebrae, so many... wondering if there's any propotion thingie for animals? I should really get that book first before throwing questions right?

    cheers,

    Min

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    The back of beyond and lovin' it
    Posts
    785
    Thanks
    46
    Thanked 22 Times in 12 Posts
    Pixeldragon - glad you like, hope you'll participate!

    Bumskee - yeah, more skeleton practice for you... To make it easier on yourself, just pick one animal to study. The most easily found animal skeletons online (or in books) are the horse, lion, dog and cow. You can find others online, but the pickin's are pretty slim!

    Proportion! Difficult to do in humans, more so in animals. The best I can tell you is to find relationships in the skeleton itself to give you clues.

    Example: First of all, this shows you how I start drawing a skeleton - I actually do a gesture first! (the things you learn when teaching!) The gesture helps me figure out GENERAL placement of head, spine and limbs. As I do the actual bones, I find that some of my gesture lines were inaccurate. This is okay, as they are light and fade into the background.

    One easily found proportion cue in horses is this: the knee of the front leg and hock of the rear leg are at the same height. The elbow of the front leg and knee of rear leg should also be at the same height.

    Animated Animals 101

    You'll notice my skeleton is not super detailed. All that's required for our purposes is knowledge of bone placement. Naturally, more indepth study of the bones is always helpful.

    Next, I wanted to show you examples of what I meant by taking pictures of animals and drawing them as skeletons. Kinda fun, actually...

    Animated Animals 101

    Animated Animals 101

    And my skeletons! On the top one, I left two legs as gesture lines to illustrate...

    Animated Animals 101

    I know this seems kind of far removed from drawing cute fuzzy animals, but trust me - it's absolutely necessary for drawing ACCURATE cute fuzzy animals!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    2,647
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1,432 Times in 152 Posts
    Ok!! ok!! horsese for me then. I will tackle horses first.. I guess this is going to harder than doing humans.. right, I am all hyped now. look for some images and do some when I get home. Thanks heaps for that. Horses Horses..

    cheers,

    [EDIT]

    my horse skeleton.. .. bah..ok.. try some proportion tomorrow... this took ages to draw..

    Animated Animals 101
    Last edited by bumskee; July 13th, 2005 at 10:06 AM.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    2,647
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1,432 Times in 152 Posts
    horses... Ok tomorrow I am going to try your exercise.. Just wantedto get the feel of the proportion.. needs more work..but can do that while doing the above I think.

    The same height thing was very good.. and the bones all seem to be similar length.. I skipped doing the vertebrae...too many..
    Animated Animals 101

    I did the skeleton and chucked in the form, wanted to check if I was on the right track. The neck bit seems a bit thick.. so I guess the skeleton drawing was slightly off..
    Animated Animals 101
    Animated Animals 101

    more skeletons to come.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    The back of beyond and lovin' it
    Posts
    785
    Thanks
    46
    Thanked 22 Times in 12 Posts
    Congratulations bumskee! You've picked the hardest animal to do after humans, according to the masters. Ain't it fun? Horses are particularily frustrating - just when you think you've nailed proportions and perspective, you do a really bad drawing and realize...NO!! hehe, trust me, it's happened to me MANY times! I commend you - and encourage you not to give up.

    Okay, crits! I noticed on all your skeletons that the shoulder blade is too big, and the pelvis not big enough. Those two alone would be sufficient to throw off the last one you did. The pelvis should extend all the way to the buttocks on a horse: it's the furthest point on their hind end; much like the ball of the femur is the widest point of a woman's hips.

    The other thing I noticed is your hind legs seem a little short. I don't suppose you have the picture you drew from, do you? It would help! The hooves are too small too - the hoof is pretty large over the bone.

    Horse necks are actually pretty thick - from the side! If you look from above, they are not very wide. It also depends if the horse you are drawing is a stallion (male) or mare (female). Stallion's necks are especially thick and arched. (Think male pidgeon! )

    So, do a few more skeletons from pictures...and then I think we'll go on from there. Drawing horses properly is a lifetime journey that we certainly won't complete here! Good work!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    2,647
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1,432 Times in 152 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Teigrob
    Congratulations bumskee! You've picked the hardest animal to do after humans, according to the masters.
    Oh great... .. I would have gone for a cat or a goldfish. hehe it's ok.. I think. Thanks heaps for the crits.. I wouldn't have known.. I will post the reference photo later tonight. only 8:00 am here in Sydney... Ok! so more skeletons? proportions...

    cheers,

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    623
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 5 Times in 3 Posts
    I'm so glad to see this thread! There's no artist here more qualified for this than you, Teigrob.

    Are birds allowed in the club?

    I'm terribly poor at stylized stuff (though I've enjoyed doing lots of non-stylized animal art), but I'm hoping to change that by moving along with this thread, arming myself with a serious understanding of animal anatomy. My chosen target is most likely going to be a bird of some sort.

    This afternoon I read, researched, and drew. Tomorrow I'll select a specific species of bird and do a couple of skeleton-on-top-of-the-ref drawings. Then, hopefuly I can think about moving into some confident gestures.

    birds birds birds from today - all from a variety of refs

    Animated Animals 101

    -Craig

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    The back of beyond and lovin' it
    Posts
    785
    Thanks
    46
    Thanked 22 Times in 12 Posts
    Hey, welcome! Birds are an excellant topic - one I need to do more often myself.

    Excellant studies, look forward to seeing more. Tomorrow I'm going to do the next step, but don't feel rushed. This is a 'at your leisure' thread.

    Thanks for joining!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    2,647
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 1,432 Times in 152 Posts
    wow...that's some solid studies Craig, now I feel like doing a bird.. but no I better stick with my horse..

    Tei, hehe, just thought I let you know I am going to keep drawing horses and apples on PS.. looking forward to the next stage, although I probably remain behind and do more skeleton sketches, I have yet to do your exercise.

    cheers,

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    marietta, ga
    Posts
    861
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 32 Times in 23 Posts

    nice to find this thread

    i got some studies that i do sometimes..i still gotta master the human but i love animals too so:
    this are some studies of horses i've done..rubens and frazetta animals i like a lot..kley is also awesome
    Animated Animals 101
    Animated Animals 101
    Animated Animals 101
    Animated Animals 101 this is degas..
    this is from bargue..im yet to draw a real horse..buah..
    Animated Animals 101 i've done some studies of the atlas anatomy of animals..damn hard..anyways..

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    The back of beyond and lovin' it
    Posts
    785
    Thanks
    46
    Thanked 22 Times in 12 Posts
    Nice to see you here, allejo (mind if I call you that? ) Those horses are looking really good - except for the second from the bottom - His neck dips kinda weird on top. His shoulders look too far back too. Otherwise, you have a solid start. How about some skeletons done to pictures next? Or if you prefer, just jump into what I'm doing next.

    For those of you still back on doing skeletons to pictures, don't worry! This thread is on your time. I'm just posting this 'cause I like to feel like I'm doing something.

    A note on foreshortening: Most people seem to think it is of the devil. However, once you get the basic principle down, it's actually quite easy and makes your drawings much more interesting. All of you, I'm sure, learned basic perspective princlples: if one object is in front of another, it appears closer; if one object is larger than another, it appears closer and so on and so forth. This is precisely what happens in foreshortening.

    Animated Animals 101

    Along the top I did one limb sideways, and then foreshortened. All you have to remember is the end of the limb (be it hand, knee, paw or whatever) mostly overlaps what is behind it, and the limb itself appears quite short.

    Okay, if you've practiced with your animal (or bird!) skeleton of choice sufficiently, you should be ready to have some fun with it! Like so:

    Animated Animals 101

    Notice my skeletons aren't super detailed or (!) even all that accurate in places. That is not the point - the point is to know your anatomy so well that you can now make your critter do what no normal critter would do!

    I should clarify things a bit here - just in case anyone is not clear. I am not a fine artist! I will not teach you how to render the hide of a horse so well it looks real. My concern is to teach you how to make animals come alive and have personalities of their own. I am, after all, first and foremost an animator, so everything I say comes from that viewpoint. Okay, just so's we're all clear....

    One further point - the more you study animals from life, the better off you will be. My mother ran a boarding stable while I was growing up, so I practically lived and breathed horses. I know what a horse looks like rearing up because I've had them do so in my face! I know not everyone has that experience, but there are ways to rectify it. Get to know your local zoo very well! Study your pets, or your friend's pets. Go to the Museum of Natural History, if you are lucky enough to have one. Even mounted police can become excellant references. (just ask them politely not to move for a bit! Oh, and be sure not to get too close to the horse. Not all horses are friendly.)

    That's it for this week I think...everyone - do more skeletons! And have fun! Not everyone does animals, as you all know, so it'll set you apart.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    623
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 5 Times in 3 Posts
    To narrow things down I've picked the Scrub Jay. It looks like a naturaly expressive bird, as songbirds go. It's also rather 'typical' looking, which should be good when it comes to translating the knowledge to other birds later on.

    The "taking pictures of animals and drawing them as skeletons" wasn't an easy task for me, since the bird anatomy is so new, but I drew the outlines for these using a ref, then I forced myself to no-ref a skeleton on it. Afterwards I made corrections using bone refs. Unfortunately, most of the bone refs are chickens and owls. So, i sorta guessed at the Scrub Jay morphology.

    Animated Animals 101

    I tried moving forward into the next step, posing loose skeletons into all sorts of expressive positions and such. Unfortunately they weren't up to par. I need to keep penciling in skeletons over refs. I imagine that once I get to the point where I can draw skeletons 'loosely' (instead of as rigid looking as those above) over refs, I'll be ready for the 'posed skeleton' stage.

    -Craig

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Art: animals
    By Nucleardan in forum Finished Art
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: January 18th, 2006, 04:50 PM
  2. Art: my try on animals
    By Joey-b in forum Finished Art
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: April 7th, 2004, 09:35 AM
  3. Some animals
    By deschamps in forum Art Critique Center
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: February 24th, 2004, 01:04 PM
  4. Art: Animals!
    By Hunger_Artist in forum Fine Art
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: September 16th, 2003, 10:50 PM
  5. Art: Animals!!
    By klesk33 in forum Finished Art
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: August 28th, 2002, 08:50 PM

Members who have read this thread: 1

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Developed Actively by the makers of the Best Amazon Podcast