Every beginner artist ever wondered how to draw animals. Drawing animals is no more difficult than drawing humans, but since there are so many animals on our planet, a lot of theoretical material for drawing manuals is created. Today we are going to look at five basic elements that will give you an idea of how to draw animals.
HOW TO DRAW ANIMALS: THE GREYHOUND — IN SEVEN FOLLOW-THROUGH STEPS
In fig. 1 are a few simple lines suggesting an animal. A child might do something like this before he learns to write his own name, Two legs, back, neck, head and tail. Using this as a starter, let’s begin to make a change here and there which will turn these stiff lines into a sleek greyhound dog. At the same time we’ll learn some valuable facts about animal anatomy and how to draw animals.
No animal has a straight backbone. When the head is held in a normal position, the spine (A) curves down from the head to the tail in the manner shown.
Next to consider is the ribcage area (B), the bulkiest part of the animal. A portion of it extends beyond the front legs which bear more weight than do the rear legs (the neck and head being suspended in front is one reason for this). The ribcage takes up half or more of the body proper in nearly all animals.
In fig. 4 the attaching bones C and D (simplified here) for the legs are added. In the side view both the pelvic bone (C) and the shoulder-blade or scapula (D) slant down and out from the central part of the body. Whereas C runs through the hips, the two shoulder-blades occur on either side of the ribcage.
In nearly all animals, the forelegs are shorter overall than the back legs; they conform more to the straight line of fig. 1. They are more of the supporting pillars since they are closer to center than the rear legs. The bigger the central part of the beast (like the bison), the shorter the front legs. I and J are directly beneath each other. E (the femur) and H (the humerus) slant in from the outward slant of C and D (brought over from fig, 4). This is important to remember in animals, Notice the relationship of the back leg EFG to the straight line of fig. 1. This is the animal’s “push-off'” leg, more like a spring.
In fig. 6 the far legs have been added, In fig,7 the main sections of the greyhound are roughly indicated in pencil. These represent the key parts which have a strong tendency to “show” in all animals, They are not difficult to learn as one might imagine. Get so you “see” animals in terms of these vital sections. Your understanding of their structure will be helped immeasurably.
HOW TO DRAW ANIMALS: SIMPLIFYING THE ANIMAL
Here is another very elemental approach to drawing animals. No particular animal is now in mind. Above are the parts we will use. The oval (fig. 1) represents the body without head and legs. Tobe sure, the oval needs to be modified later, yet there are some animals with lots of fur which appear to have oval-like bodies. Two “threes” are in fig. 2, one drawn backwards, These, for the time being, will be the simplified muscles of the hips and shoulders in our diagram.
The parallel lines of fig. 3 will be the front and back of the legs closest to us. A deer would have thinner legs and a polar bear’s would look thicker. Another oval (fig. 4) will represent the ribcage and will be drawn in the forward part of the body. The reversed “nine” of fig, 5 will serve as the neck and head, and a couple of sideways “U’s” will be the feet.
Now, assemble these extremely simple parts. Begin with the oval (A), insert the “threes” as shown, Sometimes in a real animal the tops of the threes will jut out over the backline. Add the front and back legs as in fig. C. Lastly, insert the ribcage; draw the neck, head and feet fig. D).
Look for the body parts (mentioned at the top of the page) in these simplified animals, After having sketched the A, B, C, D creature, seek to merge the hips and shoulders with the legs beneath them.
HOW TO DRAW ANIMALS: THE THREE BODY BASICS
That which is illustrated on this page is especially significant. At first glance it appears as if most of the sketches are monotonously similar, One can hardly tell what some of these torsos are, for they have been stripped of identifying characteristics such as heads, necks, legs, feet, tails and fur markings.
There are certain body basics in the animal kingdom which are remarkably alike, An awareness of this fact can prove both helpful and bothersome, It can be helpful in that, once learned, a student has something on which to build, That’s what we are after here. Bother- some, in that related animals can be so annoyingly similar, However, little interesting details, discussed as we move along, can make up the necessary differences in closely related animals. Knowledge of the foregoing can be pleasantly exciting and help you understand how to draw animals.
First, observe the areas to which we have previously referred: forequarters, midsection and hindquarters. Whenever the student sees an animal of any kind, whether in photo, movies or real life, he should deliberately concentrate on these tandem parts, watching them closely as the subject moves about.
Fig. 1 is a jaguar without his telltale markings — could be any number of the big cats. Fig.2 is the giraffe. No long neck or legs or giveaway coat pattern — just notice the body contour, especially the forequarters. Fig. 3, the cow, is easier; but there they appear, three unmistakable sections. Fig. 4 is a squirrel (enlarged); fig. 5 is a wild boar; fig. 6 is a Patas monkey; fig. 7 is a jackal. Everyone will recognize the Indian rhinoceros in fig, 8. Observe how his heavy hide is prominently folded to accomodate these three important body basics.
HOW TO DRAW ANIMALS: THE A B C’s OF ANIMAL STRUCTURE
Without legs, neck and head the bodies of nearly 100% of all animals are twice as long as they are high. So, to learn a few more introductory facts concerning their general shape, sketch a rectangle about one by two in proportion.
Add two smaller rectangles (as we begin the sectional divisions mentioned on the previous pages): the larger one overlapping the rear and bottom, the smaller one extending over the top and front. These should be set at an angle and parallel to each other, ‘”a-b'” will be the back slant of the hips, “c'” will be the kneecap (a little below the big rectangle), “”d-e'” will be the top of the shoulder blade and “f'” point of the shoulder.
Add two more smaller and thinner rectangles both back and front, They represent the tibia and humerus parts of the legs and, again, should be somewhat parallel (the reason for their being drawn to- gether here). Notice the bottom left corner of rectangle 1 cuts through the top of rectangle 2 about midway. “g'” will be the bottom protrusion of the knee, and “h” will be the animal’s elbow.
The number 3 rectangles are next and are narrower. They represent the meta- tarsus and radius segments (though we are chiefly édoncerned with the natural “1-2-3’s” in our progression). The back 3 angles in; the front 3 is straight up and down.
Add the last vertical 4 of the front leg (the metacarpus), the foot blocks 5, the pelvic bone area 6, a suggestion of a tail 7, the neck 8, head 9, muzzle 10 and ear 11. Rectangles 8& 9 are in line with the front 1. After doing F it is well to practice these “ABC’s” a number of times.
Over these straight lines sketch curves inthe manner shown at left. In order to get an idea of ground- work principles, we have drawn a composite of several animals, no special one.
HOW TO DRAW ANIMALS: APPLYING THE A B C’s
If you’ve made it to this lesson, you know how to draw animals at the elementary level. After one has acquired a working familiarity with the formal placement of these body parts (opposite page), it is time to experiment with them. Of course, we cannot expect to draw every animal over the same identical scaffolding. Nor can we dissect a given rectangle at a certain place each time we change animals. For one thing, the main trunk rectangle”A” will often be tilted (see horse fig. 1 & dog fig. 2).
The two No.1 rectangles in fig.B (page 4) will not always be parallel, but in most drawings the tendency for them to line up that way will be apparent. Look for that “1-2-3 follow-through’ diagramed in D across the page. There’s a swing to it. The stance of an animal such as the dog in fig. 2 may alter the hindquarters considerably.
A repeat of the shoulder rectangles (a&b in fig, 3) may help if the body at that point is turned to show ‘thickness,’ Seldom will a neck be finished off with straight, parallel lines; but roughing in a starting rectangle should call attention to the peculiarity of the particular subject. Don’t expect these ABC’s to work magic until you have either acquainted yourself with the animal in question or have him standing in front of you, in real life or in authentic copy.
These exercises are for sideview subjects and not for semi-front views. Many calls come in for sideviews, however, and it should be the first learned by the student. The torsos of the deer and the cow lend themselves admirably to a box treatment. Animals which ‘foldup’ habitually, like the squirrel in fig. 4 may become involved if they are drawn too small, Nevertheless, with dimension in mind, the feel of one part being in front of the other can be assured by this method of practice. It is suggested that this procedure be done sketchily and not with hard, non-erasable lines.
Source: How to Draw Animals by Jack Hamm