Anonymous asked: I hope I'm not being rude, bit do you have any animal drawing tips or books to recommend (especially concerning birds because most books I've gone through cover quadrupedal animals like horses and dogs)?
Oh boy, do I have a list for you! A lot of this will pertain to animation as well because making an animal move right is very important in making it look real, even if it is just a still drawing.
Force: Animal Drawing breaks down animal figures into shapes and focuses you on getting the flow down right. I’d start with something like this because getting an animal to move right is incredibly important, you can learn the specific anatomy afterwards. Horses move differently than dogs move differently from cats, even though they are all quadrupeds.
The Art of Animal Drawing: Construction, Analysis, Caricature is more detailed, helping show figures in motion by breaking down into shapes and then adding detail to make it realistic. I’ve had many Disney animators suggest this to me and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT
Animals Real and Imagined: Fantasy of What is and What Might Be is the next step, after you are familiar with animal construction. She really goes into detail about starting with a skeleton, putting muscles onto that and skin over the top so everything makes sense anatomically. There is also advice on drawing animals in different styles (also has birds!!)
Claire Wendling is incredible at drawing animals! Like seriously, look her up and study the heck out of her drawings. She captures movement and anatomy perfectly and makes it look effortless. Her cats are the best I’ve ever seen and she has nice drawings of horses/centaurs too! It can be hard to get a hold of some of her books but they are TOTALLY WORTH IT.
And some tips I’ve found out on my own:
Observe. Observe. Observe. Look at videos of that animal, go see them at a zoo, whatever. See how they carry their weight from step to step. Are their spines flexible? Big cats have very springy spines to help propel them while they’re running, while the spines of animals like horses and cows don’t move that much.
Stop being scared and just draw them. Fill pages upon pages of animal drawings, do some every morning while you’re having your coffee, just churn out all those bad drawings and eventually you’ll start nailing it. Start out with vague shapes and as you get more comfortable start throwing real anatomy into it.
Please please please don’t rely on My Little Pony for horse anatomy. It’s cute and breaks down anatomy for beginners but horse legs are much more complicated than just a blob with a flat surface at the end for a hoof.
Andreas Deja’s blog has some really good animal drawing posts now and again.
BIRDS. BIRDS. GOD, BIRDS. I’ve owned cockatoos for 20+ years and their anatomy still confuses me. First of all, you should look at a skeleton and see just what is happening under all those feathers, because it’s really deceptive. Did you realize JUST HOW LONG AN OWL’S NECK IS?? Glen Keane’s notes on Marahute were really helpful for me when I was starting out drawing birds. Hate to say it but I haven’t found a book that’s solidly on bird anatomy, so you’ll have to just look around on the internet. Bird wings are very tricky until you figure out how they work, it’s hard for me to explain in words but here are some nice bird anatomy references from Pixiv:
I hope this was at least a little helpful! Study up and start drawing amazing animals!