Learn from our Four Legged Friends

One of my drawing class’s homework is to study the tiger’s anatomy.  When you learn to draw one four legged animal it’s really much easier to handle other similar animals! Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Actually you’ll have to invest a lot of effort into it, because it’s not enough to know only the anatomy, but the daunting part is to know how the animal moves and behaves. Believe me, there’s no use to drawing a tiger in the same standard position over and over again, what brings it to life is its pose or movement. Unfortunately for some this is nothing you can learn through googled images. Here are a few things I can recommend:

  • The best and often easiest (and cheapest) way to learn a lot about animals is to observe living ones. If we’re talking about exotic examples like tigers the only place to go is obviously the zoo 🙂 There are some important things you should do when doing observations: Make sketches on site, take photos, and take footage. Sometimes it’s really difficult to sketch the animal (it’s moving fast, it’s very timid) so I highly recommend photos AND filming. Needless to say, the better the quality, the better the results. Try not to use a cell phone camera (like I did), you can hardly work with the created material. Films are especially good for movement studies.
  • Watch some documentaries and read research work. Your background knowledge can always use new information and your drawings are going to profit from it a lot.
  • If possible you could also use a 3D model. Either it’s a model in a video game or you can get access to a professional program like Poser or DAZ Studio. You should pay attention to the model’s anatomy though. They could be either altered (videogame) or of poor quality (some programs seem to use the same basic anatomy and simply give you different textures to apply). This choice can be really tricky so you shouldn’t solely rely on it. The real thing is always the best!

Well, my zoo excursion was really interesting and it paid out. I’ve made some sketches and a lot of filming (though the quality is poor it’s enough for movement studies)

That’s all for this week’s tip 😉