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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 5:52 pm
by Photosoph
Hey there -this could either go in the Art Corner or the Tutorials, but I decided to stick it here as it seemed more appropriate.

The thing is, I was trying to draw a scene with two otters from the beginning of Brian Jacques' 'Loamhedge' novel -that's the reason for the weird basket full of rushes. This is just the linework from a quickish sketch, but the reason I'm posting it is because I need some help. While I'm familiar with drawing animals, when it comes to the anatomy of both furries and humans, I'm not so good. I was wondering if anyone could help me regarding the placing of the legs on the body, a better way to do the little otter's closest forearm etc, and/or if anyone could help me out with the how-to of folds.

In the novel a strong wind is blowing -I tried that a little bit, but this was more of a trial pic to see whether or not I could draw two otter anthros or not.

There are a few other mistakes -like the inconsistent way I've done the feet in the water, the furry texture on the back of the bigger otter's legs, etc... those are because I did a smooth outline at first but then realised it should have been a little more furry.

So anything any of you could help me with regarding poses, anatomy, folds, etc, or anything else you can think of, would be extremely helpful. Could anyone please help me out with this?


<EDIT>The weird thing up in the top right corner is the bottom of another quick sketch, which is still in its original pencil form.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 8:52 pm
by Esoteric
Hey, those are really cute! I'm certainly no anatomy expert, but I'll try to help. I'll try and duplicate those poses with a slightly more 3D feel (the folds, etc). You might be able to glean some ideas from seeing a different interpretation.
<Looks at clock> Oh my! It's getting late and tomorrow is work, but tomorrow is also friday! (probably saturday for you <g>). I should have time tomorrow night to draw and scan...

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:35 pm
by the_lizardqueen
Yay for Redwall! I used to be an obsessive Redwall fanartist, goodness knows, I probably created eight or so fancharacters at the peak of the craze. If I ever stop procrastinating, and finally get myself an art thread, I'll have to post some of my designs..

I think that the shorter otter looks really good, and from the waist up, the taller one looks fine. And I love the faces on both of them, very cute ^_^

I think the hind portion of the foot is a bit too long and the upper portion of the leg is a wee bit short and rounded. I tend to tackle upright animal legs in a way similar to human legs. Except I shorten the leg below the knee, make it more muscular, and view the paw as toes and the connection as the rest of the foot, but tilted upwards, sorta like thier standing on their tippy toes. Not sure if I'm making large quantities of sense.

If all else fails, here is the LQ's sketchirific attempt at a humanoid otter. Mebbe it'll help a bit. Ack, I must warn you that my style has been scarred for life by a three year obsession with drawing digimon. My figures tend to be freakily muscled :sweat:

Edit: I accidentally uploaded the wrong kind of JPG, I think I've fixed it..

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:02 pm
by Photosoph
<EDIT>Ah... I wondered why I couldn't open the sketch up the first time. ^_^ Strangely enough, I could still see it as a thumbnail, though...

You might be able to glean some ideas from seeing a different interpretation.

I think you're right; seeing how the folds and everything go in someone else's interpretation will definitely give me a few pointers. Thanks, Eso, for taking the time to help me! ^_^

Thanks LQ! I do need to figure out a better way to do that arm with the little otter though. ^^
Actually, your description does makes sense; even when you watch cats etc walking around they do tend to stand as though on tippy toes.

I'd love to see some of your Redwall chars, LQ. ^_^ I'm not a huge fan, but I do like to read the Redwall books; in my mind some of the plots tend to repeat themselves :eh: , but for new characters... but I still like to take out the occassional Redwall book from the library to read. ^_^
The reason that I'm trying to draw characters/scenes from the Redwall books is mostly to practice my drawing skills in regards to furries. ^_^ And it doesn't hurt to try to strengthen areas/styles/etc of drawing that I'm a little unpracticed in.

:lol: Ah yes... I went through a two year obsession with pokemon... which has definitely heavily influenced the development of my style. ^_^ Your sketch does help... I've tried out another quick otter sketch taking some pointers from your sketch and explanation... it's below. I realise the right arm should be up and left a little bit more, and that the pose is quite odd... and a few other things like that. But generally, is this sort of what you mean? It may take me a while to get the hang of it, but it's good to know the general formula for forming the legs.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 10:34 am
by the_lizardqueen
Oo wow, that was quick! The legs look really good and your otter heads are so awesome. I'm sure Eso's advice will also help a bunch. The only thing I might try doing now is looking up reference pictures of otters and trying to lengthen the body a little and shorten the legs a bit. I'm afraid I was kinda lazy and I didn't actually look at a reference when I was doing my sketch, which was rather digimon-ey looking at it now. :sweat:

That's always the dilema with furry art, the matter of trying to balance the human features and the animal features. Some anthro artists simply stick animal heads on human bodies, and others draw animals acting like humans. It can get a wee bit confusing at times. I also dug up some of my fave anthro-ish artists, maybe they'll be of some assistance as references. I pretty sure that the content on the pages checks out clean (um, except for maybe Goldenwolf)..

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:22 pm
by Photosoph
Cool, thanks! Yup, I'll definitely try to keep checking out otter references for leg size etc; I'm glad you like their heads. :grin:
I'll check out those sites and try to pick up a few things. ^^

Hmm... after checking out a couple of the deviant art links, I think I'll try to make my style a little more animal-like. Here are two more quick sketches -I misplaced my black ink pen (this happens frequently) and so had to make do with a blunt pencil. :grin: I probably should've sharpened it. ^_^

I'm also tossing up whether to draw the eyes like that of the otter's head picture (he's supposed to be facing backwards -it was a quick pose), or like that of the one with the unfinished spear/javelin in his paw. I could also use a little of both -for example, I could use the eye more like that of the creature in my av for my general eyes, whereas I could use something more like the other eye to emphasise surprised etc expressions. Otherwise I could have the other eye as my general eye, and have the one like in my av for any 'cute' type poses -and for young Redwall kids.

What do you think?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 9:51 pm
by Esoteric
Okay. I have not drawn an 'anthro' otter in... well, never. This was tough!!!! I'm still not happy with it; some limbs are too long or short, but it's the best I can do right now. Brian Jaques, now I know what artwork you're talking about! (I'm slow at making connections). That is cool stuff.

But your drawings are nice too, Soph. You have a very distinct style. Looks like LQ has helped a lot, and while I haven't looked at the links, I'm sure there's plenty of help there, probably better help as far as anthros are concerned. Still, I will point out a few things about my drawing in a feeble attempt to help.

Since I don't have any experience with otters (and I couldn't find a pic to reference), my otters have decidedly human proportions; Generally in realism, limbs taper from the torso. The lower leg is shorter than the femur, the foot is shorter than the lower leg, the toes shorter than the foot, etc. Cartoonish characters often reverse this, with huge feet and hands. <edit> Disregard the arm that looks like it's coming out of the basket. :sweat: That was a practice arm to verify proper length.<edit>

Foot placement is important, since to make them look 3D, they must occupy a 3D space -note the trapezoids on the ground which represent their 3d 'shadows' if you will.

The long pencil curves are rhythm lines. A rhythm line is a visual representation of an object or body's movement. Awareness of this movement and balance makes for good compositions.

If I were to suggest that you work on improving one element right now, I'd say foot placement. Often times your characters stand with their feet together and they look, uncomfortable. And I'm not quite sure why it is, but it doesn't always look like they have much weight on those feet. Work on making them look solidly planted, even when one foot is in the air or in movement. When you pick up a foot, your body doesn't stay straight, it shifts slighty to one side. Think about how the body must position itself to maintain balance. If you start studying this stuff now, both your people and animal drawings will benefit tremendously in the future. I know I'm still working on it. :sweat:

LQ, I'm impressed with the 3Dness of your drawing! You already know a lot about muscle structure. To reduce the chunky nature of your drawng though, you must lenghten the limbs. They don't really taper right now.

End of esoteric rambling.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 2:12 pm
by Mave
Eh....ok this is what I tried.

I think it's important to emphasize the characteristics that make an otter...well, an otter.

I've tried my best to maintain the elongated slender bodies and the thick tail. I also gave the otters some whiskers, flattened the top of the head a little and detailed the ears a little.

I think you need to keep the arms and legs short and stubby since that's just how God made otters (lol). I used the typical animal leg form used in animated animals but kept that feetpads that otters have (you know, those that look a bit like a webfeet).

I don't know if this is much help but this is the best I can do. ^_^;;
Good luck in your project!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 3:07 pm
by Photosoph
I know... it's amazing the way you're able to define the muscle structure so well, LQ! It definitely has a third dimension to it.

Strange... I thought I posted a reply to your post a while ago, Eso... oh well. :) Doesn't look like I have.
Thanks; I will work on foot placement -would working on sketching scenes from photos and real life help with this? I think I've been viewing my drawings more as flat and 2D rather than occupying a 3D space; it's really cool to be able to identify and work on a neglected area like this. ^_^
Btw, that's a really cool sketch.

Thanks Mave; yes, I think you're right about emphasising the features which make it an otter -I was wondering how I'd distinguish weasels from otters if I tried to draw them in a scene together... :lol: I also wondered if the arms were a little too long; yes, I think keeping them shorter like natural otter limbs would definitely look good; I like the way you've kept them short, yet slender; it definitely looks good and gives the body more room as well.

These do help; thank you all for taking the time to help me out with this. ^_^ I'll keep working on my otters -trying to incorporate the different tips. All the sketches definitely help; it's good to see all your interpretations of humanoid otters, and I know I'll be able to pick up a lot from each one. I may post a few more pics later, but for now, I think I have a good amount of tips to direct my efforts.

Thanks again, Lizardqueen, Esoteric and Mave!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 3:13 pm
by Myoti
Redwall! Yay! ^_^

Ahem, well. I don't remember too many "technical" terms, but "furry" happens to be one of my specialities. I believe the first style everything was fine, save for the hind of their legs. It doens't seem to "connect" quite the right way.

Estoric's pic seems to do make the leg smooth up to the body more correctly, so I'd suggest trying that.

Also, I'd like to point out that Redwall characters can't be totally considered "anthromorphic". The way they're described, I tend to think of them simply being walking and talking animals, not animal-human hybrids.

I have a friend who's an incredible furry artist and he does alot of otter artwork.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 3:15 pm
by Photosoph
Cool; does he have any sites where I can view his work? It's always good to be able to view others' work and try to pick a few things up. And do you have any sites with your work I could check out, Myoti?

I think the Redwall characters are probably more walking animals than anthros in the book, but I've decided to take a few liberties. ^_^

Photosoph wrote:I may post a few more pics later, but for now, I think I have a good amount of tips to direct my efforts.

You know, when I posted that I thought it would take me a few days to get onto a picture. But then I got onto it and got one done today.

Anyway... looking over the attachments, I can definitely see that I've come along way. I redrew that first picture I did -and though I know that I still need to work on it some more, I can see that I've definitely come a long way. It's still sketchy and kind of rough -and boy did I use my eraser a lot!
I just went over this sketch on the computer to emphasise a few lines. I think it's definitely an improvement over my first pic. ^_^

Now I need to work on adding some clothes to them... :sweat:

Posting this pic doesn't mean I'm going to stop working on my otters (though I may give it a rest seeing as I need to make a card for my Mum and my hand's a little sore ~_^ ), it's just to show that I am trying to incorporate the different advice into my sketching... and also I'm amazed at how far I've come since the first sketch, as I said before. ^_^

Thanks again for all your help, guys!

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2005 12:40 pm
by Myoti
Cool; does he have any sites where I can view his work? It's always good to be able to view others' work and try to pick a few things up. And do you have any sites with your work I could check out, Myoti?

I think the Redwall characters are probably more walking animals than anthros in the book, but I've decided to take a few liberties. ^_^

Yeah, I'd probably prefer to take liberties on it as well. XD

I don't know if my friend has any stuff anywhere, but his name will probably be done as something to the extent of "Miles Feral". Also, he got into some... trouble, recently, so he's not allowed onto the Internet.

I would post stuff, but I can't till I have acess to a working scanner.

As for your new pic, it's defintely a great improvement. The only thing I would say is to have the big otter round up more near his tail and stomach (it just kinda bulges out and hangs down).

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2005 2:01 pm
by Photosoph
That's true; I'll keep working on that. ^_^
I'll do a quick google search and see if he has any work anywhere. Thanks, Myoti!

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2005 2:59 pm
by Esoteric
Very nice re-draw Soph. I'm extremely impressed...even the feet look planted this time! Yeah! :thumb:

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2005 3:43 pm
by Photosoph
Thanks -I definitely took more time on the feet this time. ...It's easier to improve drawings if you know what to improve! :grin:

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:26 pm
by the_lizardqueen
Wow Eso and Mave really know their otter anatomy. We really kinda bombarded ya with help, didn't we? :lol:

The improved drawings are looking really good! The anatomy looks very true to that of an otter and I'm glad to see your distinct personal style shining through ^_^

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:33 pm
by the_lizardqueen
Ack, double post. My internet connection has been losing it's mind over the last month..