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Natural Black Hair Tutorial!
Usually Black hair is excluded in the hair tutorials which I have seen so I have gone through it in depth because it’s really not enough to tell someone simply, “Black hair is really curly, draw it really curly." 

The next part of Black Hair In Depth will feature styles and ideas for designing characters and I will release it around February. If you would like to see certain styles, please shoot me a message!

[Patreon]

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i just found myself using this random trick that one of my art professors taught me and i thought other people might like it!

other tips:
-at rest, the elbow hits the bottom of the ribcage, and the wrist hits the bottom of the crotch
-the distance from your inner elbow to your wrist is about the same length as your foot
-the length of your hand (from wrist to the tip of your middle finger) is about the same length as the distance between the bottom of your chin and your hairline

so, if you have a feeling that proportions are wrong on something, those work as quick gauges. like, if a character’s forearm looks too long, try to visualize their foot being the same size and see if that works. if the hands look too big, look at their size in relation to the face.

hope this helps someone!

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View the fullsize tutorial on DA | The most handy hair structure tutorials are this video by Proko and thisblog post.These are useful for thinking about the direction hair locks flow with different styles: 1 2 3 4 5 | Painting Realistic Hair | Shading with gradients: 1 2 | Tutorials by me including: Gimp Brush Dynamics, Coloring Eyes and Coloring Method.

All example characters are fromThe Silver Eye webcomic!

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A few people have asked for tips about clothing design. These are just some things to consider while designing outfits for characters. 


I would also like to add that the best thing you begin with is gorging yourself on costumes, historical clothing, current fashion, etc. Take some time to look around, collect information, and get a good idea of what works. Then, apply what you know, and have fun with it. 

Notes on Character Design

Character design and drawing are tome-sized topics and even if I had all the answers (I don’t - I have a lot to learn), I’m not sure I could communicate them effectively. I’ve gathered some thoughts and ideas here, though, in case they’re helpful.

First, some general things:

 - Relax and let some of that anxiety go. This isn’t a hard science. There’s no wrong way, no rigid process you must adhere to, no shoulds or shouldn’ts except those you designate for yourself. This is one of the fun parts of being an artist, really - have a heady good time with it.

 - Be patient. A design is something gradually arrived at. It takes time and iteration and revision. You’ll throw a lot of stuff away, and you’ll inevitably get frustrated, but bear in mind the process is both inductive and deductive. Drawing the wrong things is part of the path toward drawing the right thing.

- Learn to draw.  It might seem perfunctory to say, but I’m not sure everyone’s on the same page about what this means. Learning to draw isn’t a sort of rote memorization process in which, one by one, you learn a recipe for humans, horses, pokemon, cars, etc. It’s much more about learning to think like an artist, to develop the sort of spacial intelligence that lets you observe and effectively translate to paper, whatever the subject matter. When you’re really learning to draw, you’re learning to draw anything and everything. Observing and sketching trains you to understand dimension, form, gesture, mood, how anatomy works, economy of line; all of the foundational stuff you will also rely on to draw characters from your imagination.
Spend some time honing your drawing ability. Hone it with observational sketching. Hone it good.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do this sort of thing better than Claire Wendling. In fact, character designs emerge almost seamlessly from her gestural sketches. It’d be worth looking her up.

- Gather Inspiration like a crazed magpie. What will ultimately be your trademark style and technique is a sort of snowball accumulation of the various things you expose yourself to, learn and draw influence from. To that effect, Google images, tumblr, pinterest and stock photo sites are your friends. When something tingles your artsy senses - a style, a shape, a texture, an appealing palette, a composition, a pose, a cool looking animal, a unique piece of apparel, whatever - grab it. Looking at a lot of material through a creative lens will make you a better artist the same way reading a lot of material makes a better writer.
It’ll also devour your hard drive and you will try and fail many times to organize it, but more importantly, it’ll give you a lovely library of ideas and motivational shinies to peruse as you’re conjuring characters.

- Imitation is a powerful learning tool. Probably for many of us, drawing popular cartoon characters was the gateway habit that lured us into the depraved world of character design to begin with. I wouldn’t suggest limiting yourself to one style or neglecting your own inventions to do this, but it’s an effective way to limber up, to get comfortable drawing characters in general, and to glean something from the thought processes of other artists.

- Use references. Don’t leave it all up to guessing. Whether you’re trying to design something with realistic anatomy or something rather profoundly abstracted from reality, it’s helpful in a multitude of ways to look at pictures. When designing characters, you can infer a lot personality from photos, too.

And despite what you might have heard, having eyeballs and using them to look at things doesn’t constitute cheating. There’s no shame in reference material. There’s at least a little shame in unintentional abstractions, though.

Concepts and Approach:

- Break it down. Sometimes you have the look of a character fleshed out in your mind before putting it to paper, but usually not. That doesn’t mean you have to blow your cortical fuses trying conceive multiple diverse designs all at the same time, though. You don’t even have to design the body shape, poses, face, and expressions of a single character all at once. Tackle it a little at a time.

The cartoony, googly eyed style was pre-established for this simple mobile game character, but I still broke it into phases. Start with concepts, filter out what you like until you arrive at a look, experiment with colors, gestures and expressions.

- Start with the general and work toward the specific. Scribbling out scads of little thumbnails and silhouettes to capture an overall character shape is an effective way begin - it’s like jotting down visual notes. When you’re working at a small scale without agonizing over precision and details, there’s no risk of having to toss out a bunch of hard work, so go nuts with it. Give yourself a lot of options.

Here’s are some sample silhouettes from an old cancelled project in which I was tasked with designing some kind of cyber monkey death bot. I scratched out some solid black shapes then refined some of them a step or two further.

- Shapes are language. They come preloaded with all sorts of biological, cultural and personal connotations. They evoke certain things from us too. If you’re ever stuck about where to go with your design, employ a sort of anthroposcopy along these lines - make a visual free association game out of it. It’ll not only tend to result in a distinguished design, but a design that communicates something about the nature of the character.

Think about what you infer from different shapes. What do they remind you of? What personalities or attitudes come to mind? How does the mood of a soft curve differ from that of a sharp angle? With those attributes attached, how could they be used or incorporated into a body or facial feature shape? What happens when you combine shapes in complementary or contrasting ways? How does changing the weight distribution among a set of shapes affect look and feel? Experiment until a concept starts to resonate with the character you have in mind or until you stumble on something you like.

If you don’t have intent, take the opposite approach - draw some shapes and see where they go. (It’s stupid fun.)

- Cohesion and Style. As you move from thumbnails to more refined drawings, you can start extrapolating details from the general form. Look for defining shapes, emergent themes or patterns and tease them out further, repeat them, mirror them, alternate them. Make the character entirely out of boxy shapes, incorporate multiple elements of an architectural style, use rhythmically varying line weights - there are a million ways to do this

Here’s some of the simple shape repetition I’ve used for Lackadaisy characters.

- Expressions - let them emerge from your design. If your various characters have distinguishing features, the expressions they make with those features will distinguish them further. Allow personality to influence expressions too, or vice versa. Often, a bit of both happens as you continue drawing - physiognomy and personality converge somewhere in the middle.

For instance, Viktor’s head is proportioned a little like a big cat. Befitting his personality, his design lets him make rather bestial expressions. Rocky, with his flair for drama, has a bit more cartoon about him. His expressions are more elastic, his cheeks squish and deform and his big eyebrows push the boundaries of his forehead. Mitzi is gentler all around with altogether fewer lines on her face. The combination of her large sleepy eyes and pencil line brow looked a little sad and a little condescending to me when I began working out her design - ultimately those aspects became incorporated into her personality.

I discuss expression drawing in more detail here (click the image for the link):

- Pose rendering is another one of those things for which observational/gesture drawing comes in handy. Even if you’re essentially scribbling stick figures, you can get a handle on natural looking, communicative poses this way. Stick figure poses make excellent guidelines for plotting out full fledged character drawings too.

Look for the line of action. It’ll be easiest to identify in poses with motions, gestures and moods that are immediately decipherable. When you’ve learned to spot it, you can start reverse engineering your own poses around it.


- Additional resources
- here are some related things about drawing poses and constructing characters (click the images for the links).

Lastly…

- Tortured rumination about lack of ability/style/progress is a near universal state of creative affairs. Every artist I have known and worked with falls somewhere on a spectrum between frustration in perpetuity and a shade of fierce contrition Arthur Dimmesdale would be proud of. So, next time you find yourself constructing a scourge out of all those crusty acrylic brushes you failed to clean properly, you loathsome, deluded hack, you, at least remember you’re not alone in feeling that way. When it’s not crushing the will to live out of you, the device does have its uses - it keeps you self-critical and locked in working to improve mode. If we were all quite satisfied with our output, I suppose we’d be out of reasons to try harder next time.

When you need some reassurance, compare old work to new. Evolution is gradual and difficult to perceive if you’re narrowed in on the nearest data point, but if you’ve been steadily working on characters for a few months or a year, you’ll likely see a favorable difference between points A and B.

Most of all, don’t dwell on achieving some sort of endgame in which you’re finally there as a character artist. There’s no such place - wherever you are, there is somewhere else. It’s a moving goal post. Your energy will be better spent just enjoying the process…and that much will show in the results.

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Hey Anon! Sorry I took so long to answer this–I wanted to do something more in-depth over just a ‘ok draw a circle now MAKE IT AWSUM.’ I also tried to recall from other tutorials stuff in them I didn’t feel like they spoke about.

also–I’m very sorry I don’t have more advice to give about ears. I am not completely confident with them yet! Gotta keep practicing.

As always, I am not 100% correct on everything, so feel free to use what you want and ignore what you don’t want!

Here’s some more tutorials on noses and ears that might be helpful, if this one isn’t:

Step-by-step coloring nose tutorial

Another nose tutorial!

Ear tutorial by the same artist. This artist has TONS of other useful tutorials too, btw!

More noses.

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It seems like all of the resources I can easily find online for identifying wolves vs dogs are either massive and difficult to understand without prior knowledge of the subject, or extremely bare-bones and miss a lot of key information. I tried to hit a comfortable middle-ground. (sorry if it’s a little wordy)
This tutorial is made as a reference for drawing, so everything but purely visual differences between dogs and wolves have been left out.

I’ve been wanting to make this for a while now, so I’m glad I finally sat down and did it!

**EDIT**
When it comes to the section on wolfdogs, please take it with a grain of salt. With something as complicated as genetics, they are of course, not going to be as simple as I make it seem. What features different levels of content can display, and even which percentages designate which levels of content are often hotly debated within the wolfdog community. At this point I’ve elected not to change the image set itself because:
a. it’s a huge pain in the ass
b. this is a tutorial for beginning artists. It’s meant to be a hugely simplified version of the topic, and I’ve stated clearly that it is NOT to be used in real-world identification.

**EDIT 2**
A couple people have noted that the puppies section is a little misleading. Wolf puppies will always be born a solid brown, but that brown can range from a very dark brown (appearing as black) to a llight, gray-ish brown. The important point is that wolf pups will always be a solid color with even less distinguishable markings than even adult wolves. 
(also this guide does not include color possibilities related to birth defects or other genetic anomalies such as albinism)

((Huge thanks to yourdogisnotawolf. who’s blog inspired me to make this and for digging up that amazing picture of the wolf/lab mix))

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@curdalert, asked me a few weeks ago, 
“How do you approach figure drawing?”

While this isn’t really figure drawing in the traditional sense. This is just me trying to show how I see the human form, how I simplify things for myself to understand it enough to move past all the bullshit and difficulty of drawing.

I’m by no means an expert on anatomy. I don’t know all the ins and outs of every damn bone, ligament or muscle. It’s all too much. A lot of this I learned from sifting through tutorials and browsing the internet. 

But figure drawing itself in the traditional sense is more about capturing the form. The force and flow of a pose. But I do keep a lot what I’m showing here in mind when I’m drawing from memory. I should however be doing a lot more life drawing, which is like zero at the moment. What I’m showing here can help de-mystify the human form a bit. 

So basically, this little tutorial I threw together is really about these 3 SHAPES and how everything is a mix of those 3 shapes. No magic. No abiding by rules of how many heads fit into a body. It’s all just shapes.

Hope this helps. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please send me more questions and I’ll do my best to answer them :)

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Tumblr makes it look really low quality, but they’re fine if you click on them~ :)

Tutorial time! Here’s a quick hair tip tutorial for eat-my-shxrts (I’m working on the eyes/facial features one, but since I finished this one I thought I’d post it :) Hope this is helpful, I wish I was better at explaining how I draw XD

I also included a process gif! Featuring some of my faves with varying hairstyles~ :) <3

HOW NOT TO DRAW ARCHERY: AN ART TUTORIAL.

DISCLAIMER: I was going to make this “how to draw archery”, but that would probably have taken the rest of my life. This is all stuff I’ve learned from practicing archery in the past, and the tips I’ve given should translate to many, if not all styles of archery. If you take issue with any of the information given here please contact me, as I’m aware I’m not an expert!

Okay, I’ve seen too many bad drawings of archery online. Most of the time I can overlook it, but I’ve made this guide to address drawings where a) the character would hurt/maim themselves if they shot like that, or b) if you tried to shoot like that, the arrow would just make a sad trajectory to the ground, the aerodynamic equivalent of a “WAH-WAH” on a trumpet.

With this in mind:

POINT ONE: WHY IS YOUR ARM LIKE THAT

If successful archery is about one thing, it is about consistency - being able to make your body take exactly the same stance over and over and over again. Your body is a key part of the weapon, and just as you wouldn’t want a gun that had components that wobbled and shifted, you don’t want your body to.

With this in mind, characters shooting, particularly at full draw (this is when the arm pulling the string is stretched all the way back), should have the arm that is holding the bow straight. Not locked - I’ll get into that - but straight. A straight arm is easy to replicate - a bent arm could be at a different angle each time. Simple as that.

POINT TWO: DON’T SHOOT YOUR TIT OFF

See this diagram

the dotted line is the path the string will take. The string is extremely tight - it has to be for the bow to work. It will therefore move extremely fast. Do you want any part of your body to be in the way of that.

if you have any part of your body (elbows and breasts/pectoral muscles tend to be the worst offenders) in the line of the string, they will get hit. And this will hurt. A LOT. Google “archery bruise” to see how. Yikes. Furthermore, if your arm or chest gets in the way, it’ll knock the arrow off course, and in addition to having sliced your nipple off you’ll have missed your shot too. So KEEP STUFF OUT OF THE PATH OF THE STRING.

side note: this is where the myth of amazons chopping their boobs off came from. Also, why archers sometimes wear chest-guards - this looks like a one-cupped unisex bra. Stylish. Also why archers often wear protective gear called a bracer. This goes on the tender inside of the arm and wrist that might get clipped by the string, not the outside that is nowhere near it.

POINT THREE: WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR FINGERS STOP THAT

Okay I keep seeing this

Having the fingers clasping the arrow like this makes it highly likely that the pressure from them will send the arrow off-course.

Many modern bows have an arrow rest so you needn’t rest the arrow on your hand at all. If that isn’t the case, it works better to rest the arrow on the first knuckle of the index finger (where it meets the hand). If it’s just being used as a platform, the finger shouldn’t be able to exert enough pressure to make the shot go all over the place. Also you won’t end up shredding your fingers with the fletchings.

Talking of that…

POINT FOUR: DON’T SLICE YOUR FINGERS OFF

remember what I said earlier about how incredibly taut bowstrings are

imagine pulling that back with your soft fleshy fingers

it is basically like cheesewire through…soft fleshy fingers.

Use protection. Illustrated below are the tab and archery glove, or just go to google or something, stop the madness.

POINT FIVE: PHYSICS DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT

A strung bow is taut. The body of the bow is pulled by the (very tight) string, making a D shape. An unstrung bow will be straighter.

The tension in the string means a string should always be a straight line. If the bow is drawn, it’s two straight lines. 

If there is any curve in the string, the arrow will probably fall limply to the floor.

ALSO. When the string is drawn back, it exerts more pressure on the bow, creating that really exaggerated curve. This is where the power comes from. (I think. I am not physics). Basically, if you’re drawing a character at full draw, the string should be straight and the bow should be curved. If the opposite is true something very wrong has happened and you should be sad.


OKAY! I hope this has been helpful, if you have any questions or concerns let me know. And if in doubt, doctor google will help you - look at olympic or professional archers, and see how they’re standing and how their bows behave.

GOOD LUCK DRAWING!

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Let’s talk about trees - a practical how-to for populating your natural environments and landscapes with trees and plantlife in drawings

I’ve seen a lot of people who really want to do nature/landscape drawings but struggle with filling the space. I’m by no means an authority on this matter, but I thought I’d share my observations and ideas about filling nature shots with cool stuff because I really like drawing them and spend a lot of time doing it.

Some observations:

  • It’s hard to figure out what’s in a natural landscape unless you take time and really make a mental inventory of everything you see. Go explore and memorize
  • Draw from life and references
  • It’s too easy to fall into the habit of making ‘convenient shapes’ with trees and branches. Look for alternatives, examine how abruptly branches grow into different directions and split.
  • Mix and match. I never draw a scientifically exact tree species, I mix the relevant qualities from the kinds of trees I know that fit the image. Combine stuff you’ve seen and your imagination.
  • I try to 'layer’ the vegetation. A forest looks empty with just trees. Think about the medium and low-height vegetation and bushes and then what’s closest to the ground and ON the ground.
  • Take into account what you want to convey with the vegetation; seasons, is the environment lush or harsh, is it creepy or idyllic?

If you like this, please do reblog but do not redistribute/reupload or modify in any way without my written consent.