In this post, I’ll be showing my progress in drawing four legged characters. This was something I thought I’d never be able to do, but I guess I was wrong. I used pose and movie reference for some of it, but most of the drawings are made free-hand, without the use of visual aid. I started off really slow; it took me 2 hours to finish my very first character study. The forms were really detailed and showed a great level of expression, but I wanted to be able to make a page of them faster. I tried using pose/video reference, but the process got even slower. Turns out, it works best If I’ve got references from Balto, 101 Dalmatians, Aristocats, etc, In my head but not in front of me physically, then I’m able to draw them out a lot easier. I do not know why this happens, but I guess that’s just how my mind works for this sort of thing. Near the middle of creation, I was still focusing on detail, but could produce more in a shorter time, exploring every aspect of what would be a good way to animate a dog or cat. And then near the end I completely ignored the detail and focused on getting basic gestures and facial structures/expressions. By that point, I realized I didn’t have to get the detail down right away, and could just make basic templates to work from in Photoshop, because I will be finishing a lot of these in Photoshop. Now on to the meat of the final presentation!
^ Though it’s the first, it’s my favorite. No other drawing after gave me to same kick in the chest after completing them; this is where I discovered I could even draw these things, let alone without the use of references. The first character I made in this drawing is the recreation of Balto, near the bottom right corner. It’s not balto full-on, it’s just based off of him. That movie was severely underrated; the animation was so good. And they pretty much found the perfect cast to play the characters voices. After I busted that one out, I just started experimenting, just seeing what I was able to do off of memory, and it didn’t turn out too bad in my opinion.
^ After the first, I realized I was spending too much time for one layout, So I thought I could speed up my wanting to add detail. I created these three the same way: Fast gestures and then a second go-over to touch them up with details. The leg and paw drawings are the only ones I didn’t add detail to. Anything with a face, I have an urge to add detail to, basically. Even though I’m able to draw cats too, I think it’s pretty apparent that I favor drawing canines. I can’t help it, because I’ve always wanted a dog growing up.
And then after this I realized I was still spending too much time on my forms. I then got into creating a few single character jesters… or gestures, rather. Pardon me.
^ After I decided that creating detail in photoshop and illustrator would be the best, The gestures just starting flowing. Some of them are as good or even better than my previous forms, because I was thinking less about final production and more of what forms I wanted to finalize. All of these shown here will be cut and edited, or added to new drawings to make finished pieces. I think this was one of the greatest decisions in pursuing art, because now I will probably be able to create these guys easily, making templates for buyers who might be in the process of making commercials, animated shorts, and maybe even a money-grossing animated movie.
I’d like to thank all design fore media teachers for showing us what can be possible with a daily practiced routine, and I will continue to draw these. It has become more of a hobby than habit!