Terrouge E-zine Archives
How to Draw . . . er . . . Redwallers
Now, if you're reading this, you probably want to either A: learn to draw Redwall-type beasties, as it were, or B: get a good laugh out of some half-brained hack trying to clumsily convey a message about art to the sceptical throngs. Well, I don't know about the latter, but I'll see what I can do about the former. Let's start with the basics, shall we?
Well, one thing that all creatures, when being drawn, have in common, is basic body/head structure. Regardless of whether it's a long-bodied weasel, or a chunky little hedgehog, they all have a head, a neck, shoulders, abdomen, legs and tail. Most "furry" artists prefer to strip down the skeletal structure to one simple body shape, sometimes lengthening or thickening it as needed. If that's the way you want to work, just take a look at the above images, and go no further. Both can be used for any animal under the sun, and all you'd have the change are the head and tail. Convenient, eh? But let me walk you through the steps, first.
Step Number One: The Head. There may be some dispute at this juncture, but I'm the one who's writing this tutorial, so what I say goes, kay? Generally, you want to start with the head. It gives you a good point from which to map the rest of the body, and since the head conveys quite a lot of the emotion in a character(plus, of course, a hedgehog with no head would look funny, unless it was lying on the ground in some brutal battle scene), it's also the most important part. It contains the brain, after all.
Step Number Two: The Shoulders And Neck. Next, the shoulders and hips, or little horizontal lines, which sort of mark out where the body's supposed to be. Don't worry if you automatically place the hips too low, or the shoulders too high. This is only rough mapping, remember. The neck, which could almost be interpreted as a ruff, should go smoothly from the back of the head, right to the ends of the shoulders.
Step Number Three: The Spine. Well, I just know I'm going to be slammed by at least one person for putting the spine in step number three, but this is how I draw. The spine is when you really begin to work on the position and emotion dictated by this character.
Step Number Four: The Arms And Ribs. Okay, after the spine, putting in the arms is a great idea. Simply use little stick-lines with knobs at the joints. Next, use simple, curving lines for the back and chest, which should both end just a bit above the hips. Notice that males tend to have lower waists than females, and that females do not, under any circumstances, have breasts. We're not talking furry, here, folks. We're talking Redwall.
Step Number Five: The Legs. The legs are simply the easiest part of the body, once you get the hand of them. As with humans, they begin at the hip and curve down into thighs, and from there, they become the hard, bony legs of animals, complete with hock and paw. Female legs tend to start high, curve out into wide hips, and sweep to the ground.
Step Number Six: The Tail. Whoops. Did I say the legs are the easiest body part? Silly me, I was wrong. It's the tail. For drawing tails, follow this simple pattern, and I guarantee a perfect tail every time: Butt-Tail-Ground. Got that? Now, repeat it eighty times until it's irrevocably wedged in your brain. That's better.
Now, for the details:
Right, I've provided here one creature from each of the major Redwall families: canids, mustelids, and rodents, each of which can be altered pretty easily from otter to weasel, and fox to wolf, and so on. We'll start with the otter, shall we?
Otters, as illustrated, have small heads, and thick necks that blend easily into their long bodies. Their legs are short, with long webbed toes, and their tails are long, flat, and rudderlike. Their heads are quite flat with large, blunt muzzles, and often look larger than they are, due to the fact that they're pretty much impossible to discern from the neck. In keeping with the overall appearance of an otter, it's important to use long lines for a more streamlined effect. Sea otters are pretty much the same, save that their heads are blockier, with a rounder muzzle, and they tend to be brawnier with shorter tails.
Next comes, of course, the fox.
Foxes tend to be sleek, limber creatures, with puffed-out chests, long legs, and bushy tails. The skeletal opposite of otters, foxes usually have sharper angles, slanted, predatory eyes, and a way of moving that suggests an "I'm just waiting for my chance to kick you in the back and run away" sort of attitude. With your fox, try to maintain a leggy, athletic sort of look.
Meese! Everybody loves meese! Except for the ones who don't, of course. Anyway...
Mice, like most rodents, have large heads, light forequarters, and large hindquarters. Not exactly the most fashionable of body shapes when it comes to human models, but darn handy for scuttling around and leaping up and down, which you might very well do if you happen to be a rodent. The same goes for having large eyes and even larger ears, to help you with your night-time raids on the cupboard.Squirrels, rats and hares(yes, I know hares aren't technically rodents, but this is my tutorial, and what I say goes, 'member?) generally differ in the length of the leg, the ears, and, of course, the tail. And in the case of rats, naturally, they just look meaner.
Well, that's it. I do hope you have fun drawing up a frenzy with your characters. Remember, don't use up too much printer paper, or mom'll have your ears!
This is Liz Doyle, Special Correspondent, signing off.