How to Create Realistic Creatures pt 1: Quadrupedal Herbivore template

Ever since I started drawing as a little kid, drawing animals always interested me more than anything else; so, I thought I’d write a post on how to draw them better. Fair warning, however: This is NOT a step-by-step on how to draw certain creatures. I’m just giving guidelines that can be applied to many, many different animals of your own making. Also, since there are quite a few categories of animal, I’ll give you a few different creature “templates” to follow. If you take these techniques and loosely stick to them, you should be able to design a near-infinite amount of creatures to your liking. I’m going to show you a few different templates: the quadrupedal herbivore, semi-quadrupedal creature, quadrupedal predator, bipedal herbivore, bipedal carnivore, aerial, and underwater.

So, on to our first example, the quadrupedal herbivore. I’ll use a rhino, an antelope, and a rabbit.



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As you might notice, I drew these animals’ outlines in blue and added a simple skeleton in pencil. I did this to emphasize the importance of keeping a skeleton in mind when designing your creature. Because, especially in the case of creature design, the skeleton is everything! When you look at the rhinoceros, you can tell that the skeleton is thicker and more heavily built than, say, the antelope. This applies to your own creatures, so be careful when designing your creatures; for instance, if you’re making a gigantic creature, it’s going to need a thick, heavy skeleton to support him and avoid giving him long, spindly legs (however, there might be a few instances where that would be correct; you do what you think will make sense)

The quadrupedal herbivore, obviously has four legs, and eats plants. However, this template has quite a few other tricks for you to master. joel-herzog-100769-unsplash.jpgFor now, let’s start with a heavier version of this template. (the rhino) a rhino is a thick-skinned and short-legged; these are all attributes of a creature that is close to the ground and tough. The thick skin serves both as pseudo-armor, and as protection from the hot Savannah sun. Their short, stubby legs are to support the rhino’s immense weight; the average rhino weighs up to 8,000 pounds! Their small eyes are also an easy characteristic to add to a large/heavy creature to add to the sense of its size. However, despite its large size and heavy build, it can charge you at an amazing speed of 0-31 mph in seconds, using its thick horn to either gore through you or toss you aside; if its horn doesn’t get you, it can still easily trample you into the ground with its large feet. So, when designing a creature similar to this heavy quadruped, be sure to make the skeleton thick, the body thicker, and to intensify the perspective of its size, make the eyes smaller in proportion to the rest of its head.

Now, for the lighter version: the antelope! Antelopes have a much thinner skeleton than the rhino, because there’s much less body for it to support. simon-greenwood-368447-unsplash.jpgAlso, the antelope is more streamlined and has smaller feet than the rhinoceros. The antelope is so spry and streamlined to help it get away from predators. So, when you’re following this template, be sure not to make the legs too thick or thin. (a set of legs can only be so thin) A good ruled of thumb is that the more animal the legs need, the thicker legs you’ll need.

So, I hope you have a good time designing your creatures, so keep creating!


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