Animal Drawings - Feedback Wanted

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Mar 29, 2018
73
Ratings
70
18
23
Lancashire, England
www.tumblr.com
#1
Uh, hello everyone. Just throught I'd introduce myself, even if this forum section isn't exactly the best way. Anyway, having a massive interest in animation and currently doing a course at a university, I thought I'd join here to engage in discussion and perhaps even gets tips and advice, assuming there's members here who are aspiring animators rather than just fans of the medium.

Basically, I was just hoping to get some feedback on some drawings I've done in the past. Now, I'm fairly big on anthropomorphism, whether it's in old Warner Bros. cartoons or Disney films like Zootopia and Robin Hood. I always enjoyed the idea of applying human features to animals, not so much to the extent where their bodies completely resemble humans (but with animal heads), but I think you get the idea. From time to time, I've experimented with this idea with character designs and short film ideas, but the issue is however that I always felt my work always felt somewhat flat and soulless in comparison to others. It's not that I'm a bad drawer by any means, but I always feel like I can do better you know.

To give better insight, here's some of the animal-based characters I've designed, usually by digitally drawing them out from top to bottom. Please, feel free to be as honest as you want with any criticisms you have (even if it comes off as insulting), and tell me what I can improve on or if anything looks off-model.

tumblr_inline_p0y4naoSXN1tcg3ue_540.png
Ferret, otter or weazel (which it looks like most to you), hired thug in some tropical city (hence the Hawaiian shirt).

tumblr_inline_oy94yfcCiY1tcg3ue_540.png
Rabbit (obviously), a stereotypically miserable white-collar worker working in some office.

tumblr_inline_oy957cXXu51tcg3ue_540.png
Lizard, hitman or vigilante, take your pick.

tumblr_inline_oy957jOPlz1tcg3ue_540.png
Crow, ruthless crime-boss.
 

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
24,324
Ratings
2,734 7
113
43
Framingham, MA
#2
I think they look good. Better than mine at least. My only negative note is that the last two could be a little more even, but I only notice that because I have the exact same problem with my comic book.

Great job! Liked.
 

Gatordragon

I'm the anchor, man!
May 14, 2012
10,610
Ratings
3,649 4
113
25
The Land of Flowers
#3
If you have a problem with your drawing feeling flat and soulless, I recommend learning solid drawing. Solid drawing is a principle of animation that gives a drawing weight and volume. It's tricky to learn, but can help make your drawings look less flat. Here's a video on it to give you examples.


Also, using a Line of Action when sketching out a character's pose can also help your poses be less stiff and more interesting.

88571d83969db5b1f64a649140115c9f.jpg

Your drawings are off to a good start, but with these techniques, you can solve your flat and stiff drawing woes. They certainly helped me out when I had the same problem.
 
Mar 29, 2018
73
Ratings
70
18
23
Lancashire, England
www.tumblr.com
#5
Here's a couple of more drawings that I did, this time being sketched however.

This is one I did fairly recently, using the rabbit character from the first post above and a mouse. I took some hints from the Preston Blair book and the stuff that Gatordragon provided, so there's a little more perspective this time around.



And this one I did some time before I posted this thread. I mostly drew this one from the ground up without any roughing out, though it took a heck load of erasing. The ferret/otter character is from the post above, and the alligator is mildly based off the crocodile announcer from Disney's Robin Hood (1973). I also had to censor a word in the ferret's thought bubble, since I'm well aware of rules against harsh language here.



Again, thoughts and honest criticism are more than welcome.
 
Mar 29, 2018
73
Ratings
70
18
23
Lancashire, England
www.tumblr.com
#7
Wow, looking back on these, I think it's fair to say I have improved somewhat. Here's a couple more that a did, a squirrel and a raccoon to be exact. Color is lacking, but I think you'll get the idea. Once again, any feedback or criticism is welcome.

danny-action-pose1.jpg
axel-action-pose1.jpg
 

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Gatordragon

I'm the anchor, man!
May 14, 2012
10,610
Ratings
3,649 4
113
25
The Land of Flowers
#9
Yeah, the improvement is clear. The poses are less symmetrical and the characters have more volume to them. And since you asked for feedback...

I like the facial expressions as well. If you want to challenge yourself, you could try and push your expressions and see how it turns out. For example, I like the wide-eyed angry look of the first guy, but I think narrowing his eyes and furrowing the brow would give him one mean glare. Heck, keeping one eye wide and the other narrow can make him look wild and deranged! Here are some examples to give you an idea.

8beda3e592527e873e502418f4417127.jpg 758fbe6b13b8d34aa9631a11e035e6c7.jpg

The arc of the back also changes the feel and body language of the pose. In the second drawing, the upright position of the torso works well with the arm folded, stern look of the character. It gives off a surly and strict feel to the character. Not much to improve here.

With the aggressive look of the first guy, I think pose can be pushed more to make him look even meaner. By hunching him over somewhat and widening his stance, he can appear more aggressive and ready to fight. On the flip side, arching his back and puffing out his chest can make him look more intimidating, like he's trying to scare somebody and look tough.

Overall, I like your progression. With your willingness to improve your work, embracing experimentation could be fun.
 
Last edited:

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
24,324
Ratings
2,734 7
113
43
Framingham, MA
#10
Yeah, the improvement is clear. The poses are less symmetrical and the characters have more volume to them. And since you asked for feedback...

I like the facial expressions as well. If you want to challenge yourself, you could try and push your expressions and see how it turns out. For example, I like the wide-eyed angry look of the first guy, but I think narrowing his eyes and furrowing the brow would give him one mean glare. Heck, keeping one eye wide and the other narrow can make him look wild and deranged! Here are some examples to give you an idea.

View attachment 204532 View attachment 204542

The arc of the back also changes the feel and body language of the pose. In the second drawing, the upright position of the torso works well with the arm folded, stern look of the character. It gives off a surly and strict feel to the character. Not much to improve here.

With the aggressive look of the first guy, I think pose can be pushed more to make him look even meaner. By hunching him over somewhat and widening his stance, he can appear more aggressive and ready to fight. On the flip side, arching his back and puffing out his chest can make him look more intimidating, like he's trying to scare somebody and look tough.

Overall, I like your progression. With your willingness to improve your work, embracing experimentation could be fun.
These are all great suggestions. I'm pretty good at expressions too but I do not have the professional language skills necessary to explain how to do that to other people. That is your value on this board, Gatordragon. You are invaluable.
 
Mar 29, 2018
73
Ratings
70
18
23
Lancashire, England
www.tumblr.com
#11
Thank you Gator and Fone! I've just started my third year of animation class so I need all the info I can get.

Meanwhile, here's come facial expressions I did of the characters above, while taking into account the picture that Gator posted.

danny-facial-expressions1.jpg
axel-facial-expressions1.jpg
 

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Last edited:

Gatordragon

I'm the anchor, man!
May 14, 2012
10,610
Ratings
3,649 4
113
25
The Land of Flowers
#15
Ah, cool. I have a soft spot for alligators and crocodilians in general. They're one of my favorite things to draw and I've drawn them from cute to scary.

I see that for your gator, you put a lot of emphasis on the eye for expression while the mouth remains relatively static. That's a nice touch, since alligator jaws are also pretty static, being fixed in one heck of a smile. You could be subtle and curl the ends of the mouth into a slight grin or frown to add to the expression. Or you could just throw caution in the wind and have the jaws be as expressive as the eyes.

However, given your gator's tough look, you can also keep the current style of expressions and have it be part of his character. You can get a good mileage out of eye emotions.

P.S.: The little sneer on the gator full body drawing is my favorite of his expressions.
 

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