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artist Archives - Krister Eide Art

Drawing Animals from Life

By Animals, Children's book illustration, Drawing, Illustration, Reference No Comments

roo-head-shotroo-krister-yardI’ve had a week off before heading into the new quarter and Concept Illustration. I know a lot of animal artists talk about visiting the zoo to draw animals from life, but the zoo has its limitations – including the fact the animals are usually pretty far away. Yesterday I went to a Kangaroo farm and had a chance to hold a baby kangaroo and get close to a variety of animals I don’t normally see.

roo-grooming llamaBesides kangaroos, there were lemurs, emus, donkeys, alpacas, Patagonian Cavies, and more. Plenty to see. It was neat to see the differences between animals and their different temperaments.

how-to-train-animator-gurneyI had heard that Disney and Pixar animators work with live animals to capture their gestures and expressions.

Ralph Eggleston of Pixar said he watched a lot of National Geographic videos to get the correct shivers of birds for his For the Birds video (below). He also videotaped his bird for a few hours and he and his team studied its movements. The team also brought in Cornish game hens to study volume and weight.

I mostly took reference video and I’m going to practice sketching animals from different perspectives. I’ve heard it’s better trying to sketch from a looping video than relying on still photos alone…I can see why. James Gurney shared his tip about sketching a pony from life. He chose the time to draw it when he knew it would be sleeping.

Dinotopia Artist James Gurney, Photo References, and Maquette Magic

By Children's book illustration, Illustration, Technique No Comments

James Gurney has a great blog, Gurney Journey james-gurney-2with great resources for how he learns to paint imaginary characters with life-like weighting, color, and balance. He uses references photos extensively to help him figure out feel the emotions of the characters in his pictures.

From Riding a Pterosaur: James-Gurney-Reference

“The idea is to get into the spirit of the action, feel the wind in your face and hear the screech of the pterosaur.

I think that’s more important than getting a photographically real piece of reference to copy. If you can identify with the weight and balance of things, and especially the emotion, you’ve got 90% of the problem solved.”

[youtube=http://youtu.be/u6VozAf1vpc]

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