When I’ve tried drawing animal characters, I never been happy with the results. So my recipes have stayed clear of animals. Here’s how a hen, a reindeer and a family of rabbits have crept in!
Learning new skills
I like to learn about other artists’ approach. It helps me find new ideas I can integrate in my drawings. When I heard about Lynne Chapman’s online class how to create expressive picture book characters, I couldn’t wait to take it.
The class is excellent. It demonstrates how to draw both people and animal characters. Lynne is very enthusiastic and I wanted to draw animal characters right away.
First shot at drawing animal characters
I wanted to draw a seasonal recipe for Christmas and I chose a Mince Pie Cookies recipe. Drawing a reindeer character was tricky. I made lots of pencil sketches before I had a version of Rudolph I was happy with. I didn’t manage to complete the recipe before Christmas. Come January, I abandoned Rudolph and started on a different seasonal recipe.
Brioche des Rois is popular for Epiphany and I couldn’t drawing (and baking) the recipe. I hadn’t planned on any animal characters in this but a chicken crept in. Encouraged by the result I went back to my reindeer illustration and finished it.
A family of rabbits
Keen too keep drawing animal characters, I drew a vegetarian lasagne recipe cooked by a family of rabbits!
What I learned about drawing animal characters
Drawing animal characters isn’t hard. It takes practice though. Here are a five points that helped me get started. They might help you too!
- Look at pictures of the animals. It will help you find distinctive features (i.e. long ears, whiskers. Nose and feet shapes are important too). Make a sketch or two if you like.
- Start simple. Two circles for the head and body and a basic snowman shape is all you need. Once you have the basic shape, build the features you singled out in your research.
- Use the eyebrows and mouth shapes to express feelings and mood. The facial expressions will help you tell the story.
- Use accessories to bring you characters to life. Notice the neckerchief on the reindeer and the bow and clothing on the rabbits.
- Practice, practice and practice.