How to Create Anthropomorphic Fantasy Creatures by Jared Hodges and Lindsay Cibos

Rating 9.0/10
This one goes into more depth with various animals you can turn into composite people.

By Jared Hodges and Lindsay Cibos

In anime and manga there are many kinds of men and women drawn as half animal characters called furries. These are fun to create and draw, and people have been drawing them since the Egyptians and each character has its own separate personality to go with it. With the help of this book, readers will be able to draw basic anatomy, characters, poses, and settings. With scalies, furries and characters from myth, you won't be bored with each furry in here.

Before you get started, there are some words to get used to reading about; biped, quadruped, etc. and their meanings as they are important when you are creating each of these creatures as they have a different body structure. It would also be a good idea to gets some reference material to hand of various animals you would be comfortable drawing. The reason for this is that it is better for most artists to gather photographs, pictures from magazines and newspapers as there is a chapter is about Furry Hybridization where you look at using a reference animal and a picture of a human and your first lesson will be to bring the two together in many ways to look like a composite creature and human. The main issue is making them look right as you include the ears, tail, hands, feet and claws. Lindsay and Jared use a lynx as their example, and include the spots on the fur body, and to bring out the characters trendy side, they include a top and a pair of shorts.

There isn't anyone around who would pass-up the chance of drawing different characters and although there is an anthropomorphic dolphin in the entire book that doesn't have its own how-to exercise (it should really!) Jared and Lindsay have step-by-step character creations of a Korean Jindo dog, fox, frog, iguana, snake, dragon, wolf, raccoon, kirin, kitsune, tiger, kangaroo, bear and otter. For readers, one of the most exciting aspects of this book will be the chapter on Facial Expressions and Body Language as they will make your furries come alive on the page. It is astonishing how a tweak of an eyebrow or eye, or the way a mouth opens can make all the difference. Here you learn how to manipulate the character who can go from cheerful to provoked, forlorn and incredulous. Jared and Lindsay give a step-by-step guide to creating character's expressions that go far to making them look convincing. Starting with neutral, you can move into suspicious, regretful, distressed and threatened as they are much harder to draw. The Body Language chapter is also an invaluable look at creating not just facial expressions, but the character's posture.

Being able to "communicate a character's mood and demeanour nonverbally through their pose" is one of the best ways of starting you on your journey to creating a scene where there are two or more characters in it. Not all the work in here is step-by-step sketches. There are some beautiful pieces of colour artwork that serve as examples of what happens when you compose your sketches and start to colour it in as a finished piece. Picnic for One by Kacey Miyagami is an endearing image where a raccoon girl is starting to tuck into a piece of savoury tart. The expression on her face is one of utter enjoyment. Serpent Versus Saurian by Nimvrais depicts a cobra woman and a triceratops male fighting - they are both psyched-up and in mid air ready to strike. Quiescent by Kristen Plescow is a rather dark piece where a kirin is letting a dragonfly land on her hand. The light at the right side of the glade gives the character a sense of privacy in the darkness with the kirin perched near the river, and swimming carp.

The last chapter concentrates on ideas of you composing a scene with three or four people in an enclosed setting. The point is you will have learned so much from the beginning, you will be good enough to broaden your horizons as an artist from using this book. This book has the best in artwork for those who want to draw furries in a standard comic style or a manga style as there are chapters on pandas, kitsune and kirin from Chinese myth. The authors have successfully created a book for furry fans to enjoy and work out some of their favourite creatures.

Jared and Lindsay originally brought us Draw Furries, the first in this series, and this one goes into more depth with various animals you can turn into composite people. They are an artistic duo who specializes in illustration and sequential art. They have previously created several graphic novels such as Peach Fuzz, and they have done several how-to books for IMPACTs art tutorial series. Having won the 2009 Ursa Major Award for Best Other Literary Work, their newest novel series is The Last of the Polar Bears for those who can't get enough of their art.

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