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So You Want To Design A Wolf Character ... by Droemar So You Want To Design A Wolf Character ... by Droemar
This is what I get for working in my sketchbook and following Youtube suggestions. I cannot stop watching terribly done wolf animation cartoons. God save me, I can't. I don't know what it is about the voice actors doing monotonous reads into crackling, static-filled microphones, the awful intros, the same story premise done over and over and over again, blatant disregard for copyright, clumsy animation, and emotion that is always emo and always overwrought.
It's like crack. Knock-off Ginga Weed Okami Balto crack, but still crack.
I watched one in particular that must have been a total bitch to animate simply because the artist had put so much stuff on the wolves's faces. Jewelry, markings, scars: it was all crammed in there. And it couldn't hide the fact that all of the characters looked exactly the same.
Which, really, is the problem with wolf art in the first place. I dare you to find a bigger walking cliche' than a wolf character. It's bad enough they're inherent Mary Sues for some reason, but 99% of the art with wolves looks exactly the same. It's somehow become inescapable, because all of the resource pools for it are the same. And the flame wars that result are tragically hilarious, mostly because they're born out of sheer ignorance.
The experienced artist, however, knows that wolves are so overdone that you've really gotta go pretty far out there to find something new. It's not impossible; it's just more of an effort than most of the Canis Bardus lovers on DA are willing to do.
So I thought I'd put something together that would help them discover their ignorance.
All art belongs to their respective owners and all that.

... Crap, I forgot Wolf's Rain.

Sitting wolf Lineart belongs to: :iconcunningfox:

First original wolf design belongs to :iconsketchinthoughts:


More examples of awesome silhouette work for wolves: wolfpearl.deviantart.com/art/C…
lundiva.deviantart.com/art/Mod…
starhorse.deviantart.com/art/W…
noukah.deviantart.com/art/Char…
daisy-the-cat.deviantart.com/a…

And for realism/other animals: stormwing93.deviantart.com/art…

EDIT: I have to admit, in the few years since I posted this thing, the large majority of angry comments are from young artists with no grasp of good design, poor rendering skills period, and not nearly enough exposure to the strong principles of art. I'm sorry if you suck at drawing, but if you followed the tutorial and maybe looked at design principles and started incorporating them into your work, you wouldn't suck at drawing so much and I could actually tell the difference between your characters!
Also draw real wolves. That might help.
And for those of you who have been helped by this tutorial: you're awesome. And growing as artists instead of whining about how mean I am.
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:iconpinkykyra:
pinkykyra Featured By Owner Edited Nov 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi Droemar, do you think you could take a gander at my characters to see if they're well designed enough? pinkykyra.deviantart.com/galle…
I still have a few edits to do on some of them but I just wanted your opinion. :)
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2014
Those are really great designs! Bravo for working those silhouettes! I really like the old guy the most, but you really show the age of the the whole pack, youngsters to mature to old.
Very well done, you. I look forward to seeing what you do with them.
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:iconpinkykyra:
pinkykyra Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yay! That's good to hear from such an expert like you! :D im working hard on the story right now, which includes all of them, with a friend of mine.
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:iconashen-griffox:
Ashen-griffox Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think what your trying to say, is have your own unique style rather than copying everyone else until it's impossible to make anything new.
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:iconmoonlightpup:
MoonlightPup Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I draw wolves, but I have only recently grasped the concept of changing their characteristics, designs, etc. I have been working with my TDH novel since I first joined da on my old account Blackash24dude. (Deactivated and moved to Anachylonewolf29 and than moved again to here.) I honestly find this tutorial helpful in certain points. Thank you for creating it, but I am slightly wondering, you don't really think people should really draw their wolves like those you gave as examples do you?
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2014
To increase their grasp and understanding of better design? Abso-fucking-lutely. I would love to see more unique wolf designs. There just aren't enough of them. Too many people copy and imitate and get stuck, and stop growing as artists. If I hadn't seen it happen so much, I wouldn't have made the tutorial.
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:iconmoonlightpup:
MoonlightPup Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I see than.  Thank you for answering my question.^^
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:iconcrystal-gryphon:
Crystal-gryphon Featured By Owner Edited Oct 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Making unique silhouettes  is much more difficult if the artist doesn't use a highly stylized/cartoonish style. I would rather not have characters that look like their spine would snap in half because they're so long and skinny or fall on their face because their head is too big. It just doesn't work very well for more more anatomically correct styles like mine. 

But it is possible to do it. I've started redesigning a lot of my characters, and trying to incorporate the the silhouette rule. It's good for showing a characters personality without having to read a word about them. Up until I was about fifteen I was very unoriginal and all my characters looked the same. :,D

The only example I have now it my character Al, who is a villainous, crazy character.
he has messy fur, sharp angles, a long body and face, and not too much muscle. and he still looks like he could actually exist.
crystal-gryphon.deviantart.com… (this is a rather old reference though, so it isn't too accurate)

And a more friendly, shy character like another of my characters, Sheila, would have more rounded, soft edges, and would probably be a bit small.
 
Your examples don't support your point very well at all. Link is the only example that sort of works for the kind of styles I and many others use, but it's pushing it.
wolfpearl's would have been perfect, but it doesn't work because the characters are various breeds of dogs and hell hounds, not wolves, which have significantly different anatomy.

it would be a good idea to find some examples other than the highly exaggerated, stylized, anatomically incorrect ones! It would help cut down the number of people disagreeing with you and posting angry comments.
Reply
:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014
The fact that the point doesn't split hairs to an individual's own specifications doesn't mean the point isn't valid. I don't care that people get angry and disagree with me, since it's largely a reaction of ignorant young artists who don't want to learn design principles, or to see differently than they already do.
Professional artists design characters by these principles, wolves or not. But a discussion with one of the artists on BBA, who has done design work in other professional areas, makes an excellent point at the end of this thread, both about what necessitates good, streamlined design and what variations in real wolves can look like.
comments.deviantart.com/1/2888…
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:iconfablepaint:
FablePaint Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Never draw a wolf on DA. Everyone's got an opinion. The opinion generally being "you're wrong!!"
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