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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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:iconcrystal-gryphon:
Crystal-gryphon Featured By Owner Edited 6 days ago  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.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner 5 days ago
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!!"
Reply
:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014
Heh, maybe. After all, even Kay Fedewa followed the silhouette rule!
"All wolves are wrong, but some are more wrong than others."
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:iconfablepaint:
FablePaint Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014  Professional Filmographer
We tried towards the end of the first version to push design (some of those later wolves are unique, and the mains themselves got more distinct as time went on). This time around, we can apply our design knowledge from the get-go. We are going for something that reflected the principles of animated film after all.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014
See? See everyone? The professionals themselves endorse the tutorial as "Yes, you should do this!"
Reply
:iconfablepaint:
FablePaint Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Next time someone says "I'm drawing realistic wolves, there's no difference between them" just link them to this image. That's a fat zoo wolf family in winter coats (because apparently the only wolves you're allowed to draw are fat zoo canadian grey wolves in winter coats). And yet, they look distinct from one another.
And if not realistic? As in stylized in the least? Are you drawing them the same for budget reasons? Because that's why anime characters and MLP are interchangeable with different haircuts. Not lack of skill, but lack of funds. Faust herself said she wanted more variation in body types with ponies.
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:iconitraka:
Itraka Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014
This tutorial deserves a dd.
it speaks truth.
DANG PSSSHHH this is my favourite thing ever, but Infind that making each silhouette unique when you have too many characters is quite difficult :'D
Reply
:iconnitroxy:
Nitroxy Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Jesus people! I can't believe that you refuse to acknowledge the fact Droemar is pointing out a fact that can HELP you all! I won't lie, in my eyes, I'm a terrible artist and I haven't updated anything or, hell, I haven't even touched my computer for months!!

Huff...

I appreciate the help Droemar, I don't usually think about those sorts of concepts, but when I went back to look at some of my older drawing and I realize how alike they all looked. I'll focus more on the build and shape of the body of the wolf rather than the markings and color/shading of them. I think it's what has been bugging me for so long about my art.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2014
Hey, if I reach one person, it's worth it. For every 10 screamy comments I get, I get one genuine one. I'm glad it helps you think about seeing differently. That's what the journey of art is all about.
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