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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:……………

And for realism/other animals:…

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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MoonaChan Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The thing I'm thinking is, the whole silhouette thing doesn't exactly... well I dont want to say it doesnt matter but idk.
that may be more in a "drawing style" category. think of it this way- if the characters became real, living wolves, what would silhouette do? you still may not tell them apart, unless they have manes or objects or whatever. they wouldn't change proportion, they'd all be the same. yeah idk
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014
Considering the large majority of people who comment on this thing saying "Yeah, silhouette, idk, it's not everything!" are largely artists who don't even have strong drawings skills yet, or are even at the stage of having a grasp of good design vs. bad, I don't think ignorance is allowed to be bliss. People get pissed at me for saying they should know something they don't know, and they think they know better despite not knowing!
When you are capable of drawing good wolves period, and then want to make unique characters with strong designs, then come back and comment.
flowermint Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Jesus fucking christ
not everyone is going to have perfect fucking art, okay?
everyone improves, and you saying people are not capable of drawing wolves period, you sound like a total fucking asshole.

the art people have isn't going to be perfect, and quite frankly, yours isn't eithers
mine isn't at all
but seriously, you sound like a total fucking douche by saying people need to have good art to comment on here
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014
They don't need good art to comment. Just good art to make intelligent comments.
There are plenty of people on DA capable of drawing wolves. This tutorial will help those people get to the next level of character design. Most of the angry comments I get on this is from people who can't even render basically.
When you get to that point, you can start looking into design principles. But first, focus on drawing from life.
MoonaChan Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ok well first of all i wasnt trying to be rude or pissy and I'm terribly sorry if it came off that way

I know i dont have strong drawing skills, but I'm just slightly confused. I can see where it comes in, but I'm not sure what it has to do with like, actual designs, like colors and everything. I'm not really saying I know better because I really don't think I know better than anyone. I'm just slightly confused with the design part.
Hentala Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  New member Hobbyist General Artist
Okay, originality goes its own way, but well, I do not see the necessarity of mutating, modificating wolf anatomy and proportions in order to create interesting character. I agree that just recoloring the overused lineart is not good, but shape is not all of the character. In fact, colours and personality of the character matters too [I won't discuss accesories but I don't think they should be something defining the character. After all, accesory could be taken away or changed anytime, they are not a part of design itself...] I guess it was already told, but even though pretty similiar in shapes, the characters from the headshot shadow part, drawn in semi-realistic cartoon style, are more appealing for my eye, and I would rather watch them than... [Warning, personal opinions ahead!]

This weird overly-muscled husky-thingy - the first under "what can I do" section - It does not look like a wolf. It doesn't. really. More like some dog. And it just... i don't know. There is just something off with it's anatomy that do not appeal to my tastes.

The second one. Well, not that bad. Not exactly in my taste, this thick neck and so much mane, but it's okay. But I still can Bet that someone would yell - this is not a wolf, wolves doesn't have mane... [not that I would agree with someone saying that, design does not have to look 100% like wolves in reality...] 

The third - first I thought: A hipogriff? Maybe because of the pelt. But still, does it have feathers?  Still, there is an anatomy sheet in the background of this image and it looks like some fantasy beast rather than a wolf [seriously, what is it with these huge shoulders... I bet it's theme giving these guys this savage appearance]

Next examples:
Wurr one - well, this is wurr, these are not wolves, but hellhounds - these were meant to be mutated and disfigured canines, not wolves.

Next one - maned wolf, I guess. This is just a specific style which does not bother with being realistic.

Next one: We see very muscly one, very fat one, very skinny one, another skinny one, and cute pups. All in cartoony style. And I honestly like these characters and like the style they are drawn in. But would it make them being not the same characters if someone drew them in other style, or realistic style? I bet they could still be recognized, even if cross-styled.

Okay, next. These wolves and foxes. Why do I get the feeling that these were just meant to look a bit caricatured? It's fun to draw caricatures, designing them, but I don't know aything of these charas aside of their funny look. And I would not use something looking like this for comic or roleplay unless it would be humor or parody-oriented

The last wolf one - As said above. Humorous caricatural drawing style is fine. But it's just not my style

The hyena/realistic one - this rescues the case, I would say... finally something that proves one do not have to draw caricatures/ heavily cartoony anatomy to make characters different from each other. Subtle anatomy details are enoug. Even though, I wouldn't tell them apart by the mere silhouette if they were posed in a way which does not feature their differences that much. I just wonder why there aren't any examples of semi realistic wolves being different from each other the way these hyenas are? just the cartoony/caricature examples?

Because I'm honestly tired of "searching for proper tutorials for drawing good canine designs" Making me bounce from tutorials that say: "Additional fur there and there and unrealistic proportions means this character shouldn't be called a wolf anylonger, wolves looks like this and this" and "This anatomy is bad, wolves are not that thin/fat/tall/short etc."
"Tail is too long/short/fluffy/big/small"  "It looks like coyote/fox/whatever not like a wolf" to the tutorials like this and all "because it is soo unoriginal, do this other way" "don't draw in [insert movie/cartoon/anime/artist/comic name here] style, it is so overrated!" stuff.

I'm tired of it. And I will base myself on whichever style I want, and I will neither fully follow realistic canon, nor over-exaggerated cartoon proportions. I'll just draw things the way I think is esthetic for me. And I do not care if someone have characters which look very similar. If anything, I will more readily read about their characters and see artwork with them, because I'm familiar with certain style. I do not have to block out the art and styles in my comfort zone because it's unoriginal and it's "right thing for artist  to always try something new and chase originality." I do art for fun, not for artistic prestige.

Sorry for this little rant, but I just wanted to state my opinion. You may agree or not, I just feel this way
I'm not sure why, but I feel really offended by this.

Honestly I'm just going to try and forget it ever saw it and decided to read it in the first place.
HaphaxCorvid Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The same would apply to a fantasy species I'd imagine, it's just difficult making something new when it involves an "overused" Creature (Dragons, wolves/canines and felines.) The least anyone can do though is try. I'm not sure about my species as they are based on canines and dog breeds; but I suppose their silhouette stands out from a normal canine or someone else's species ('square/angled' hindquarters as opposed to round, longer proportions, the crest at the back of the head *shrugs*). The topic can be likened to looking for a watermark. You want a strong and recognizable form. When I read your 'tut', I turn my gaze to the line-art users-Some definitely fit everything you're saying. Users that solely rely on line-art don't do much as far as external design. I agree, every character should not look like a clone. Every individual has variation that affect silhouette. I think design should come before style at some points. That's the route I'm going.
Chynbek Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student General Artist
Itrakat Featured By Owner May 13, 2014  Student General Artist
This tutorial is the greatest tutorial of all time
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