How to Paint Realistic Animals
Updated: 02 May 2018
Key Factors in Painting Animals
Animal painting is a complex subject that includes all the characteristics of painting in a realistic style.
When it comes to a group of animals as part of the background, there are a few topics to take into consideration:
- Accuracy in the anatomical structure.
- Linear perspective: The size of the animals should be precise, depending on their location in the background.
- Atmospheric perspective: The animals should blend in the landscape according to their distance from the observer.
- Light source: The animals should be illuminated and shaded correctly including cast shadows in the right direction.
When dealing with an animal as the main subject of a painting, the painting can be regarded as a portrait:
- Every animal of the same species has unique features and facial structure.
- Camouflage stripes or texture marks will also be unique to each animal.
- Facial expression, body language and even the "personality" of the animal should be captured.
How to Draw Animals on a Large Canvas
There are two problems in painting on a large canvas:
- The whole painting cannot be seen, unless backing up from it.
- The large canvas will hide the reference object or image.
One solution is to draw a grid.
When using an image as reference, the image and the painting canvas can be divided into several rectangles.
Using a grid means creating several small paintings, making it easier to be precise in the initial drawing stage.
When painting the background, it is recommended not to paint on the pencil drawing. Also, not to leave spaces between the pencil drawing and the background.
How to Draw a Grid
The center of a reference image is the point where the two diagonals meet.
When the position of the midpoint is known, a horizontal line and a vertical line can be drawn in order to divide the image into four rectangles.
Each rectangle can be divided repeatedly for a large and complex image.
Creating a grid on a canvas is done in the same way.
Now it is possible to draw inside each rectangle separately. Consequently, the drawing process becomes easier.
Now the canvas is ready to be painted with oil paints.