How to Draw and Design Gryphons and Hippogryphs by using photo references of eagles, lions and horses?
Draw everything individually, from multiple angles.
How to draw horses || How I practice anatomy || Gesture drawing
It's like juicing up for a very tasty dream by consuming your favorite genre, characters, settings, etc and hoping your subconscious combines them.
If the final result is your target, and you see your drawing arm as a gun taking aim, then references are your bullets. Fill the chamber with reference unless you want to play roulette.
Your first step in reference gathering is to be specific. Know what you want and stick with it. I searched specifically for African Lion and Gold Eagle. Being specific helps you observe detail more accurately, and it already puts you one step ahead of generic designs.
I'm only going to tackle Lion + Eagle today for simplicity, but you can use this advice to combine two, three, or dozens of animals including horses.
Get your reference, and start practicing. Keep it simple and undetailed, only drawing the essence of the photo, rather than exact position and proportion.
Use action poses to practice! Even though they're more challenging, they will infuse your final result with action as well. Look up things like hunting, fighting, walking, running, landing, etc to get action reference.
Practice most on the creature you're having the hardest time with. That was Lions, for me. I even did a separate page where I studied the structure of their manes, since I wanted that in my griffin design.
Remember: you can trace photos as part of study! This is helpful for correcting proportions and anatomy. Make sure you are tracing mass and bones, not outlines.
Now that you're weapon is loaded with reference, you'll be able to design freehand without copying a photo. This is IDEAL because you won't be slowed down by anatomy. Now what we're here for: Design.
Creature Design Masterpost || Splice Vs Blend
This is going to be yet another visit to Splice vs. Blend technique, so strap in. Here's some guys I drew after I finished studying. No photos needed at this stage because I've eaten them all.
The most common creature design technique is something I call Splicing. You take pieces of animals and graft them onto each other with stitches. Griffins are notorious for this with their bird talons on the front legs and lion paws on the back. That's a creature that was formed through magic, not evolution. This automatically makes your griffin less believable. And probably a bit awkward in the walking department.
So here's a new challenge: Blending. Take bits of each creature and put them in a mixer, letting the ingredients land all over the place and amongst each other. What if we had a lion skull, with an extra-thick bird beak in place of the jaws? What if the lion chin was still there in the form of a tuft of fur? Maybe the tear duct from the lion, and the eyelids of bird? Let's give it lion ears with the furrowed brow so typical of raptors.
It already looks like a new life form, rather than a photoshopped amateur hour of recognizable animals. I could cover it in either feathers or fur and it would still be distinct as a new species. I want the classic lion mane in some form, so I'm taking the shape and turning it into long, fluffy feathers.
Don't stop there! Try identifying what traits make an eagle and eagle, or a lion a lion, and sticking them between each other.
Keep combining! Challenge convention! Add and omit parts and pieces to your heart's content.
Take this practice to all parts of all creatures. Throw new stuff in a blender instead of stitching it together. This especially includes color! You see a lot of spliced markings in novelty griffins, with a specific cat and bird. Artists get stuck on copy-pasting animal patterns because they're afraid the ingredients won't be recognizable, or they're just lost in the sauce of loving tigers they forget to actually have fun with it.
It's still recognizable as tiger and peacock, but much more compelling, wouldn't you say? Go for something unique rather than staying with what feels "safe." There's a million griffin artists out there, but only one You.
Happy Goblin Week!
I’ve been really feeling the need to experiment with materials so I’m going to do these in a mix of water soluble oil pastels and digital oil pastels on top to tidy things up.
Creatuanary Day 16 - Hippocampus
Hippocampus are non-beastial semi-aquatic mammals. they are cetaceans that decidedly went the leg propulsion route over tail propulsion, resembling a sealion in body shape. the bulls are larger than cows, with thicker skin, and they sport a short mane of bristly hair along the back of the neck. Hippocampus are herbivorous, feeding on sea grasses and occasionally supplementing with shellfish or crustaceans. in the world of NVMR most Hippocampus are marine animals and protected under what's called Poseidon's Law due to overhunting in the past - a couple freshwater species are free game however, as their small size and skittishness saved them the same fate, and their numbers remain plentiful. although it's not a good idea to walk up to a Hippocampus - their large size and sharp tusks make them more than adequate at a good mauling - they aren't known to attack people. Kelpie, on the other hand, are known for being open with their prey choices.