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Applying Human Anatomy to a Furry Character

Re: Applying Human Anatomy to a Furry Character (Updated May 01 – legs and spine)

Something that gets mentioned on nearly every critique on this board is proportions and anatomy. It’s not enough to just say that it’s “your style” or that it doesn’t matter because you’re drawing a furry. Human anatomy can very easily be applied to nearly any sort of fantasy creature, because at the core of it, the fantasy creature is just a stylised human.

I cannot stress guidelines and skeletal undersketches heavily enough. Especially when you’re just starting out. Circles and cylinders are the shapes you’ll want to draw the most, and then refine the shapes later on.

For the face, you’re going to want to divide it into quarters. They don’t have to be perfect, but you want them to be near as possible to being all the same size.

Now, with the furry form, you do have a little bit more wiggle room, but I very strongly suggest learning how to do human AND animal proportions before trying to do too much stylising either way. I’m just doing a general sort of critter here, because we’re not focusing on getting the head shaped correctly for any particular species right now. That’s something totally different and best learned by drawing from photographs of that species.

In this case, we’re applying human anatomy to a furry, so keep that in mind as we progress.

It’s sometimes hard to tell, because of angles and the pesky version of hair, but the eyes should be in the centre of the vertical axis. Right there in the middle, dividing the head into two “equal” parts. That’s the horizontal line in the middle of the face.

There are very specific rules to how everything is spaced on the face. The bottom of the nose should line up with the top of the jaw. It can be as wide as narrow as you like, but try to keep it within reason.

The eyes (on that centre line) will be spaced as far apart as the widest part of the nose (typically the nostrils).

The ears have three different points that you need to line up, typically. You’ve got the top bit where it connects to the head, which more or less lines up with the eyes.

Then you’ve got the top of the ear itself, which lines up more or less with the eyebrows.

Last, you’ve got the bit at the bottom where the ear connects to the head (not the hanging lobe part, since that’s actually an issue of recessive genes, and they’re all sorts of complicated). This bit lines up with the top of the jaw/bottom of the nose.

With furries, this is the bit that you have all sorts of wiggle room with. I like to set my ears rather a bit lower than they should be, to give the characters a more human-like appearance, by both having them line up somewhat-similarly, and they also help make the brow appear higher.

By setting the ears higher on the head, you get a more animal-like appearance, and it makes the brow appear lower, with a more extreme slope (sort of line an animal’s).

Last, you have the mouth. This is typically centred between the bottom of the nose and the tip of the chin, but you can fiddle with this a little bit. Centring it is an example of “ideal proportions.”

The mouth should also extend to about the middle of the person’s eyes. Again, there’s a small amount of room to play with here, but not a whole lot. Make it too wide or too narrow, and your character will look more alien than anything.

So, there we go. That’s applying a human facial structure to a furry’s. With the furry, you are of course able to play around a bit more, and exaggerate features, but by knowing how a human face is put together, it will make it easier to play around with the features and have it look good.

(If y’all like this, I can do a bit more with body types and stuff.)

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