Fantasy Races: Tips of Drawing Garuda & Kinnara




If you watched Lord of the Ring, read Tolkien’s Middle Earth, you’ll realize that fantasy races doesn’t have to be entirely new design of character that you never see before. It can be well-known mythological or biblical creatures just like Elves in Middle Earth, it was originally taking reference from Ljósálfar (High Elf) from Norse Mythology. Elves became common race in fantasy themed universe because they’re given new concept, new story, and modified design form the original myth.


Because of that I want to use Kinnaras and Garudas as example for designing your own fantasy races based on existed mythological creature. ...or maybe you can even make it into science fiction like this!

Introduction of Garuda & Kinnara

Garuda and Kinnara both are bird-like zoomorphic/anthropomorphic deities originated from Indian Mythology. They are also known in Southeast Asia and East Asia. In Buddhism belief, they are two of Eight Legion/Eight Deva Guardians (Antasena), Tribes of deities that protect the Dharma. While in Southeast Asian they also known as races that inhabit in Himavanta Forest. Both can have similar and various appearances in each cultures, but usually they’ll be differ in task and personalities.

Garuda is known as King of Bird, often described as heroic and wrathful. Garuda in most manuscript often pronounced as he/his, especially because he is mostly referred as single specific character who is a son of Kashapa and Vinata. Though Garuda also known as a race, but there are no any single mention of female Garuda and also no explanation that Garuda is male-only race. Garuda also doesn’t seem having gendered version if his name as many sanskrit name like Apsara(♂) - Apsari(♀), Naga(♂) - Nagini(♀), Kinnara(♂) - Kinnari(♀) etc, we can only assume that Garuda is masculine name due to he/him pronoun.


While Kinnara often described as celestial musician, sometimes identified as fairies. Female Kinnara (Kinnari) are more widely known in most of region especially in Southeast Asia. Male kinnaras are recognized, but apparently they also appeared in androgynous look, even in the Sanskrit language, the name Kinnara contains a question mark (Sanskrit : किन्नर?) i.e. is this man? So we probably can assume that Kinnaras and Kinnaris generally have androgynous or feminine trait.

The Anatomy

Garuda and Kinnara/is have too various appearance in each cultural depiction. So Here I made list of the appearance of Garuda and Kinnara that you can use.


These one are Garuda

And these one is Kinnara/kinnaris

Though they have various appearances, but most depictions have same pattern; they combine bird and human anatomy. Because of that, understanding the bird and human anatomy will be needed

But let’s not to try creating overly accurate anatomy because it might look bizarre-

3D Model Assets

If you hardly able to draw bird anatomy, you can use 3D material as guide. Here for example you can download this material.

So you just need to drag the downloaded asset from material, then move it into the pose you need.

Then make new layer to trace the 3D model, and you can even modify it as you want.

For the wings, there are already so many good tutorials of how to draw it. Here is my favorite tutorial

But again, ClipStudio Paint Assets also already provide some helpful materials If you still troubled in learning this complicated wing anatomy, here the material I bought

Or if you prefer free material, you can search from here

Here is the example how I use the 3D material for Kinnari’s wing.

Watercolor Style

For the style I use, actually I don’t really have much thing to be shared. Some of the techniques already shared on previous tips I made

But here a single technique I can share, using watercolor textures and layer mask. There also a lot of good textures in Clip Studio Assets or you can search of free texture on google (be careful of copyrighted images! Make sure that the texture you use is free for commercial or you buy it from respected owner).

This also another example


So that’s it. Sorry if the tips not quite perfect but I hope it still helpful.



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