How to Draw Fantasy Characters





Hi! 🐯

This is my first tutorial! I couldn't contain myself after seeing this month's themes ... Need a little help creating fantasy characters? With this tutorial I can help you think carefully about the character you want to create and its characteristics. Also, I can show you the use of 3D tools in Clip Studio to help you in this process!


❤ Read on to learn about Clip Studio and about mermaids, demons, centaurs, fauns, werewolves ... and how to make your own original characters! ❤


(All the drawings that appear in this tutorial are my own and you can see more on my Instagram!)

The first step: research


First, the most important thing is to determine what creature you want to make. What kind of skills and characteristics do you want me to have? for this it is good to INVESTIGATE what characteristics define the type of creature you have chosen.

Browse different examples to see how other artists, movies, series and games have solved a fantastic creature like the one you want to make. Identify the elements that are used most frequently and are the most representative of that creature; so you can choose which ones are best for your design.


Don't forget to consider the "percentage of humanity" your character has! Some magical creatures often look more human than others, such as elves, angels, and fairies; Others may vary based on the artist's choice, style, and interest, such as vampires and werewolves.

Then, you must ask yourself what characteristics do you want YOUR creatures to have. It is good to balance the characteristics that facilitate recognition of the character's species and abilities, and those that best suit your taste, story, or artistic style.


Half-animal and half-human characters

I prefer characters that have some animal characteristics, even when the body itself does not vary as much from the human. The most popular animal-human mongrel characters can be mermaids, centaurs, and fauns. The fun in these cases is in the combination with different animals! 🧜‍ ♀ ️

When you are thinking about your character's personality and the type of activities they carry out, you can choose the animal that best transmits their behavior. For example, if your character is a ferocious mermaid, you might want it to be half shark ... or maybe a solemn jellyfish mermaid ... Let me show you some examples that I did:



I recommend incorporating animal elements into the human half of the character, to reinforce the link between the two halves, such as ears, horns, fur, etc. 🐎


When drawing a half-animal character, you may find it difficult to combine the proportions of both bodies. I suggest taking the proportions of each half into account and balancing them in a way that goes well with your style and interests. You can see in the image above how I draw them, but you can try different settings to find your own way of drawing this type of character. Mainly for land characters, I usually draw the animal part with a height similar to what it would be if the character were entirely human.

Mixed species and transformation of the characters.


The other type of mixed characters I love are the ones that transform from humans to beasts, or have a more uniform mix of animal characteristics on a human-like basis. The most popular types I can think of are demons and werewolves. When mixing species, always remember to keep in mind the actual animal you are extracting or copying the skills and characteristics from to modify your character's body accordingly. This will bring more precision and realism to your character, making him more credible.



In the case of demons, it is interesting to see such different interpretations, sometimes so close and others so far from the human form. Regardless, you can still consider several commonalities for these characters: horns, red skin, red or yellow eyes, fire, bat wings, tail, claws, goat's hind legs, black clothing, black hair, piercing weapons. The bodies of these creatures often have a broad torso with very strong arms, but less imposing hips and legs than the upper body. If you want it to have bat wings, you may find it helpful to think of them as human arms with very long fingers with a membrane between them. Compare the differences of the body of a demon with a human body, the length of each limb is different.



As an example, I made a bat demon:



A werewolf generally has a broad torso, fur, wolf ears, muzzle, tail, claws and paws, torn clothing, a gesture of anger or pain. Many times the bond with the animal is reinforced through posture and body movements; for example walking or running on all fours, which is possible thanks to the long arms and the length of the instep. I also made an example for these, but you'll see later in this tutorial.



These are some of the most popular fantastic beings I saw as characters, but as the creator you surely are, YOU have the freedom to modify them however you want!

What if the centaur had bird's feet? if instead of a WOLF man they were half TIGER? or half HYENA? What if the mermaid had half of any ocean animal except a fish? This can help you create a character with unique characteristics that make it stand out and differentiate itself from others in its class. Be brave and explore the possibilities!



Hybrids and even weirder mixes


I love human beast characters! I find them very versatile because you can literally combine ANY kind of animal to create a unique character. That is why many of my characters have animal characteristics. To mix beings of different species effectively, research the basic anatomy of each to combine them better.


In the case of combining an animal with a human, it is good to study a bit the comparative anatomy, especially in the details that most identify the chosen animal. An easy way to do this is to count the number of bones or joints in each limb or part. For example, let's see how to combine human hands with animal paws and claws and observe how the number of bones is approximately the same:



But why stop there? Why not mix TWO animals AND one human? Centaurs and fauns usually mix a normal human with a horse and a goat respectively, but I find it more interesting when I mix a human with any other animal. Even when I am drawing mermaids, I enjoy combining a human half with an aquatic animal AND also a terrestrial one.


It is also interesting to directly combine two animals, without the human part. Even if these are more like beasts than characters, this can still add to your construction of the fantasy world.

Go further and create animal mixes to your liking! dragons, demons, centaurs, mermaids ... all of them can be modified and become unique thanks to their creativity.


How to use 3D to create unique fantasy characters


Clip Studio can help you create new body shapes for your characters with the use of 3D models!


If you modify the standard human model to suit the shapes you are looking for for your character, you can have a solid and good perspective basis for drawing that same character in different positions and from different points of view; without losing the structure and proportions of the body. This resource has its limits, as it cannot change absolutely all parts of the model, but it is still very useful especially for the most human characters and to use as a guide for postures and perspective.


Follow these steps to add a 3D model to your canvas:


Let's see the most important buttons to modify the posture of the model:


1) Rotating the camera around the model

2) Camera movement: up, down, left and right.

3) Camera movement: back and forth.

4) Movement model: up, down, left and right.

5) Rotation of the model in all directions.

6) Rotation model: left and right

7) 360 ° rotation model

8) Model movement: forward, backward, left and right, along the floor line.


A) Put the model back on the floor.

B) Save the model's posture as a permanent material.

C) Keep the body shape, modified and everything, as permanent material.

D) Copy body posture from an image (automatic)

E) Lock / unlock the posture of the selected joint or body part.

F) Rotate the model horizontally

G) Restore posture

H) Restore scale

I) Restore rotation

J) Adapt the shape of the model to the parameter you set



To change body shapes, you must modify your measurements. When you press the button (J), the following menu appears:


1) Restore default body shape

2) Save the modified body as permanent material.



Modifications are made by selecting the entire body or just one of the parts of the human silhouette that appears in the menu and moving the white cursor to change the length and width of the part you selected. This cursor works within a Cartesian axis, allowing the combination of the parameters (long and wide arms, or short and wide arms, or long and thin arms, etc.). Below this axis, you can see the numerical coordinates of the modification you made within the axis, in case you need this precise information about those changes.

Next, I will show you how I modified every part of the body to create the base of what could be a fairy 🧚‍ ♀ ️ or an alien 👽 ...



In this way, you can change the standard model to create different bodies for your character, more diverse and interesting; You can also move them to specific poses and use them as a guide for drawing.


To save the modified body as permanent material, follow these steps:


See the model I made for the fairy body alongside the normal model that comes with Clip Studio and compare the difference in proportions between the two bodies. Notice how a different body provides very interesting silhouettes for a character.


Once you have modified the body, change its position by moving the joint and changing the direction of the different body sections. You can select any of these modes by clicking on the parts of the model:


     -One click will show the joints. This allows you to move an entire limb as you move the joint and change its position. For example, if you want your character to lift one arm, if you lift it by pulling the wrist, the whole arm will change position to follow that movement. The joint you are moving will change color and turn yellow when you move it.


      -Two clicks will show the angles of the selected part. This allows you to move each part individually, by rotating or moving them at an angle. For example, with this method you can extend the arm and move the palm of the hand up or down. Use the colored lines to change the position of the selected part! each of them moves that part of the body in a different direction. The line will change color and turn yellow when you move it.

You can save the position of the model regardless of the body shape. This allows you to place any other model in the same position whenever you want.


To save the posture:

How do you transfer that saved pose to a different model? Easy! First, drag the selected model onto the canvas. Then, search the menu for the saved pose by following the steps in the image below, click on that material and drag it onto the model on the canvas. Make sure you are on the model layer and have the model selected (you must have the buttons to move the model visible, like in the image)


You can also change the light source if you need to, like so:


Once you have the perfect model in place, it's time to draw! First, quickly draw the base of the drawing, taking into account the anatomy of the creature you want to make. This time I will draw a werewolf, so I need to change human shapes a bit into wolf shapes. I changed the shape of the head, added a tail, big legs and thicker legs and torso.


(In orange) you can use a vector layer for the lineart, and that will give you better control of your lines later on.

Then I made a second sketch on a different layer, refining the silhouette. I changed the direction of the elbows to better match the movement of a wolf's front paws, also adding a bit of muscle to the shoulder and forearm. I changed the length and thickness of the neck to make it more wolf-like.


Then I did the lineart, refining it even more and adding details like fur, nails, teeth, etc.




Finally, I used the vector layers to regulate the thickness of each stroke AFTER drawing! so I don't need to worry about that while designing the character. The vector layer converts your drawing into vectors, so you can change the thickness of the segments between the nodes one by one, if necessary. Follow the steps below once you have made your drawing to make the lines thicker or thinner. ✏ ️


This is the result! Even if you want to put clothes, armor or something like that on your character, I recommend solving the full body first, so that the armor doesn't get in the way of the basic structure.

And in case you need a couple more examples with different body models:




Special tips for beginners.


🐯 When designing a character, I recommend that you make small sketches trying out many ways to make the same type of character. These little thumbnails can help you gain confidence and variety in your designs. Here is an example for you:


Once you've explored the character, you can choose the features you like best and make a whole new design. Here is the character I made after this drawing process:


 🐯 Try to give your character at least one original feature, more if you are doing a conventional design. Even a little detail like eye color can make your character more memorable!

      🐯 Explore the creatures that other cultures, movies, series and games have invented, this will open your mind to new possibilities

      🐯 Try not to be afraid of failure ... studies, practice and error are the best teachers.

Thanks for reading up to this point! Help me to be useful to this community! please comment on this tutorial ... was it helpful? was it long? too much text? I forgot something?


If you liked my art, you can follow me on Instagram as @barbara_brutti_ilustraciones




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