Shaping cute creatures 🐤

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Introduction 📢

Hello, I am Lepus Nix and I am here to share a tip that will help you imagine and draw cute creatures easily.

At the end of this tutorial, giving life to your own creature should be an easy task.

⇰ Check the video and/or the written tip below ⭐

1- Finding references 🌐

It’s one of the first basic steps to any creative work. When looking for references, it is important to have a rough Idea of the creature we want to make. It can be based on an animal, an insect, an element or even an object.

1- Is it flying, walking, swimming or all of those,
2- Is it a domesticated, a wild or an intelligent creature ?
3- What 3 traits could define its behavior or abilities ? For example: Is it a night creature? Is it a carnivore ? What abilities allow him to protect himself from predators or to find food ?

💡 It can be fun to go deeper when building your idea.

Those questions answered, find pictures that fit your idea. For each subject that you are willing to use as reference, try to find pictures showing every part of its body in different positions.

A few good sites to find royalty free pictures are Pexels.com and Unsplash.com.

Some materials can also be found on the Clip Studio Asset store like the 3D models for animals made by this creator.

2- Sketching shapes 🔺

Breaking the references into shapes will help understanding how the various parts of the references work together. It also helps when drawing the creature in positions that are hard to reference.

A cute creature generally makes the viewers feel like they want to pet or hug it. Any size is ok as long as that feeling is present but as a reference, 3 heads is the most commonly used proportion.

Remember that you can do anything you want with the royalty free images from the sites mentioned earlier.

Playing with the shapes can also improve the design, swap them or change their size as you see fit. Shape language is an important part of character design, basically,
➫ a round shape makes the character soft or harmless,
➫ a square shape makes it solid or sturdy,
➫ and a triangle shape makes it sharp or edgy.

The goal is to Improve the design, using shapes until we achieve a clear silhouette.

💡 Usually, a round shape conveys a warm and welcoming aura and it is commonly used when depicting cute creatures.

3- Refining the Idea ⭐

Once the basic Idea is there, there are a few ways to refine the idea by improving on the parts that we think make it cute and defining a clear color palette.

In general, the part that attracts people the most is placed on the face but the tail, the paws, the horns or any other parts, can be the cute focus too if given the spotlight.

➫ The eyes for example, by taking roughly ⅗ of the face or more, can subjugate the viewers. That technique usually works for a more common deformed style.
➫ Another technique would be to dress the creature in full or partial clothes. Wearing a hat or a bandana can improve its cuteness.
➫ Defining an action pose or making the creature interact with an object or the background can also help. The shot has to put forth its cute part.
➫ Showing their emotions, like making them angry, sad or shocked can make the viewer sympathize with the characters.

💡 It is important to choose the base colors carefully. A clear palette should be easily understood by anyone and enjoyable to the viewers.

💡 Too many colors and/or too many accessories can confuse the viewer. I can only recommend it if you can control the focus on the creature.

4- Finishing the illustration 🖼️

Depending on the style used for making the illustration, the final result might be more detailed or more realistic than my examples and it's totally fine.

This halloween illustration depicts 3 friends on the hunt for candies with an unexpected guest.
➫The first character is a plant creature who can dig holes to squeeze himself into the ground to feed from its energy.
➫The second creature is a cursed undying firewood who befriended a fire spirit. They now share one mind.
➫Finally a cat being taken away by a ghost as he was hiding from his owner.

This one is a tropical bird casually eating an apple.

Thank you, and congratulations, on reading this far. I hope this will help you design and illustrate the cutest creature ever.

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