Add any wings to your character made simple!




Hello everyone! In this guide, I am going to teach you how to add any type of wings to your character and how to make the best out of them!

We all know how cool wings can be. They give a lot of personality to the character and make a good focus point for them or even just a nice accessory.

Because of that, we will try to use them to our advantage, to match their personality or disrupt it. Since it is such a powerful element, it will give our character a symbolic meaning, making our wing decision very important.

To begin with, you have to know that even though we have elements that can make your wings more believable, we will be working with a fantasy feature that does not exist in the real world. This means we will never be 100% accurate.

Take my advice and have fun with the knowledge you acquire here.

An average adult human male would theoretically need 6.7 wingspan meters (22ft) to be able to fly like a bird. Even with that, we would probably not have the strength to use them.

Section 1: Basics

In this section, we will briefly go through the basic characteristics and anatomy of birds' wings in a way that we can adapt them directly to our drawings.

Birds carry many different types of wings, adapted to their lifestyle and environment. Use this knowledge to your advantage to provide them with a lot of meaning!

For example:
- Vulture or eagle wings are made to soar high from the ground.
- Seagull wings are made to soar for long periods of time following the wind currents.
- Crow or parrot wings are made to make maneuvers around obstacles like trees.
- Duck wings let them fly really fast for extended periods of time to migrate 3000km or more.

Some of you might be aware of this already, but human arms' structure is really similar to the one in the wings. We can use that to our advantage by using this simple trick below.

As you can see, just by bending the human arm anatomy, we have a highly approximate birdlike limb that we could easily reproduce to understand what is beneath the wings of our characters.

Even though I will not make this guide about an accurate study of the anatomy subject, having some basic knowledge will play to our advantage when you start drawing them.

As you can see in the previous diagram, we can divide the bird wings into seven basic parts. Besides that, we can simplify those into two basic variables regarding the type of feathers we need to draw. Depending if they are in our primary or secondary zone of the wing and also if they are closer to our limb (up) or further from it (down).

If you wish to grant your characters great wing traits, I recommend you to study accurately the most suitable wings to your needs so you understand how the animals use them. Their wings' advantages and weaknesses will transfer directly to the character itself!

Section 2: Best wing spots!

Anchoring your wings to a logical spot will help you make them more believable.

I will propose three usual spots that confine strong logic after them. Take into consideration that these are only suggestions because we are still working with a fantasy element. Do not fear to make other combinations to make your characters shine with their own light.

The vertebrae and the rib cage are a really solid spot, but the area to anchor them can be a bit small if we try to make it work logically. Smaller wings could work better on this spot for that reason.

The scapula is a bone that is connected to your collar bone and your arm. It is a strong structural spot but also a moving one, meaning that depending on the position of the arms, the wings attached to it should be in different positions too.

The Pelvis is a large solid bone below our waist that focuses several body actions, such as leg or spine movement. Anchoring the wings in this spot is the less logical combination but it has been vastly used in the past, so I have to mention it in this guide.

Try to find other spots to attach your wings. Do not let this theory suppress your imagination!

Section 3: Types of wings

Angel wings are a lot like bird ones, so do not hesitate to apply all the knowledge to make them as special as possible.

You can apply the bone structure I have presented to you in the first section to help you understand how they behave.

Demon and dragon wings can be exchangeable in most cases but, for me, I like to keep dragon ones with thicker and longer bones to carry bigger creatures. For demons, I like them slimmer and more elegant.

The bones that exit from the knot part, which would be the hand in the case of the birds' wings, should be considered as really long fingers, being the spike that goes up from the knot the thumb of that hand.

Keep in mind that this types of wings comes from bats and besides the way the skin attaches to the wing described before is a stylization. In nature, these types of wings attach to the body as shown below.

They are commonly used for fairies but insects could make a whole guide themselves. There is a great amount of variability in the insect world, making a lot of room to explore. Also carrying the wings of a specific insect can give them some of their skills or some hidden meaning about the specific insect you are introducing.

Be sure to analyze closely how to make the most out of them and they will add so much value to your designs.

Having all this said, I can only suggest you to listen to your inner self. Take everything you have learned here, or only the parts that you are interested in, and experiment with them. That will make flourish the wings that carry your characters along the way.

See you soon in a later guide!



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