Something a little different for this tutorial. We'll be drawing the Loftwing from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I'll be working fairly close to the design art, figuring out how to break down the anatomy and make it easy to draw.
We'll start off with a standing pose, with the wings folded up. For the guides, let's focus on the shape of the head and beak, and the size and placement of the wing.
Start off the line art by drawing the eyebrows. Instead of a solid outline, break it up with some feathery V-shapes. There's a little tuft of feather that goes down over the beak.
Note the small hook at the end of the beak. Another interesting detail is that the line of the mouth curves up and wraps over and around the cheek. A fun little design element there.
The head and neck should form an S-shaped curve. Near the base of the neck there's a strap from the saddle. Make the feathers larger and bushier as you travel toward the body.
For the first part of the wing, make the feathers smaller toward the bone and larger as they start to fan outward.
Here we'll draw the main feathers of the wing. Start with a middle feather, and let that overlap the ones on the side of it. Each feather should overlap another here.
Begin this step with the base of the legs. Draw the top of the legs as short, bushy feathers. The far leg is peaking out from behind the body. For the tail, start with short feathers. Then a row of slightly longer feathers. From there you can draw the long plume using long curves. I made this one extra bushy.
Now draw in the lower legs. Use some small curves to hint at the anatomy around the backwards joints and the wrist/ankle joints. Try to think ahead to where the toes will be when you draw these lines.
Next we'll finish up the feet. Note the different angles of the feet. On the far foot, the toes overlap one another more than the closer foot. We can also go around and add some extra feathery detail now.
Here's the finished line art for the standing Loftwing. Pretty cute, no?
...and some colors for you. This Loftwing is based on Zelda's. Each Loftwing has a unique look, and sometimes the details resemble that of their masters.
Ok, let's try to tackle a Loftwing in flight. To be honest, I find drawing birds to be really difficult, so I'm going to break down the guide lines in three steps. First the head and neck. Then we'll outline the entire body section to make placing the wings easier.
This time we'll also begin with the eyebrow, but let's also go ahead and draw that round cheek. Let's get a little more intricate with our lines here. Lots of overlapping curves help to give the shapes a rounded, three-dimensional feel.
Finishing up the details of the eyebrows, and the top and front hook of the beak. Even though the final bird looks rather pretty and friendly, these details are actually pretty scary and would look good on a dragon or other monster.
Try to add some texture to the outline of the beak, to give it a real-world feel. The feathers should be drawn with rounded V-curves. For the little random patches of feathers, it's good to draw a large feather followed by one or two smaller feathers. Keeping that random pattern makes the feathers seem more natural overall.
Here I want you to focus on the opposing curves of the feathers on the outline of the neck. The back of the neck actually has wrinkles of a sort, to help show some depth. Notice how not all the feathers are going in the same direction.
This is a fun step, but also one of the hardest. You have to figure out where the bones are going to be, and place them into perspective before drawing the feathers. Begin by outlining the "arm" of the wing. Then lay in some basic, larger feathers. Finish it up with some smaller detail feathers.
Unless you're going for a really clean, cartoon look, I suggest breaking up the outline of the feathers to give them some texture.
For the underbelly, we'll use the same technique as on the neck. The difference is that our curves are packed more tightly together, and are a lot flatter and "sharper." It's good to think "sharp" while you're doing this.
Drawing in the legs.
In flight, the toes are often relaxed and will bunch together. Pick out the toe closest to us, and let that overlap the others.
Use mid-sized feathers to build a curve for the tail-plume. The in-game models are a lot smoother than this, but the concept art has a rougher, shaggier look. I think this is a decent blend of the two.
The finished inks. Not too bad, I think.
And here are the final colors. This was a tricky background to figure out. I have the clouds flowing along with the shape of the Loftwing in a sort of upward view. It's not always bad to have a big chunk of negative space in a drawing or painting, but you need to at least hint at something to take up the space. Here it's the tunnel of clouds fading into the top left corner, giving us a sense of space. Anyway, that's it. Hope you guys enjoyed this. It was a challenging drawing, but I think it turned out pretty well. Thanks for viewing!
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