|Animals are like people. Or should we say people are like animals? Their skeletons differ chiefly in proportion. They walk differently and they act. . . well, you tell me!
Draw a human being walking on all fours. Show head, neck, spinal column, shoulders, upper and lower arm, elbow, wrist, hand, hips, upper and lower limbs, knee, ankle, heel, foot.
Now draw the skeleton of a dog. You will have to extend the spinal column for the tail, shorten upper and lower arm, as compared to the human, lengthen the distances from ankle or heel to foot, and from wrist to hand. Keep in mind that in walking animals do not put their feet on the ground in the same way people
do. Compare human and animal.
Draw skeletons of other animals and compare with the human skeleton on all fours. Add flesh forms, and later the fur. "Dry brush" is a good method to use for representing fur. Dip your brush in ink, then dry it on a blotter. Allow a little of the ink to remain. Spread the brush flat and let the brush ends slowly pass over the paper. Practice until you get the dry brush effect.
The similarity on an emotional level between' people and animals makes interesting source material for the cartoonist. He can crack endless jokes on the subject. Without being too personal he can ridicule both man and beast. He can exaggerate to his heart's content - elongate necks, ears, legs, enlarge eyes to the bursting point. He can make animal grotesques. He can make coy, captivating, lovable animals.
Choose the animal you want to represent. Refer to your "morgue" for a realistic likeness. Make a simple sketch of the animal as he naturally is. Take careful note of comparative proportions of body parts-head, neck, ears, legs, etc. You will exaggerate more effectively if you know how it really should be. Memorize the structure of the particular animal you are doing.
Now decide on the pose you want your animal to take. Draw a "rough" of a human being in this position. Don't stop with your first attempt. Keep making it better. If it's the sort of pose a human being wouldn't normally take - couldn't take, draw it anyway. That's your artistic or cartoonist's license. Distort all you
like, change body proportions, but in this basic drawing keep the creature human. You'll probably have to rely pretty heavily on your imagination at this point. You may not be able to pose for yourself in the mirror. But you can feel the pose, however unreal it may be.
When you are satisfied with the "human" sketch, draw the major characteristics of the animal, right over your rough human sketch. Distort and exaggerate again if you wish - but keep your animal in character.
Continue to Cartoon personality sketches