How to Draw Raptors
This tutorial is aimed to teach how to draw an accurate dromaeosaur, the family of theropods often called raptors, using a Velociraptor as example. The tut is divided in two parts. The first part is a basic explanation of what is and what is not a dromaeosaur: the difference between the movies/pop culture blood thirsty beasts, and the real animal (or at least an aproximation). The second part is a step-by-step to draw your own Velociraptor in a dynamic pose. Again, I simplified enough so everyone can do it easily, omiting certain details that you only can achieve by study and understanding the anatomy of the animal. Ask me if you have any doubt. Hope you like it!!....
Small graphic representing the main differences between an accurate Velociraptor and the Jurassic Park one. The latter is the most popular, yet ficticious.
Start drawing a circle for the head, and two elipses: the bigger fot the torse, the smaller for the hips. Between the head and the torso, there is the neck, slightly 'S' shaped. Chaining the upper part of the torso and the hips, there is the spine, that extends to form the tail. In this view, the tail may look very short, but it is just a perspective issue.
At the hips are attached the legs: a stick represents the femur, a circle the knee, another stick for the lower leg, a circle for the ankle, and some sticks as guidelines for the feet (metatarsals+digits). Remember that Velociraptor walked in two fingers (III and IIV). The first finger was a smal dewclaw that didn't touch the ground, and the second (digit II) was armed with the big claw, used as main weapon.
Now we know two important things: the arms were on the sides on the body, not hanging in front of it; and that they couldn't pronate the hands (that means the palms faced each other). The structure of the arms is similar to the wings of the birds. The first circle is the 'shoulder' joint, the stick represents the humerus bone, then another stick, then another circle (wrist), then the fingers.
Just add the curves that will form the mouth and the 'base skeleton' is done.
Time to put some skin on it! Start with the long head, pay attention because it is a very distinctive shape. You can draw the jaws closed, which will facilitate the job. The same with the arms: follow the guide, equiping the sticks with flesh. (Don't mark hard the muscles, you will not see them later). Be sure to draw the claws (bird feet are a good reference).
Neck, chest, torso, hips, tail. Follow the guide lines, adding some flesh atound the spine, and smoothing the transitions.
To finish the 'naked' version of the body, draw the legs. Again, the guide lines will give you an idea of where should the muscles be.
It is time to add the integument... let's take a break from drawing, to learn some basics about the feather arrangement in the wings (arms). As you may know, some (lots of) dinosaurs had the body covered by feathers. Dromaeosaurs were very very close to birds in this issue. It may look difficult, but it is not! Golden rule: primaries attached to the second finger (digit II). Take a minute to study and understand the graphic i made.
At the moment, the amount and lenght of feathers is uncertain in this species in particular, so don't worry if your drawing differs slightly from this ;) Draw the Secondaries, and some coverts on the humerus. Add scapulars if you want, too.
Primaries: from the wrist and all alonf the second finger.
Add the fuzz that covers the rest of the body. These feathers are different from the ones of the wings, they are most probably protofeathers, and look more like fur (aproximate example: kiwi bird). Let naked the snout, the hand fingers and the feet.
We are almost done, all you have to do is finish the lineart:complete re-drawing those naked zones, add details as teeth. (notice that I didn't draw the division between the claw/finger, and I didn't draw the eyes. This is because I'll directly paint those zones. You can do it, though).
*Base paint. If you are working with pencils, you can directly move to the step 15. *Color: from reddish-brown to blue-greyish, and black and white. Probably used as camouflage (desertic environment). Definitely no green, orange, pink, or bright yellow. (Primitive feathers lacked of the pigments needed for those colors). *Pay attention to the eye, it is very easy to do and it gives the sense of being live. Note: the pupils were, almost certainly, rounded.
Texture: body feathers can be achieved by doing short hard strokes, darkening the color. Scales are simply small circles in a darker tone.
Shadows! They will give volume to the body. Tip: the zones hidden from the sun light are darker. Of course you can cheat a little to make it look sharper ;)
Background, ground shadow, whatever you want. If you are patient, you can do anything. If you have any question or need more references for other positions, just ask me. Hope you like it!
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