Great Online Artists and Tutorials

Recommended sites that I’ve found while surfing the Web:

Do you ever run across web pages that are so interesting and fun, you just have to tell people about them? That’s what this page is for – I think these pages are just too wonderful to pass up:

Digital images of bugs – taken with a very powerful lens

Beautiful paintings of ancient creatures
Good ideas for your next dragon?

Amazing wildlife photography by Hal Brindley

Find out where you’d end up if you dug straight down through the Earth.
Think you’d end up in China? Think again. (Check out the map, and then spring this question on your teacher. I’ll bet she gets it wrong.)

Hunkin’s Experiments
Cool cartoons that will have you experimenting with food, light, sound, clothes, and a whole lot more!! Hundreds of cartoon experiments from cartoonist, broadcaster and engineer Tim Hunkin.

www.wwwcomcom.com
Wonderfully weird art by Japanes artist Naoto Hattori.

Tasmanian-Tiger.com
This site is dedicated to The Tasmanian Tiger or Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial once common throughout Australia and Papua New Guinea. This animal is believed to have been hunted to extinction by the early European settlers of Tasmania, its last stronghold. However, the sightings of the Tasmanian Tiger are reported occasionally, and it may still be in existence.

Home-Sweet-Mexico.com. For those who want to work, live, or retire in Mexico.
This site provides free information on cultural differences, cost of living, health care, safety, conscientious travel, expatriate lifestyle in Mexico, and much more. You can also download your own copy of Mexico: The Trick is Living Here Second Edition. A unique, practical, and humorous guide to ease your transition when you work, live, or retire in Mexico.

Bored.com
When you have nothing better to do…

More Cool Art Sites

Anyone who has any interest in unicorns must see www.narwhal.org. According to this site, the economic need to find buyers for the tusks may have been the reason why unicorns don’t have rhino horns sticking out of their heads! Check out the site and see some real narwhal tusks up close – and read more about the origins of the unicorn myth.

If you’re a teacher or parent, this site on drawing development in kids is a wonderful resource. See how a child’s drawing naturally progresses from simple scribbles to naturalistic. Kids, you should note that between ages 14 and 16 the authors say that “Natural development will cease unless a conscious decision is made to improve drawing skills.” So that means that drawing may be natural, but true skill takes time and commitment to develop. For inspiration to get your creative juices going, there’s nothing better than looking at great art.

Check out the wonderful, quirky paintings by Kyle M Stone, the whimsical illustrations by Carla Pott, and the amazingly realistic paintings by Russian artist Stanislav Plutenko. Jackie Morris has some interesting dragon paintings, and Julie Paschkis has some very enticing paintings and posters.

I also found a free watercolor painting tutorial site – and here’s some more…

Two Free Drawing Books to Download

Download the drawing lessons in a printable pdf file by right-clicking on the link below. Then save the file to your desktop:

Drawing Lessons from Drawfluffy.com

– which includes the drawing lessons for all the magical Harry Potter animals on this site. It’s a convenient way to print out the lessons and practice your art.

You may also download:

84 pages of Illustrations from
A Book of Natural History

This ebook contains the beautiful paintings and drawings of wildlife from this 1902 reference manual. The printable illustrations including frogs, manatees, horses, bugs – and more. An excellent reference guide for anyone who loves to draw animals.

How to Draw a Unicorn

The Unicorn of mythology was originally a much smaller creature than a horse, and was related to the goat or deer.

She was a very secretive woodland creature, and her horn could cure humans who had been poisoned. She had the tail of a lion. In mythology she was associated with purity and truth.

According to a 12th century Latin Bestiary, there were actually two types of unicorn – one “solid-footed”, like a horse or donkey, and the other “cloven-footed”, like a deer.

Now, let’s learn how to draw a magical unicorn!

Just for fun, I think we’ll draw a deer-like Unicorn, with the body and head of the beautiful impala from Africa, adding the lion’s tail, and borrowing the horn from the narwhal. (Actually, the narwhal has a tusk, not a horn, but we’re still going to borrow it!) If you prefer the horse-like sort of unicorn, like the one who’s portrait is on the Introduction page, you will probably want to surf the web for pictures of Arabian horses.

I was unable to find a picture of a narwhal tusk that I could use for this eBook, but you can see them if you go to a website that actually sells them, at http://www.arcticartsales.com/galleryV.html.

Supposedly, in ancient times sailors brought back the narwhal tusks and sold them to wealthy Europeans as horns from the Unicorn, thereby greatly increasing their price. What we don’t know is if the idea of the Unicorn came from the narwhal tusks, or whether the sailors just used an old myth for their profit. Either way, it makes an interesting story.

Since a lion’s tail looks like a rope with a hunk of fur on the end, we can make that part up.

A Unicorn, like a horse, is a fairly difficult animal to draw. The shapes are not covered in feathers or heavy fur, so we need to pay a lot of attention to the actual lines of the legs, and keep the proportions right.

I started by drawing a fat tube for the body, then adding the legs and a curving tube for the neck. I have drawn a grid on the ground so that I’ll get the feet in the right place.

The impala’s face is slightly dished, like an Arabian horse. She also has nice chubby cheeks. The face is always a very important part of a drawing of any animal, so we should spend a lot of time getting it the way we want it. And most of the expression is in the eyes.

If you looked at the narwhal tusks, you know that the Unicorn’s horn has a beautiful twist (much like the impala’s horns, without the curve). Real deer have horns that come from bumps on the tops of their heads, just like their cousin the cow. But the Unicorn is usually thought to have a horn coming from it’s forehead.

Now we concentrate on drawing the curves of the body and legs. Pay special attention to how each part relates to the other parts, and how they are proportioned. Remember, it isn’t cheating to measure things.

Just for fun, I borrowed the mane from a zebra. I think it gives our Unicorn a nice punk look, don’t you? She’s almost finished now, except that the impala lives on grassland, but our Unicorn lives in the woods. So I think I’ll sketch in some trees behind her, but leave the Unicorn white, so she stands out.

I won’t put much detail into the trees, just sketching in a suggestion of them.

Wouldn’t my drawing be pretty if I had some colored pencils? You might want to using some color in your drawing.

And here she is.

For those of you who like the idea of using a horse for a unicorn model instead, here’s another unicorn drawing – this one is modeled after a prize Arabian stallion.

How to Draw the Boa Constrictor from Harry Potter

Snakes may not seem like magical animals because they are seen so often in the real world, but people from Australia to the Middle East have been imagining magical powers in this animals for thousands of years.

This critter also plays a huge part in the Judeo-Christian Creation Story, one of the oldest stories there is. And he gets to take a little nip at Dudley, before his escape to Brazil, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. So for at least three thousand years the Snake (or Serpent as he is sometimes called), has been featured in our imaginative tales of wonder and magic.

Now let’s learn to draw this magical animal!

First, let’s do some research for our drawing of a Boa Constrictor:

Go to http://www.google.com and click on the “image” tab. Then type “boa constrictor” in the search box (without the quotes) and hit the search button. (A lot of the Boa Constrictor images seem to come from websites originating in Germany – I wonder if Germans like snakes as pets more than people in other countries?)

I thought it would be fun to play with the arrangement of my snake – but I didn’t have a real one here in my apartment to use as a model in different poses. So I found an extension cord that I’m not using at the moment, and wrapped it around a broom handle – playing with the loops until I found an arrangement that I liked. The result was a sketch that looks like this:

I didn’t need to draw the plugs, of course, but I did, just for fun.

I didn’t want the arrangement to be too complicated, but even with just a few loops, it’s getting hard to see which loops go in front of which other loops.

Practice making a sketch of an electrical cord, a piece of rope, or some other long item that you can drape over a stick to get the look you want for your snake. (The fatter the model, the better. My cord was too skinny, so I’m going to have to use my imagination to make it look like a giant Boa Constrictor). This sketch is just going to be for help with the final drawing, so don’t feel it has to look good. Just play with all the ways you can loop your “snake.”

Try to keep your model in the same place because you’ll need it later (my cat played with my “snake,” but that’s OK).

Here’s an important idea: your sketch does not need to look like mine. You can make your snake be slithering over a rock, sleeping in a pile… it’s your drawing, after all.

Here’s the first sketch I’ve made using my drawing of the electrical cord as a model. I’ve made the loops fatter, but when I look at a picture of a real snake, I can see that there are some things I need to do to make it look more like a snake, and less like a worm or a noodle.

First, a real snake is fatter in his body, and gets skinny towards his neck. (Do snakes have necks?) Second, I think it would be more fun if I let the tail dangle out of the picture, so the viewer will have to guess how long it is. (How long is a Boa Constrictor, anyway? You’ll find out if you look up a Boa Constrictor website at Google.com).

You will notice that I have drawn through the folds to make sure that they will connect up with each other. I’ve also drawn circles at the top of the loops to remind me that our snake has volume. We don’t want a flat snake, do we?

This is the way my sketch looks like now. I’ve used a photograph I found at http://www.boa-constrictor.de/index.html to help me draw the head. Now I need to continue filling in the shadows, put more detail in the face, and add the beautiful markings. I’m using my electrical cord to help me see where the shadows should go – I’ve put it next to a window so there is strong light coming in from one side. Notice how there is a thin line of light on the underside of each loop, where the light is being reflected back into the shadow.

Ta Da! We have a Boa Constrictor, just waiting to take a “playful” nip at Dudley, or offer an apple to Eve.

Just a quick note on a question that plagues all artists – when is a drawing done? I can’t count the times I’ve worked on a drawing too long, and ruined it. It’s something that all artists do sometimes. So, I guess the answer is – when it feels done, and not a second later. Don’t worry, you’ll ruin some drawings too. No big deal, right? That’s the spirit!

If you’d like to know how people other than J. K. Rowling have described snakes in magical and mythical tales, you can see some of these ideas on this snake mythology site.

How to Draw Scabbers, the Rat from Harry Potter

Rats aren’t usually considered magical creatures.

They are the subject of nightmares for many people, and have a central role in the very non-magical book 1984 by George Orwell. They also star in some of the world’s greatest disasters, by bringing the plague-infested fleas from Asia to Europe by catching rides on ships. They also steal thousands of tons of wheat and other food from human storehouses, and can be deadly in crowded slums.

And yet they are favorite pets for many people, and are often used in research laboratories.

But there is one magical rat, who plays a large role in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter® Books. Which goes to show you that the human imagination can turn any animal into a magical creature!

Ron’s rat, Scabbers, is a ratty-looking rat who seems to sleep a lot, at least until we find out who he really is!. If we wanted to, we could show him sleeping. However, I liked the scene that introduces us to Scabbers, on the train to Hogwarts. You’ll remember that Malfoy came into the car with his friends Crabbe and Goyle, and after a few insults they tried to start a fight with Ron and Harry Potter. Scabbers put an instant stop to it by biting into Goyle’s finger – and he wouldn’t let go!.

(Our model’s name is “Madge.” The photo is included here courtesy of her owners at the Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley).

Scabbers

You have a model for Goyle’s hand that’s always willing to pose – it’s stuck on the end of your arm. When you’re making your first sketch of your hand, make sure to leave enough room on the paper for the rat. And don’t try to take a short cut and simply draw around your hand – it won’t look very good if you do.

Now we have to imagine what Scabbers would look like if he was being violently waved around in the air, with his little rat teeth sunk into Goyle’s finger. The very best way to do that is to imagine ourselves being swung around in the air, holding on to a giant hand with our teeth. I know you don’t look anything like a rat, but you have a backbone, and arms, and elbows, and knees, just like rats do. And they all bend in the same directions. If you don’t believe me, look up “skeletons” in Google.com, and make some comparisons between us two-legged critters and the skeletons of dogs, cats, or rats.

When I imagined myself swinging around in the air, I felt myself bending in the middle, and my arms went out to the side. I also felt my hands opening up, just like Goyle’s hand is in the sketch.

So now we start making our sketch of Scabbers in midair. I first drew an oval where his head will go, then drew a curving line for his backbone, and on down to the tip of his tail. Then I added an oval where his rib cage would go, and put in the skeleton lines for his legs and arms (OK, “front legs” – but rats do seem to have hands).

I used my scanner to reverse the direction of Madge’s head so I would have a better model for the front end of my picture.

You can see that I moved the right front leg because I thought it was a better composition this way. I gave the tail more of a swirl. I’ve put two sharp little rodent teeth into Goyle’s finger. And I’ve erased most of the skeleton and drawn the outline in nice curving lines. Now we just add a small amount of shading (we need to keep the shadows consistent with the hand we’ve already drawn, remember).

Madge is a pretty, fancy-colored rat, but Scabbers is just an ordinary rat. J. K. Rowling describes him simply as fat, and gray. We can use a dull pencil to shade Scabbers, remembering to follow the direction of his fur with our strokes, and remembering that his tail and lower legs are naked.

And there we have him! If you want to get fancy, you could draw in a train window behind Goyle and Scabbers. Or you could make Scabbers look a little mangier, and a little fatter, and a lot older. Remember to keep your finished drawing, and to sign it!

How to Draw Hedwig, Harry Potter’s Snowy Owl

Owls have played an important role in mythology, often as creatures bringing news to humans. News of death, usually.

Because they are very good hunters, and almost always hunt at night, they have been connected with all things dark and scary.

In fact, many people still shiver when they hear the hooting of an owl!

A much nicer, and friendlier, news-bringing owl is Hedwig, one of the mail owls in the Harry Potter® Books by J. K. Rowling. This is a very good example of using an ancient story, and building it into something completely new!

Now let’s learn how to draw a magical owl like Hedwig!

The first time we meet Hedwig is when Hagrid buys her from the Eeylops Owl Emporium for Harry Potter’s tenth birthday present. Hedwig is a Snowy Owl, which is entirely different from a Barn Owl or a Hoot Owl or any other sort of owl. And owls are very particular on that point.

I checked for sites on Google.com (using the tips that you’ll find in the Serpent chapter), and found out that Snowy owls live in the Arctic. They are white with black spots in the winter, and brown in the summer.

bird cagesPutting Hedwig in a bird cage will pose some interesting challenges. I found a picture of a very nice brass bird cage.

You can see that if we put all those lines in front of our owl, she would get totally lost. So we need to practice making some sketches of bird cages that have more room between the bars. If we practice drawing the cage before we draw our owl, we will be less apt to ruin our drawing.

The hard part about the birdcage is the ovals at the bottom and around the middle of the cage. A circle seen from the side becomes an oval, and it will change from skinny to fat, depending on where our eyes are, in relation to the circle.

To see what I mean. Go get a glass from your kitchen, and put it on the table in front of you. Look at the oval shape at the top, around the rim of the glass. Then slowly raise the glass to eye level, and watch it get fatter again. If these shapes are not drawn this way, with the fatter oval on the bottom and the thinner one in the middle of the cage, the cage sill not appear to have any volume. Flat.

By looking at the photo at the top of the page, we can see that our owl’s head is almost, but not quite, round. Her eyes are a little above the center line – and spaced quite far apart.

On my sketch I also drew a vertical line through the face and all the way to the bottom, because it helped me to put the feet far enough back. My first sketch had the legs directly under the head, which didn’t look right. Making grids is a very good way of putting things where they belong.


Now that we have a rough sketch, we can erase our extra lines and rough in the shadows. We shouldn’t draw very darkly, because we will need to erase any part of the owl that falls behind the bars in our cage.

Now for the scary part – we have to draw the cage over our nice owl. We have our practice sketch of the cage to help us. We will draw the lines very lightly, and make sure none of them cross over the eyes or beak on the owl, because that wouldn’t look good.

We’re almost done now. We just need to make the shadows more pronounced, and add the Snowy Owl’s spots. We could also decorate the bottom of her cage, if we wanted to. This time, I think I’ll leave it plain, but a Wizard’s owl might have a fancier cage than this. Celtic runes might be nice, or hieroglyphics from ancient Egypt. I’ll bet we could find some nice ones if we searched on the Internet.

I think Hedwig would be happy with her portrait, don’t you?

Be sure to do some research about owls and their place in the World of Magic on the Internet, and in your library. One excellent book that shows the historic role owls have played in the world of humans (although it is a dark, and somewhat scary book, meant for adults), is Sherman Alexie’s Indian Killer. If you’re old enough, I highly recommend this book.

It’s been a long time since I read Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, but it seems like he mentioned superstitions with owls, as well. (Even if he didn’t, it’s a great read!)

I hope you’ll do some research to find other species of owls to draw too. Each one of has interesting features that will look beautiful in your drawings.

How to Draw a Griffin

The Griffin (also spelled griffon or gryphon) is a magical animal that comes equipped with the hind end of a lion and the front end of an eagle.

This would cause the beast some probl ems, I’m sure, because, if you’ve ever eaten a chicken and seen it’s bones, you know that the legs on a bird are his hind legs. His wings are the equivalent of our arms.

Therefore, the Gryphon has two sets of hind legs, which would make anyone a little grouchy. The picture at the top is from Alice in Wonderland. His “elbow,” just under his tired beak, is really the heel on a bird (they walk on their toes) so, as a picture, it works (because the artist left the knees out!) The limb appears to bend in the right direction, and the animal is believable. As a real animal it would be a bit awkward, wouldn’t it?

Now, let’s learn how to draw a magical gryphon!

People have been making up animals out of various parts for thousands of years. One of the most recent conglomerations is Buckbeak, the Hippogryph from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. J. K. Rowling used the front end of an eagle and the back end of a horse. I like to think of Buckbeak as a descendant of a marriage between Pegasus and a Roc. But that’s another story…

The idea of a hippogryph is not really Ms. Rowling’s idea, of course. Like almost all of the magical animals from the Harry Potter books, the hippogryph is taken from ancient mythology. Buckbeak, according to the ancients, had a gryphon for a father, and a horse for a mother. If you would like to draw Buckbeak, you can use these instructions, but substitute the lioness’ back end with the back end of a horse.

One difficult thing about drawing an animal that is made up of parts of different animals is finding models that are situated in similar poses. You want your back end going in the same direction as your front end, after all.

We also need to figure out how to stick on the extra limbs – one main characteristic of real animals (at least the ones with backbones) is that we all have four limbs, be they arms, legs, or wings. Six is not part of the normal plan. But we need to make it look believable!

I found photos we can use that are close, but you may want to do some surfing on the web, using the research method mentioned in the chapter on the Serpent, to find pictures that you like better.

The eagle showing off his wings is a Golden Eagle, the great head shot up above is an eagle from Australia called a Wedge Tailed Eagle. You might like the head down below better, but I thought the Wedge Tailed Eagle was quite elegant.

We’ll use the chest from the Bald Eagle, and the Lioness will loan us her rear end. Whew!

To start off this very complicated drawing, you might want to do a little more Internet surfing and look at some sites with drawings of Gryphons. People spell the word in a lot of creative ways, so be sure to search for griffin and griffon, too.

At first I thought that it would be easiest to get all the parts to work together if we draw the front and back half of our Gryphon on separate sheets of paper and then put the eagle half over the lion half, moving them around ’till we get something that looks reasonable. But I soon discovered that it is easiest to make the critter look real if the body, including front legs, of the lioness is sketched in first. I then used the basic sketch to change the front legs into eagle parts, and added the wings.

Now we have a very rough drawing of an animal that seems to have all the parts in the right place. I will use this drawing under a clean sheet of paper, and begin to put in the details. I will pay special attention to the eyes, and have a lot of fun with the feathers. Since all the lion parts are behind the eagle parts in the drawing, we won’t have to work at getting the feathers to turn into fur.

You’ll notice that eagles and hawks have a ridge over their eyes that acts like a built-in baseball cap, keeping the sun out of their eyes. They hunt by sight (they can see about three times as well as we can!) and the bony ridge protects their eyes. It also gives them a somewhat sinister look.

In addition, they have an upturn to the beak that makes it look like they’re smiling, in an evil sort of way. These qualities are great for adding character to our Gryphon.

OK, now it’s your turn! Build yourself a Gryphon using your own imagination. Or mix and match other animal’s parts, like J. K. Rowling did with Buckbeak. (I’ve been told that my griffin should have ears – if you agree, be sure to add ears to your drawing.)

How to Draw a Werewolf

The Werewolf has been scaring the socks off people for thousands of years.

But what exactly is the difference between a Werewolf and a regular wolf?

They look exactly the same, which means we don’t have to mix and match animal parts for the Werewolf, the way we do for the Dragon, Unicorn and Gryphon. The difference is in their magic – a Werewolf is really a human in the form of a wolf.

Modern movies have given people the idea that werewolves really looked like people, with some wolf-like feature. However, when people really believed that this creature was real, he was a human in wolf form – you couldn’t tell wolves and humans apart.

The belief in Werewolves has had some rather important consequences in many human communities.

Back then, if my sheep are killed by a wolf, and if I don’t like my neighbor, I might believe that my neighbor killed my sheep while disguised as a Werewolf. People could clearly see wolves carrying off their sheep, but they really believed that shape-shifting was possible, and that werewolves were real.

People in Europe were tried, and hanged, for “crimes” like this, back when the belief in magic was still very strong. There are some fascinating stories about Werewolves at http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/werewolf.html#contents.

You can also read about a program that is trying to increase the wolf population of Europe at http://www.large-carnivores-lcie.org/wolf.htm. This site has some beautiful photos of wolves that you should definitely see.

Now, let’s learn how to draw a magical werewolf!

To draw our Werewolf, we can use the photo on this page all by itself, or we can combine it with the snarl we are going to use for the Three-Headed Dog, at http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~creatfx/dogsnarl.htm. We do need to make the picture rather dark, because Werewolves hunt at night, when they’re scarier. If you decide to use the snarling dog picture, remember that only wimpy canines close their eyes when they’re angry – we’ll need to leave our Werewolf’s eyes open.

(The best way to use a photo from a website is to open the URL, and after the picture is loaded onto your screen, go off-line while leaving the browser open. That way, you won’t have to keep your phone line busy if you are using a modem).

Wolves, dogs, cats and humans all have eyes that can be drawn on a line through the middle of the head. It is a good idea to lightly draw this line, no matter how often you have drawn animals before. We tend to draw the eyes too high on the head, which looks funny.

First we draw in a large tube-shaped form for the body, with the larger end in front. Then add on the legs and head. In the photo at the beginning of the chapter, the wolf’s hind legs get lost in the dark. This helps to show that it’s night, so I’ve made my drawing that way too.

Now we concentrate on the face and the snarl. We’ll leave the color patterns of the fur for later.

Changing the expression on your Werewolf is very challenging, especially if you choose, as I did, to use the head of the wolf at the beginning of this chapter for your model.

It would be easier to use the body of the wolf, and the head of the snarling dog, because the two heads are in different positions. If you decide to do it that way, your drawing may come out better than mine.

Now for the fun part of adding fur and color patterns. Remember to always make your pencil strokes go in the same direction that the fur is lying on the animal. If you don’t, your finished drawing will look weird. And remember that wolves don’t get a bath very often, so you can make him a little ragged if you want to.

If you look closely, you’ll see that I’ve changed the ears, since much of the expression of a canine is in the ears. I think he looks fiercer now. I’ve emphasized the eyebrows, and added a tail. I’ve also changed the length of one of the front legs. And I’ve roughed up the fur on his back, since dogs do this when they’re angry. And I’ve lowered the eyes – even with the line drawn in I had put the eyes too high on the head. See the difference between this drawing and the first drawing of the head?

You’ll want to keep changing your own drawings, too, during the creation process. When something seems out of proportion or just a little strange, you might try turning your drawing upside down. This often helps us to see things that are out of place.

I have decided that I want my Werewolf in a forest setting, with dark evergreens behind him. And I might put just one branch in front of him ,since he will be even more frightening if he seems to be coming out from behind something. These trees are seen in the daylight, so I’ll have to put in just a suggestion of their form in the darkness.

Ooh, I wouldn’t want to be Little Red Riding Hood when she ran into this guy on the trail. (Oh, wrong story…)

When making a drawing that needs to be dark like this one, it’s hard to do it with a number 2 pencil. For this purpose I use a pencil from the art store, called a Sanford Design Ebony Jet Black, extra smooth. They are not expensive, so you might want to take a trip to your local art store and look at the pencil display.

You might want to play with your own Werewolf drawing and try to see how to make him appear to be morphing from his human form. And if you have a German Shepherd at home, you might ask him nicely to pose for you – they make great wolves!

How to Draw a Dragon from the Harry Potter Books

Dragon pictures have been drawn and painted for thousands of years.

In fact, there have been reported sightings of dragons from all parts of the world from ancient times, and the dragon pictures you see in books were often used to record these sightings (they didn’t have cameras way back then)

When we look at these ancient dragon pictures, we can see that dragons are obviously related to lizards -and the European species also has wings like a bat.

Now, let’s draw our own dragon picture!

Step one, finding photos to use for models

While doing the research for this page I learned that the original idea for dragons probably came from dinosaur bones. Dinosaurs were giant lizards, and the thought of living in a world that included them must have been a little scary.

But that doesn’t explain the wings, does it? Maybe pterodactyl bones?

Magical creatures often have parts or combinations of parts that never appear in the real world. Sure, sometimes a creature, (or even a human), is born with a mix-up in the general plan. We then get an extra arm, or an extra head or two – or something gets left out. But it takes true magic, (or a good imagination), to create a creature with parts from two different, unrelated species.

I love the idea of a dragon living in a house, like Hagar’s dragons do, so I’ve decided to draw our most recently famous dragon, Norbert, from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. If you’re a big fan of the book, you’ll see that my dragon doesn’t look anything like the dragon from the movie, and doesn’t have a ridge down his back, like J. K. Rowling described him. But he is in a house, which was the fun part for me.

I’ve decided to use three different animals as models for my dragon drawing. The slinky thing up at the top of this page is actually a salamander, not a lizard, but I like the way he’s curled around. Once I’m done with him, he’ll be a lizard!.

I’ll use an alligator head for the front end of the dragon, and the wings of the bat.

So now we have all the pictures we need to make a slinky, wide-headed, bat-winged dragon.

And I think it’s important to put in some furniture, because I really like the idea of a dragon in the house. I found a picture of a very beat-up chair sitting out in the desert. It looks big enough for Hagar to sit in. I won’t include the weeds.

Step two, make a rough sketch of the background.

To make my rough drawing, I made a sketch of the chair, then put it behind a new piece of paper and drew The dragon on top of it, then traced the chair where it would show. That way I didn’t have to erase so much of the chair. (But then I had to do it all over, because I forgot to leave room for the wings).I put Fang behind the chair, trying to make himself scarce. Wouldn’t anybody?

Step three, start drawing the dragon.

Use all the photos you’ve collected, and try to connect all the different kinds of animals into a creature that seems plausible.

I’m going to put in some of the bumps around the alligator’s neck, and concentrate on putting most of the fine detail on his head. I’ll leave the chair fairly plain, so that it doesn’t take away our attention from the dragon. And I’ll play with making the dragon’s nostrils smoke.

Did you know that the long bones in a bat’s wing are his fingers? Can you see where the elbow is on the photo of the flying bat?

Since I’ve put in some of the bumps from the alligator, I thought it would look best if I gave the body some bumps, too. I’ve added them all down the center of his back. I think this makes him look great, but he’s now a different species from Norbert, who is a Norwegian Ridgeback dragon. Mine is a “bumpy-backed dragon.” But it’s my picture, and I can make it look anyway I want to. And so can you!

Step three, adding details.

I’ve also toned down the alligator’s “smile.” I didn’t want my dragon to look too friendly, after all.

One thing we always need to be careful about is making our drawing seem too much like a cartoon. This would be easy to do, if we got too carried away with things like smoke or teeth.

I lost a lot of detail when I scanned my drawing – I did these drawings a long time ago, before I really knew how to use the equipment. You’ll have to use your imagination, I’m afraid. Just keep working to make all the animals you’ve stuck together to make your dragon appear to belong on the same animal.

You will have chosen different animals than I did – and you will probably want to change the shapes a bit, so you end up with a more mythical creature – but for a first try, this one isn’t too bad, is it?

My dragon is all finished. If this is the chapter you started with, be sure and keep your drawing. Then come back and do this chapter again when you’ve finished the rest of the book. You can see Norbert in color at the top of all these pages.

How to Draw A Magical Cat from the Harry Potter Books

The cat has been associated with witches for thousands of years.

In fact, for centuries it was believed that witches could turn into cats whenever they wanted to.

As cats, the witches could sneak around their enemies’ homes in the dark of night, causing all sorts of mischief and grief.

This belief is the main cause of the persecution of cats during the middle ages, an odd occurrence when you remember that cats rid our homes of mice and rats, which eat our food and carry disease.

And a few thousands years before the Middle Ages, in Egypt, the cat was considered sacred. Go figure.

Step one – finding photos for your drawing of a cat.

As always, the first thing to do is to gather your models or photographs, so you’ll have something to look at while drawing. And to do that, you need to decide how you want your finished drawing to look.

This particular cat is really a witch, who has shape-shifted into a cat. And the Deputy Headmistress always looks very stiff and upright in the movies – not at all as loose and graceful as a cat usually is.

In recent times, the most famous human/cat transformations are in J. K. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. You’ll remember that the Deputy Headmistress sat stiffly on the wall outside the Dursley’s house at number four, Privet Drive, waiting for Hagrid to deliver baby Harry to his aunt and uncle. At the time, she was a cat.

Cats don’t usually sit stiffly, as Albus Dumbledore pointed out. Cats also don’t usually have markings around their eyes that resemble square eyeglasses. We’ll have to make up the markings, but I found us a model for a stiff cat – it’s a photo of a very old Egyptian bronze statuette. You can’t get much stiffer than that!

I felt we also needed a model whose head is turned towards us, in order to be able to show the character of our subject. For this we can use this photo of a real cat.

Step two, beginning to draw the cat’s basic shape.

Now we have to talk about using photographs for models. We need to use photos because animals don’t hold still long enough for us to draw them. If you have a cat at home, you know she can lie asleep for hours at a time, but the minute we sneak up close with our paper and pencil, she’s off and running. But we need to make sure that the drawing reflects our own imagination as well. And it’s OK to use two or more photos, as we are going to do with our first drawing, so that the end result is something totally new and exciting.

The first thing we do, after clearing a place on the table to work on, is to make a sketch that will show us the basic “feel” of the finished drawing. I actually made four sketches before I came up with one that I liked. You can see that even with this last sketch, there are a lot of changes. I was trying to find a basic form that had the stiffness of the statue, and the authority of Professor McGonagall. I also wanted to make sure that all the parts, such as legs and head, etc., seemed to be in the right place and the right proportion.

In this drawing we’re putting the real cat’s face on the sculpture’s body, and then we’ll add the markings around the eyes to make it look like the Deputy Headmistress is wearing glasses.

Practice, practice, practice your drawing…

Practice making several drawings that are rough like this one. Make them with the intention of throwing them away, so that you will get comfortable with making mistakes. It is absolutely impossible to learn to draw well if you are not willing to make mistakes!

You’ll notice on the sketch that I have “drawn through” in several areas. This means that I have made marks on the drawing to remind myself that the cat is a solid form, and not flat, like a photo. We do this by making lines, much like the lines on a globe, that show us the roundness of the form. Now, go ahead and make your practice drawings!

Drawing the cat’s face.

You can see from the following drawings that a cat has a face that is almost, but not quite, round. The eyes will fall on a horizontal line that can be drawn through the middle of the head. (People eyes are in the same place, by the way). You can use these proportions while looking at a real cat, or the photo of a cat on this page, and it will help you put the parts of the face in the right place.

You should always draw the eyes as a circle, before putting on the top line for the eyelid. Eyeballs really are balls, and by drawing a circle first we remind ourselves to keep them round, no matter what expression we give the final drawing. Remember that the outside corner of the eyelid is always slightly higher than the inside. And yes, that’s true on people, too.

I have a tendency to always draw things on the left side slightly larger than things on the right, and when drawing a horizontal line it almost always wanders upwards on the right. To counteract this, I turn the drawing upside down! It’s easy to see any mistakes we make in proportions this way. And remember, it isn’t cheating to measure if you aren’t sure if something is in the right place, or the right size.

Step three, adding the shading to the drawing.

My drawing now has the shading on it, but no striped markings. I’ve erased most of the extra lines, and I’ve also roughed up the edges, so that it looks more like fur. I used the photo of the statue to help decide where to put the shadows. I’ve also moved the tail up to cover the front and rear feet, in part because I think the Professor would sit that way, and partly because then I don’t have to draw the feet! We’re almost ready for the markings now.

To help with the idea of roundness, go find a ball or a globe, and put it in a place where it gets a strong light from one side. It is very good practice to draw your ball, paying very close attention to all the places where it gets darker, and some of the surprising places where it gets lighter. It is these shadows that help us know that a thing is solid, instead of flat. If this seems like a boring thing to do, just remember that college age art students have to do it in their classes, too.

Step four, adding the cat’s stripes.

For an idea of where the markings will go, we can use the photo on the cover of a book that is available through Amazon.com. We could also use a picture of a tiger, since the markings on both big cats and little cats are very much the same.

You want to make sure that your pencil is very sharp when you add the stripes. Lightly pencil in the places where you want your stripes to go, and then color them in with your pencil, using short strokes that go in the same direction as the fur. And remember to make the eyeglasses around the Professor’s eyes. You will need to use your imagination for this, because Muggles never get to see cats that are marked this way.

And now she’s done!

Be sure and keep all your finished drawings in a notebook, because it will be fun for you to go back, even years later, and see the work you did.

Draw Fluffy – The Three-Headed Dog

J. K. Rowling borrowed an ancient Greek myth of a Three-Headed Dog for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

He was originally known as Cerberus, and he guarded the gates of Hades to keep living people out.

The Greek version also had the tail of a serpent, a detail that J. K. Rowling did not include, (although it does make a cool picture in my mind). You’ll also be happy to know that the original Three-Headed Dog could be soothed with music…

To read more about this ancient mythological creature, go to http://www.loggia.com/myth/cerberus.html.

Now, let’s learn how to draw a magical Three-Headed dog!

For my picture, I decided to leave off the serpent tail, (or lizard or dragon tail, depending on the telling of the story,) and show Cerberus in his reincarnation as Fluffy.

When I started the research for this chapter, I thought it would be easy. Silly me.

It did start out easy, anyway. My father, C. K. Havekost, sent me his photo of Toka, an English Staffordshire Terrier who lived with my parents for many years. Toka was a real sweetheart, and had no fierceness in him at all. But I really think he looks the part of the three-headed dog. That’s his picture at the top of the page.

Like I said, that was the easy part.

Toka does look mildly irritated because someone is taking his picture, but a mildly irritated Fluffy wouldn’t scare anyone away from the trapdoor and the Sorcerer’s Stone, (or away from the Gates of Hell, either). He has to look mean. He needs to be aggressive. He has to show some teeth.

So I went to Google.com, clicked the “image” button, and typed in “dog growling.” No luck. Then I tried “dog growl,” “canine growl,” “canine facial expressions,” “angry dog,”…. Lots of pictures of sports teams and beer cans, and lots of snarling tigers for some reason. (I did find a site that sells a book on how to get a job as a “decoy” for police dog training. The “decoy” gets to pretend to be the bad guy so the dogs can practice attacking him. No thanks.)

Then I tried “dog snarl” and got lucky, and found a great picture on a site from England that showcased puppets used in movies. Unfortunately, that website is no longer available, so you’ll need to search for a picture to use.

I did read, while doing the research for this chapter, that an angry dog will keep it’s eyes wide open (showing lots of white), unless it’s a wimpy dog. Wimps have squinty eyes when they’re snarling. So I’ve paid lots of attention to the teeth and mouth in the photo, but will draw the eyes open and staring.

No one ever accused the Three-Headed Dog of being a wimp!

It just goes to show you that sometimes the research takes longer than the drawing. But it’s very important to keep looking for the perfect model. It will really make your drawings special.

For a body, we can use this crouching dog. And to help us with the different poses of Fluffy’s three heads, I flipped the photo of Toka on my scanner.

It will be easier to draw our three heads if we see where the basic proportions are. Look at the drawings below, and see how the eyes fall on a horizontal center line, and how we can fix the position of the ears by drawing a line from the nose back at an angle through the eye. This really helps us make our first sketch.

Now we have enough basic information to start our first rough drawing. We will need to draw a skeleton first, so that we can see how this mythical beast attaches all those heads to the top of his spine. (If he gets a headache, will all three heads hurt?)

Now it’s getting fun!

We now begin our final drawing by putting on the outline of the dog’s body. We very quickly find out that the hard part of drawing a Three-headed dog is not putting on the heads, but finding room for all those necks! We’re trying to put three things in a place where one thing really goes, at least in the real world. But if we put two of the necks behind one of the heads, it will look OK.

I have occasionally made small clay figures to help me make a drawing come out right, but in this case I decided not to. It’s an option you might keep in mind, though, in case you ever get really stumped with a drawing.

I’ve had to make several copies of my drawing, because when I followed my skeleton sketch exactly I found that the heads were too small, and the necks were too long. I traced the body on a clean sheet of paper, then drew the heads again. I think the result is much better.

We still have no snarl, no growl, no teeth. It’s now time to go to the website you found with a snarling dog picture.

You can open it up on your browser window, then disconnect your Internet connection. That way, if you have a modem connection, you won’t be tying up the phone line too long.

We have to decide which head will have the most teeth showing, since we don’t want them all to have the same expression. That would be boring. Since the head on the lower left is closest to the position of the dog in the picture, I picked that one.

Ooh, now that’s more like it. All we need now is some shading to make him look more solid, and we’ll be done. All of the photographs we’re using have the light source coming from different directions, so we’ll have to figure out the shadows by ourselves.

And…Ta Dah!

You men may want to add some drool, tear up a few ears (does he bite himself by accident?) show a little more teeth. This is one that we can really play with. And you might even want to add that serpent tail, to see how what Cerberus looked like. I’ll bet it would be pretty dramatic!

Draw Mythical Animals from the World of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to draw magical animals in a lifelike way, just like the professionals do it?

learn to draw a dragon from Harry PotterWell, that’s what this site is all about. We’re going to learn how to draw unicorns, dragons, gryphons – and even a magical Three-Headed dog like the one J. K. Rowling called Fluffy. Wow – even a werewolf, and a famous owl…

If you practice a lot, your drawings will be so interesting and lifelike that your friends will beg you for copies of them!

We won’t learn how to draw magical animals by copying the pictures in books. That can be fun for a little while, but what if you want to draw something so different and interesting that you can’t find a picture to copy? Stick around, and I’ll show you how professional artists draw lifelike animals, even magical animals like dragons and three-headed dogs.

Listen – if you use your own imagination, and watch for great ideas in books and movies, you can then do the research you need to do in order to make your drawings come alive! I’m going to show you how.

I know you’re serious about learning to draw animals

You don’t just want to do a “nice” drawing, you want to create great drawings, don’t you? So what does it take?

It actually takes less magic than most people think

I don’t know who started the myth that only a few specially talented people could learn to draw. There are even some art teachers out there who believe that. But if you learned how to draw the alphabet, and are able to write a sentence that other people can read, you can learn how to draw. It just takes lots of practice, and some guidance from people who have learned a few tricks.

In a way it’s a lot like learning to play baseball – you need to train your eye to see better than you ever have before, and you need to train your fingers and hands to move the way you want them to. The first time you took a swing at a baseball, you probably missed. So don’t expect to become a professional artist overnight. But if you are willing to make a few mistakes, and keep on trying, you will soon become very good at drawing these wonderful animals (and you’ll even be able to draw real animals if you want to!)

One big reason many people don’t believe they can draw is that they think it’s cheating to look at the thing they’re trying to draw! That’s not cheating, it’s what every professional artist does!

Now, does that mean that everyone who has the patience and the willingness to learn will become a famous artist? No, not necessarily. But what it does mean is that, if you are willing to practice, and to make mistakes, you will very shortly be drawing far better than just about anyone you know, and that your friends and family and teachers will be amazed.

People may ask you for copies of your drawings, beg you to make special ones just for them, and request that you make drawings for the school newsletter or your club’s brochure. So, even if you don’t become world famous, you can still get a huge amount of personal satisfaction from your drawings. You can also give wonderful, thoughtful gifts to people you care about, without spending hardly any money.

Soon, your drawings, (after you have practiced just a little), will seem almost magical to the people who see them. Even more so, since the animals you will be practicing on are themselves magical!

fluffy the three headed dogMaterials

Don’t tell anyone, but it doesn’t cost hardly anything to learn to draw and create wonderful works of art. To start out, all you need is some cheap paper without lines (copy paper is fine) and some pencils. The #2 pencils that are used in schools are perfectly OK – you don’t need to go to the art store and buy special ones. You should find a good eraser, though, because the ones that come with your pencils are not big enough, and soon wear out. That’s it! That’s all the materials you need to draw. Is it legal to have so much fun for such a small amount of money?