From birds to angels and gryphons to pegasus, feathers can seem like a tough thing to draw for your fantasy illustrations. Don’t worry, we’ll break it down. Today’s Technique Tuesday covers how to draw feathers. We hope this free tutorial from Dreamscapes Myth and Magic makes those complicated little feathers and wings seem less daunting and more magical.
How to Draw Feathers. Drawing a Single Feather
1 – Draw the spine of the feather with a slight curve.
2 – Draw the basic form around that. Note that it’s not completely symmetrical.
3 – Add texture by running short parallel strokes to meet along the spine on both sides.
Things to Avoid
Never draw a solid or even texture on a feather. It flattens the feather and makes it look less realistic.
For a more natural look, vary the lines, breaking up the strokes along the outer edge and adding a slight curve.
If the feathers don’t overlap, they will be too sparse and look like they are glued in place.
Wing and Tail Feathers
A wing or tail is basically a fan of feathers radiating out along the arch of the muscles. Notice the feathers overlap one another slightly.
To make the feathers look soft and not like solid hard objects, break up the edges of your lines.
Drawing Shorter Downy Feathers
Start with overlapping arcs, a bit like scales. Then soften their edges with small line work to turn them into feathers.
A wing is constructed of several layers of feathers. The long pinions are at the top, the medium length pinions are toward the middle of the wing and the shorter down feathers are right at the inside shoulder area.
Fantastical Interpretations of Wings
Keep the basic wing form, but be more whimsical with trailing feathers and details.
A feather can be rather flame-shaped for a fantastical creature like a Phoenix. Take advantage of that character detail and let the ends trail off into tendrils of fire.
Take the whimsy a step further and meld the feathers into flame.
You can find more great tutorials in Dreamscapes Myth and Magic by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Grab your copy today!
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