Draw Baby Beasties: Create Little Dragons, Unicorns, Mermaids and More

Draw Baby Beasties: Create Little Dragons, Unicorns, Mermaids and More

by Lindsay Cibos-Hodges, Jared Hodges
Draw Baby Beasties: Create Little Dragons, Unicorns, Mermaids and More

Draw Baby Beasties: Create Little Dragons, Unicorns, Mermaids and More

by Lindsay Cibos-Hodges, Jared Hodges


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A life-and-limb-saving guide for artists!

For centuries, brave artists have sought the elusive offspring of legend's most infamous beasts. Many have met ugly ends whiles scaling cliffs for a glimpse of griffon hatchlings, venturing into dark forests in pursuit of moody little Minotaurs or voyaging to sea where newborn krakens toss boats like bath toys. Here at long last is a more practical, less perilous alternative. Draw Baby Beasties offers a rare, intimate and danger-free view into the formative years of dragons, trolls, harpies and other fantastical creatures.

Use the easy-to-follow drawing instructions to start assembling simple shapes, then add shading, texture and color to capture magical unicorn foals, flaming phoenix chicks, gruesome gargoyle pups and other fantastical youth of land, sky and sea. Even beginners can achieve happy results quickly, without risk to life or limb.

Complete with fascinating insights on habits, habitats and favorite pastimes, Draw Baby Beasties provides groundbreaking, possibly life-saving instruction for artists who dare take on these awesome and adorable adolescents.

Everything you need to draw legendary little ones!

 • Step-by-step demonstrations of 27 baby fantasy creatures
 • Tips for depicting true-to-life anatomy, poses and expressions
 • Narrative profiles of each species

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440354199
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/18/2019
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 313,242
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges are the authors of IMPACT's Draw Furries and Draw More Furries. They are the creators of the graphic novel series Peach Fuzz (Tokyopop), which has been published internationally and syndicated in newspapers.

Read an Excerpt


The Drawing Process

Sketching is a process of figuring out how to capture and communicate an image. Don't expect the first lines you draw to capture everything perfectly. Sketching often starts with rough and loose lines that help you visualize a character's design, pose or the composition of the overall image. Going from this rough idea to the final drawing might take several passes of sketching and erasing. Keep going. With each sketch, your ideas becomes clearer, and details more precise, until you've put together a beastie anyone can understand and admire.

1 Under Drawing

Explore ideas and feel out the character's form. Keep the lines loose and lively.

2 Sketch Lightly

Work over your rough sketch with light pencil lines. Add details and make tweaks. Don't press too hard.

3 Refine Your Drawing

Once you're satisfied, tighten and darken your pencil lines. Then erase any stray or unwanted lines. Almost there!

4 Finish With Color

Decide on a color scheme. Then plop down some shading using your favorite coloring medium, and your slime is "goo-ed" to go!

Slime Kid

Slimes are amorphous creatures, often appearing as a puddle of gelatinous ooze. Although they lack a distinct shape, certain varieties of slimes can mold themselves into other forms. This adorable slime kid, curious about humans, has sculpted itself into the form of a young child. Let's take a look at the shapes used to create the slime's new body.

1 Head and Body

Sketch a large circle for the head, with vertical and horizontal guidelines. Then sketch a beanlike shape for the torso, using a small circle for the pelvis area. To specify the bean's front and center, sketch a vertical line curving down the middle of the shape.

2 Arms and Legs

Now that we've established the direction of the head and body, let's add the limbs. To create the arms and legs, sketch interconnecting cylinder shapes, and divide them at the joints, including the knees and elbows. Build up the hands and feet with small circles, and use little sausage-tube shapes for the fingeerrss..

3 Slime

Use curving forms to depict the gooey gobs of "hair" dripping from the slime's head. Use the same technique for the "dress" and slime puddle. To keep the figure soft and gelatinous, avoid using any sharp, jagged or zigzagging lines.

4 Color

Add shading to ooze out the perfect form. Glob some big highlights along the surface, and some darker tones deep within, to make the slime's body seem squishy and semi-opaque. Blobs of body mass drip, puddle, mingle and reform, but through it all, the slime keeps its shape. With a wink and a curtsy this slime is off to play with the human kids.

Baby Griffin

With a combination of bird and beast traits, the griffin (sometimes spelled griffon or gryphon) has a reputation as a stealthy ambush predator on land or by wing. Resembling a sharp-eyed eagle with a beak, talons and wings, but with a lion's stature and powerful pounce-prone hindquarters, griffins are considered the king of beasts. Admired for their ferocity, resilience and grace, they're popular figures in heraldic imagery. Likewise, their peculiar interest in gold has cast them as guardians of precious treasures.

Within gold-lined nests, baby griffins emerge from their eggs covered in a protective layer of soft fuzz. By the second week, the fuzz is replaced by plumage covering the head, chest and wings. Even as hatchlings, griffins are feisty, fighting their siblings over every scrap of meat. By the twelfth week, they are ready to take their first flight, though they won't be skilled hunters for at least another year.

1 Plan the Design

Do some exploratory sketches of your griffin. Study lion cubs as the basis for the body and eaglets for the head, forearms and wings. Focus on conveying the animal's personality through the pose and design. We want our little griffin to be playful but fierce, with talons at the ready.

2Draw the Body

Begin constructing the form. Start with a circle for the head. Add a pair of guidelines to indicate a front-facing direction. Next draw a bean shape for the body comprised of two circles. Draw the lower connecting line intersecting the far circle to make the griffin's chubby lion cub belly.

3 Build Up the Head

Connect the head to the body with a pair of inward sloping lines for the neck. Then sketch the eyes along the horizontal guideline. Fluff out the shape of the head, and add a pair of triangular earlike tufts along the top. Finally, draw the open mouth as a diamond shape, with the upper beak overlapping the bottom.

4 Sketch the Front Legs

Sketch the front birdlike legs as long cylinders with separations to indicate bends at the elbow and wrist joints. Don't forget the sharp talons jutting out from each hand — they're useful for catching prey.

5 Sketch the Back Legs

Draw the lionlike hind legs. Don't forget the far leg — it's partially hiding behind the body, but some of the heel and toes are still visible. Indicate a bend between the ankle and leg with a separation line. Divide the front of the foot into four equal sections to create the feline toes. Then add claws.

6 Draw the Facial Features

Draw the eyes, glaring beneath lowered lids. Add nostrils, a triangle-shaped inner mouth, and a pointy bird tongue to finish the beak. Use jagged lines to define the plumage around the griffin's head and suggest a prickly personality.

7 Add the Tail, Wings and Fluff

Add a layer of fluffy plumage to the griffin's chest and front limbs. Draw the folded wing by combining an oval and triangle shape, and then add feathers. Sketch the tail in an alert, upright position, and add spikey fur tufts trailing down the length.

8 Refine Lines

Almost done! Add some inner feathers to puff out the plumage. Go over your line art, darkening around creases and shadow areas such as the eyes and under the belly. Erase your guidelines.

9 Pick Colors

Select colors for your griffin. As a creature of arid plains, they share their landscape's sandy color palette. For the eagle half, use white for the head plumage, dark brown for the wings and yellow for the talons. A tawny or reddish brown works well for the lion fur.

10 Finish With Shading

Apply blue shadow tones to the head plumage using dashed strokes to give the feathers texture and a sense of direction. Smooth the transition from feathers to fur by painting ever-smaller dart-shaped feathers along the griffin's back and midsection. Extrude the knee on the hind leg with heavier shadows. Gradually redden the tail fur as it flows to the tip. Use strong highlights on the beak, talons and claws for a sharp, glossy look.

Baby Basilisk

Watch out! Lock eyes with a basilisk and you'll be turned to stone! Half-chicken, half-serpent and all parts terror, adults of this unsociable species flaunt a blood-red comb upon their head, colorful warning plumage, and a scaly, whiplike tail. Despite its reputation as the king of serpents, most basilisks measure a mere 8 to 12 inches (20cm to 30cm) long. (Their name comes from the Greek word for "little king.") That's smaller than your average chicken, but much deadlier!

A basilisk is formed when a chicken egg is incubated by a toad. The fluffy yellow reptilian chick emerges from the egg, independent and ready to hunt, assisted by venomous talons and a lethal gaze.

1 Plan the Design

Sketch designs for your baby basilisk. For reference, look at images of baby chickens and reptiles such as snakes and lizards. Action poses with kicking legs can be exciting, but also explore subdued stances that emphasize the basilisk's deadly gaze. Remember, although it has only recently hatched, no one should mistake this creature as helpless — an expression of malevolence says it all.

2 Draw the Body

Sketch a circle for the head. Draw the facial guidelines to indicate a head tilt with a side gaze. Then draw the body using two larger circles — one for the chest and one for the hind end, connected into a bean shape. The basilisk's back is turned toward us, so the body should overlap the head.

3 Build Up the Head

Sketch the thickly plumed face and neck by expanding outward from the head ball with curving lines that pull into the body. Add attitude with an angular crest jutting from the head. Draw a diamond-shaped eye along the horizontal guideline. Then sketch a hooked triangular beak from the center of the crosshairs.

4 Sketch the Legs

A basilisk's legs are like a chicken's. Anchor the meaty thighs to the body and sketch the legs as a solid feathery form. Then, from the heel joint, sketch the scaly feet as a long cylinders. Add clawed toes to the end of each foot. Note that while most birds have four toes, basilisks bear only two front-facing toes and one in the rear, giving them very distinguished Y-shaped tracks.

5 Sketch the Tail

Sketch the serpentine tail as a long tube shape, curving toward the front of the creature. Use surface lines to help visualize the curvature and shape. Add some jutting spines running along the back of the tail.

6 Draw the Facial Features

Draw the eye with a small pupil to give the basilisk a petrifying stare. Then sketch the inner beak with a deep frown line. Don't forget the angular nostril. Add some feather details along the crest, cheeks and chin.

7 Add Wings and Fluff

Puff the basilisk's chest and thighs with a saw-toothed flurry of feathers. Sketch some additional feathers encircling the base of the tail. Draw the wing folded neatly against its side.

8 Refine Lines

Tidy up your drawing and erase any guidelines. Go over the feathery areas with fine lines. Add some grooves along the front of the leg to suggest overlapping scales (called scutes).

9 Pick Colors

Because this is an immature basilisk, choose plumage colors appropriate for a chick such as yellow or neutral tones like white, brown and black. You can accent it with bright warning colors like red and purple to emphasize the creature's dangerous nature.

10 Finish With Shading

Time to put the finishing touches on this deadly chicken! Use soft shading to define the overall form, and then apply quick strokes to give it a coat of bristling down feathers. Apply some shine along the bony or scaly areas (beak, feet, claws, tail and spines). Give the basilisk an ominous look by painting a white edge around the pupil. Don't forget to paint a scaly pattern on the tail.

Kitsune Kit

Magical and mischievous, kitsune are multi-tailed foxlike creatures. As they age, they gain additional tails and supernatural powers, ultimately becoming a kyuubi no kitsune (literally "nine-tailed fox" in Japanese). Kitsune can shapeshift into anything from plants to people — how convincing they are depends on their age and ability. From their tails, they can conjure blue magic flames called foxfire.

Baby kitsune, called kits, are born in litters of four to six. Many kitsune begin life with a single tail, but it's not uncommon for a few in the litter to have as many as three or even four tails. The kits spend their time playing with siblings and practicing illusions, close to the safety of the den, relying on their mother and father to bring home tasty morsels.

1 Plan the Design

Sketch some concepts for your kitsune. Refer to imagery of foxes (baby foxes especially) for anatomy and fur reference. There are many varieties of foxes, each with different features you can mix and match to make your kitsune unique. Vibrant colors and patterns can also be applied to the fur for a striking appearance. Sketch the kit's many tails twisting as they bounce and play. You might also want to try a sleepy or clumsy pose to convey youth and inexperience.

2 Draw the Body

Sketch a circle for the head. Then add vertical and horizontal guidelines to indicate the direction of the kitsune's gaze. Sketch a small circle for the chest, keeping in mind most of it will be obscured by the head. Behind it, draw a larger circle for the hindquarters. Connect them to complete the bean torso shape.

3 Build Up the Head

Sketch a pair of almond-shaped eyes along the horizontal guideline. Add two triangular ears along the top of the head. Build out the boxy muzzle shape from the midpoint of the guidelines. Sketch the lower jaw extending from the base of the snout. Extend the sides of the kitsune's face with angular cheek fur.

4 Sketch the Legs

Sketch the legs bent in a playful crouch. Indicate the leg joints (elbow, wrist and toes in the front; knee, ankle and toes in the back). Then sketch the toes. Each paw has four toes, plus a thumblike dewclaw on the front ones. Because the inner toes are more set forward, outer toes can often go hidden from certain angles, for example, the far left toe on the back paw. The left hindleg and right foreleg's dewclaw are also obscured.

5 Sketch the Tails

Sketch each of the tails extending from the base of the spine. The more tails the kitsune has, the trickier it is to find space for them. Take your time and plan a path for each one. Wrap surface lines around the tube-shaped tails to keep track of the curvature and form.

6 Draw the Facial Features

Draw the upper and lower lids and inner eye details. Similar to cat eyes, kitsune eyes can narrow to vertical slits. Fluff out the cheek fur using jagged lines. Do the same for the ears and inner ear fur. Sketch the nose with a distinct top and front side. Finally, draw the inner mouth and pointy canine teeth.

7 Add the Tail, Fluff and Details

Now use jagged lines to pronounce the puffiness of the tails. A few well-placed hatchmarks can create additional texture. Fluff out the knee, elbow and rump areas. Be careful not to overdo it though; too many jagged lines lead to an unkempt appearance. Add claws to the end of each toe.

8 Refine Lines

Darken your lines and erase any guidelines. Many of the lines used in the construction of the muzzle can be safely removed, aside from the outer contour and inner mouth details.

9 Pick Colors

Kitsune fur comes in an array of colors including black, brown, red, gold and silver. This particular kitsune has a golden coat with glowing yellow eyes. Red makes for a striking accent color for patterning on the face, body or tails. Washing in greater degrees of gray-blue can help separate the multiple tails by giving them the feeling of being farther in the background.

10 Finish With Shading

Paint the base fur tone, and add shadows using a darker tone such as purple. Use flecks of a lighter color like warm white to bring out the fur texture and to shine up any wet or glossy areas (eyes, nose and claws). Finally, apply your red accent color, carefully tracing around the eyelids, and blending into the fur. Paint a gray shadow beneath your kit to help ground it.

Lil' Jackalope

The elusive jackalope uses its swift reflexes to stay out of sight and its ability to mimic human voices to mislead pursuers. As its name suggests, it has the body of a jackrabbit and the horns of an antelope. (Although some species of jackalope, such as the one pictured here, have antlers like a deer's instead.) They can be found in mountain foothills and grassy desert regions. Should you encounter one, keep your distance — despite its cute and cuddly appearance, a cornered jackalope can be dangerous and will aggressively use its horns to defend itself.

Baby jackalope are born with their eyes open, ready to run. Tiny horn nubs sprout from the top of their heads within the first couple days and grow quickly over the following several weeks.

1 Plan the Design

To highlight the jackalope's skittish nature, try sketching running or jumping poses, and give the critter a cautious expression. Be sure to use circular shapes and curved lines to bring out its cute bunny appeal. Also consider antler length and shape — look at photos of juvenile deer for inspiration.

2 Draw the Body

Draw a circle for the head. Sketch the guidelines to indicate facing. This jackalope's head is almost in profile, so place the vertical guideline close to the edge. Next sketch the bean-shaped torso, comprised of a small circle for the chest and a larger circle for its fuzzy rump.


Excerpted from "Draw Baby Beasties"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Lindsay Cibos and Jared Hodges.
Excerpted by permission of F+W Media, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction, 6,
Tools and Materials, 8,
Coloring Mediums, 9,
Drawing With Shapes, 10,
The Drawing Process, 12,
Slime Kid, 13,
Baby Griffin, 14,
Baby Basilisk, 18,
Kitsune Kit, 22,
Lil' Jackalope, 26,
Baby Yeti, 30,
Baby Gargoyle, 34,
Chimera Cub, 38,
Red Dragon Hatchling, 42,
Harpy Chick, 46,
Hippocampus Foal, 50,
Fenrir Pup, 54,
Mini Minotaur, 58,
Baby Naga, 62,
Lil' Kraken, 66,
Lil' Leviathan, 70,
Manticore Cub, 74,
Baby Fairy, 78,
Raiju Kit, 82,
Lil' Zaratan, 86,
Mermaid Fry, 90,
Quetzalcoatl Hatchling, 94,
Satyr Kid, 98,
Troll Tyke, 102,
Unicorn Foal, 106,
Shishi Cub, 110,
Wyvern Whelp, 114,
Phoenix Chick, 118,
A Final Word of Advice, 124,
Index, 125,
About the Authors, 126,

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