How to Draw Furries, aka Anthropomorphic Characters

You can remember them from your childhood—Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Disney ‘s Robin Hood … All these walking and talking animals that are so human-like that you start treating them like humans. These characters are anthropomorphic : they ‘re basically animals with their bodies modified to resemble humans both in the way of moving and in their cosmopolitan behavior.
anthropomorphism is often used in children ‘s movies/books, because it ‘s easy to create master characters this way, and kids are naturally more draw to cute animals/talking machines than to “ normal ”, boring humans they can see every day. But anthros, as such characters are called, are besides popular among older audiences.
just like in manga, anthropomorphic characters can be much more matter to and visually appealing than real humans. Their overdo facial features allow artists to communicate their emotions freely, and there ‘s no pressure to reach full platonism, since anthros are not real by definition. Because of this, they can be an excellent subject to draw !
But what precisely are anthropomorphic characters, and how can you create them ?

What Is Anthropomorphism?

We are born with a tendency to assign human attributes to non-human entities. Before the dawn of modern refinement, people used to see a soul in stones, trees, and animals, and treated natural phenomena as potent entities with their own will. even random occurrences were assigned to the will of “ destiny ”, which sometimes “ smile upon ” a person or was “ barbarous ” to them.
This curious trait of the human mind has allowed us to create stories with non-human characters, to make them more interest and to make their entail absolved, specially for children. Non-human characters make the report obviously untrue, so that it ca n’t be confused with real events, but it fair makes the deeper accuracy hidden in them stand out more .
anthro rabbit alice in wonderlandanthro rabbit alice in wonderlandanthro rabbit alice in wonderland Original depiction of a fictional anthropomorphic rabbit from the first chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland To anthropomorphize means merely “ to make something human-like ”. It can be done in assorted ways : a corner can be said to think and speak while keeping its normal corner look, but it can besides have “ arms ” and “ hands ” made of branches, and a fully expressive “ font ” carved in the trunk. In the case of animals, they can be made bipedal and wear human clothes, and their faces can be changed to show human emotions .
anthropomorphic characters are used today in cartoons and children books, but besides as mascots for institutions and events, and as illustrations for ideas. An anthropomorphic polar bear can make us more empathic towards these animals and feel more creditworthy for climate change, and an anthropomorphic land can help us care more about recycling. evening subtle anthropomorphism, like attaching a smile to an detail, or plainly talking about it as if it had feelings, can make us care more about it .
anthropomorphic chairanthropomorphic chairanthropomorphic chairIt’s very easy to feel sorry for this “lonely chair” once it’s given a recognizable facial expression.
The high expressiveness of anthropomorphic characters makes them very popular among artists, because they do n’t require you to be therefore faithful to realism. You can make your character have human-like adventures with his friends ( go to school, fall in love, get a darling ) without always having to draw a homo, and make the narrative even more concern this way. Your characters may have a finished, professional look, evening if they ‘re actually simple—because their chasteness is not a flaw .
Besides the obvious functionality of this solution, anthropomorphic characters plainly have aesthetic respect to many people. There are only so many ways to make a human beautiful, while you can design a thousand amazing bird-men based on versatile species. Just like manga characters, anthros can be made completely antic and detached from world in their look, which lets the artist get extremely creative while keeping the report grounded in reality. Simply thinking of versatile anthros can be quite inhale, too—what would a cheetah-man look like ?
anthropomorphic characters are besides used in fantasy to make the worldly concern more noteworthy and unlike from ours. In such worlds, humans are just one of many healthy “ races ”, which becomes a convenient base for matter to interactions. For example, in a fantasy world, cat-men may be treated as slaves, which can be used as a safe means to tackle racial discrimination. Such a fib can be made completely realistic, tied dark, despite having such unreal characters .
fantasy dnd anthro characters rainbow foxyfantasy dnd anthro characters rainbow foxyfantasy dnd anthro characters rainbow foxyIn a fantasy setting, anthros don’t look so odd at all. Art by Rainbow-Foxy

What Are Furries?

Among anthropomorphic characters, animals are the most popular. Humans are animals, after all, so we are all reasonably alike, specially among mammals. It about comes naturally to us to assign human characteristics to animals, for exemplar to call a andiron bastardly for destroying our shoes, or to feel deplorable for a male bird rejected by a female. Making the animal stand on its back leg and do typically homo things does n’t seem excessively far-fetched to us because of this .
wolf anthro furry illya royzwolf anthro furry illya royzwolf anthro furry illya royzArt by Ilya Royz
We can besides identify to an extent with certain animals. We can think of ourselves, “ I ‘m like a wolf, quiet and retire among strangers, but very loyal to my friends, ” or “ I ‘m like a lioness, I ‘ll do everything to keep my children condom. ” If you ‘re creative enough, you can imagine a detailed vision of your “ animal self ”, taking it outside of your mentality and into actual animalism. Would n’t it feel cool to have a stern to wag when you ‘re felicitous, and express your emotions more clearly with your ears ? If you like this vision, you may be a furred .
Furries are people who are fans of anthropomorphic animals. It ‘s a very across-the-board term, because your sympathy towards the fandom can be expressed in many ways. You may plainly like reading comics starring anthro animals, draw them, or role-play as an anthro animal with your friends. You can create a detail blueprint of your fursona—your imagined animal-self—and “ become ” this character by wearing a special suit. You can tied attend especial furred conventions, where furries can interact with people who share the same interests. “ Furry ” is besides the term for an anthropomorphic animal, even if it ‘s a reptile ( though the term “ scalie ” can be used angstrom well for the latter ) .
furry fursuits moscowfurry fursuits moscowfurry fursuits moscowHigh quality fursuits are very expensive, but they allow for a great immersion into this fantasy world. Furries of Moscow by ThatFrank
While often portrayed by the media as freaks, furries are simply people who love the concept of anthropomorphic animals. The only remainder between them and, say, Trekkies ( fans of Star Trek ), is that they are more visible—by the art they create ( lots and lots of original art, not just fan art, like Trekkies ), and the fursuits that seem to many people more childish than “ convention ” cosplay. A person cosplaying as a minotaur ( bull-man ) will get army for the liberation of rwanda fewer judgmental looks than a person cosplaying as a fox-man, which can only be explained by many misconceptions about the furred community .
For furries, anthros are like people of different species, screen of non-human-looking humans. When asked about the appeal of such a design, they normally mention the boring front of human characters ( limited by their humanness ). Anthro animals introduce a childlike, pure way of communication, without the complexity of “ normal ” homo interaction. And their count can express their character clearly, which is not so simple in humans .
anthro dragon furry iguancheganthro dragon furry iguancheganthro dragon furry iguanchegArt by iguancheg
Furries normally have a huge imagination, and many of them express it through their artistic skills. Creating art is the easiest way to make a furred character real and visible to other people. Drawing your fursona and using it as an embodiment on social media can let you become that character and be seen as one by others. Role-playing is besides easier when you have a “ photograph ” of your character to show other players.

How to Draw Anthro Animals

I mentioned earlier that anthro characters are easier to draw than realistic humans, but easier does n’t mean easy. You still need to know something about drawing humans, because anthro animals are human-like animals. So let ‘s see what you need to know to draw good anthro characters .

Anatomy Is the Key

Humans are the only sincerely bipedal mammals ( walking on two legs as a normal way of locomotion ). therefore, just making an animal stand on two legs makes it automatically look human-like .
You can besides just attach an animal head to a homo body. however, you lose many opportunities for an matter to design this way, because while it technically can be called an anthro, it does n’t look plausible, which kills the concentration ( the “ sew ” parts drag your attention away from the personality of the quality ) .
rabbit woman anthrorabbit woman anthrorabbit woman anthroIs it a rabbit? Is it a woman? Your brain has a hard time interpreting such a hybrid as one creature.
To create a realistic furred character, one that people could believe in, you need to look into the anatomy of both humans and animals. once you get to know it, you ‘ll be able to create convincing designs—anthros that look as if they could truly exist. even elementary, strictly cartoon characters have their anatomy simplified, not guessed, and this makes a difference .


If you look at humans as a whole, they look relatively similar—some tall, some brusque, some tight-fitting, some fat, but these differences are not in truth striking. Cartoon artists exaggerate these bantam differences to tell us more about a character, and the lapp should be done with anthros .
You can achieve this by using a simplified body rhythm. What is the very inaugural thing you see when looking at the character ? How would you describe its silhouette if you could lone use the terms of simple shapes ? Always start your sketch from this, and you can be sure that your character will send a consistent message about its soundbox shape .
anthro furry body type simplifyinganthro furry body type simplifyinganthro furry body type simplifying If your character is typically cartoon, make sure to repeat the rhythm method of birth control throughout its stallion consistency, for model : elongated torso, elongated head, long fingers and feet. If you go for naturalism, this is not necessary, but still make sure that your character has one foundation rhythm in its whole consistency .
You can learn about drawing rhythm from these tutorials :


Every animal has its own body proportions. Anthros combine the proportions of humans and animals, but they ‘re hush not random. Proportions come largely from the skeleton : the distance of bones and the joints between them. You do n’t need to know fixed values ( “ like 13 cm ” ), just relative ones ( “ the forearm is slightly shorter than the weapon ” ) .
You can learn the proportions of the bones by analyzing the skeletons of both humans and the animal that you want to use. The Internet is wide of great references for this, specially if the animal is one of the common ones. To analyze the proportions, gather a rig of diverse references ( the more different views, the better ), and sketch the skeletons in a simple way, trying to find a recipe you can memorize .
lion skeleton studieslion skeleton studieslion skeleton studies subsequently, combine both sets of proportions into one, focusing on functionality a well as the spirit. Animal leg look the way they look not because this is cunning, but because they are optimum for quadrupedal motion. similarly, the rare structure of human leg comes directly from their function—creating an upright position and allowing for bipedal campaign. A bipedal fox-man, therefore, ca n’t just be a dodger standing on its back legs—they must be modified to look more human-like. And that ‘s barely one of many things you need to consider when creating a body social organization for your furred !

comparative anatomy furrycomparative anatomy furrycomparative anatomy furryHumans have evolved many adaptations for upright locomotion, and lions for quadrupedal locomotion. If your lion-man is supposed to walk on two legs, he can’t do it while still looking like a lion!


After you have your proportions, you can add the actual soundbox mass to them. The condition of the body comes from the muscles, fat, and fur, in this particular orderliness. Fur allows you to hide a set of details of the silhouette, but it placid should n’t be done in a random way—the direction of the hair’s-breadth is affected by the form of the come on under them .
bear anatomy skeleton musclesbear anatomy skeleton musclesbear anatomy skeleton muscles again, this subject is best learned by analyzing the anatomy of real animals and humans. You do n’t need to go ampere far as to memorize the list of every muscleman and ligament ; all you need is the form they make. So search for diagrams of muscles and sketch them, trying to simplify the forms into something easy to memorize and reproduce. You can find such diagrams in my tutorials about drawing assorted animals :
once you know where the condition of the animal and human consistency issue forth from, you can mix them into your design. Feel free to exaggerate !
But muscles are n’t everything when it comes to the shape of the body—we have the fat and fur ampere well. These you need to study individually, to understand how they change the shape created by the muscles. You can learn it by sketching real animals with their muscles only ( using a photograph address ), and then adding the other elements .
You besides need to remember that photos do n’t show you the whole visualize. You can learn more from video, and even more from observing the real animals. Take your sketchbook to the menagerie !


ultimately, when your character has a full, approximately sketched body, you can start adding details to it. Does it have hands or paws ? What do its feet look like ? What does it wear, what clothes, what jewelry ? This is the most playfulness contribution about designing a character, but there silent should be nothing random about it. tied the details should be functional !
The feet, for example, are used for walking, not for looking cute. The paw pads are not random—they ‘re cushions for the bones in the foot. If your character is bipedal, do paws alternatively of hands make sense, if it does n’t very use these “ feet ” for walking ? You need to think about all these things if you want to finish the design in a convincing direction .
It ‘s not only about anatomy. The jewelry, clothe, and armor must fit the body and allow for natural movement. Do n’t fair draw a bracelet on every evacuate area of the hide ; try to become this character for a while and see what you would wear and how if you were them. possibly long, dangling earrings are not a good idea for a hunting cat-man ? Is wearing a skirt judicious if you ‘re moving by hopping ? If you keep thinking this way, you ‘ll avoid mistakes that break the magic trick you ‘re trying to create.

Simplify to Clarify

You might have heard of a phenomenon called the preternatural valley. by and large, the more realistic the expression, the more we like it, until it gets about substantial, but not quite. This little lack of realism is much more faze than stylization, because we see clearly all the confront is n’t. You can use this information to keep your anthros “ substantial enough ” —stylized in a convincing means, but far adequate from the preternatural valley to avoid comparing it to the real thing .
too realistic manga uncanny valleytoo realistic manga uncanny valleytoo realistic manga uncanny valleyManga facial features look good on a typical cartoon drawing, but when they get realistic they become creepy, not better.
simplification can let you drag the attention to what actually matters in your design. Make the feet flat, exaggerate the muscles, make the eyes huge and expressive as in manga characters—and you ‘ll make it clear that it ‘s not realistic because it ‘s not supposed to be, not because you did n’t know how to do it .
simplification removes the unnecessary elements and exaggerates the crucial ones, but you need to do it systematically to create a convincing trope. For exercise, a nose made from a elementary determine without the nose holes will look good only if the lie of the face does n’t have besides many details. otherwise, the miss will be visible and unsettling for the spectator .
how to simplify animals cartoonhow to simplify animals cartoonhow to simplify animals cartoon real human body is not slowly to learn and remember, and simplification can save you from it. People will see a leg even if it does n’t have a perfectly shaped knee—it equitable needs a joint in a certain station and some batch around two bones. But this is something you need to go to yourself—learn the real anatomy, and then remove the pleonastic parts dance step by footfall. Remember, think has nothing to do with simplification ; stylization is purposeful, not random .
how to simplify anatomyhow to simplify anatomyhow to simplify anatomy

Make the Face Talk

Humans have a lot of bantam muscles in their faces used specifically for creating diverse facial expressions. We can besides recognize the smallest change in them to interpret the temper of the other person. Animals, though they have a repertoire of facial expressions suitable for their species, are not closely a expressive as us, and the whole body matters more in their communication than in ours .
Because of this, just attaching an animal head to your anthro ‘s body will make it quite hard to treat the creature as a person. We need moving eyebrows, flexible lips, visible whites of the eyes, to convey the messages written in the speech of homo facial expressions. Moving the ears or changing the shape of the pupils can be good an addition—they ‘re enough for an animal, but not for an intelligent, talking person .
This means you need to simplify the front to make room for more human-like features. The eyebrows are a must, and they have to be mobile—we can read a draw from them. many animals seem to carry a single facial construction all the time because of specify facial features that we recognize as eyebrows ( for example, many birds of prey attend angry or gallant, regardless of what they feel ). They do n’t need to have the form of human eyebrows, but they should be capable of affecting the human body of the eye .
anthro furry eyebrowsanthro furry eyebrowsanthro furry eyebrowsMany mammals have a tuft of whiskers above the eye—you can transform this part into pseudo-eyebrows.
compromising lips are another thing. If you take a close front at homo lips, they ‘re actually a rim of skin curled out. In us and other mammals, this character of the peel has its own muscles, so that we can suckle when we ‘re babies. Because of this, we can move them, though humans have taken it to an extreme—the gesture of the lips sends emotional messages arsenic well. Females tend to have fuller lips, which is an easy way to accentuate the arouse of your character .
Lips are besides important for talking—notice how you pronounce ‘m ‘, ‘ phosphorus ‘, ‘ b ‘, ‘ farad ‘, ‘ watt ‘, ‘ vanadium ‘ ( talking birds can have problems with those ). If your character is a bird, you may have to use a compromise—you either keep it naturalistic and never use any formulation around the “ lips ”, or treat the open of the beak as normal, human lips .
anthro furry lipsanthro furry lipsanthro furry lips In most animals, you do n’t actually see the white of the eye, and when the animal wants to look around, they normally use their whole heading. But humans are different—because there ‘s so much of the ashen of the center visible, you can see precisely where the person is looking .
hypothetically, this used to help us in group search ( silent “ pointing ” with eyes ), but nowadays it ‘s by and large used to send non-verbal messages. Rolling your eyes, looking off, looking around when thinking—if you want your character to be able to communicate this way, make certain the whites of the eyes are visible .
anthro furry white of the eyesanthro furry white of the eyesanthro furry white of the eyesExperiment with the size of the eyes as well; bigger eyes are usually more expressive.
But furries are besides part animals, and they can have extra means of conveying emotions. For exemplar, most mammals show their mood by moving their ears, and a reptile can use its spit for something more than tasting the air. experiment with it to see how you can make these extra motions a part of apprehensible facial expressions .
anthro furry animal emotionsanthro furry animal emotionsanthro furry animal emotions

Emotions Are Simple

Although we have so many emotions and so many ways to show them, in the end they can be simplified into a few groups. The simplified face of your anthro character can be very effective at showing emotions, and its ease makes it flush more expressive—because there ‘s little room for confusing mistakes. Move the eyebrows, drag the corner of the mouth, squint the eyes, and you ‘ll tell a distribute.
simplified emotionssimplified emotionssimplified emotions Look into a mirror and try to show these basic emotions : joy, sadness, surprise, wrath, disgust. See how easy it is ? certain, these are “ act ” facial expressions, and we look different when the emotions come naturally, but you do n’t need this kind of reality for your anthro quality. You do n’t very need to learn this—just make the like face you ‘re trying to draw and you ‘ll see you already know what to do. But if you want to study this subject more, you ‘ll love this complex guide to emotions :

Keep It Consistent

A well-designed quality looks the same every fourth dimension. You do n’t fair recognize it by its species, color, and invest, but besides by the body proportions and the front. That ‘s why it ‘s good to create a reference point tabloid for your character, where you will show it in diverse views and with diverse facial expressions, or in different clothing/no invest.

anthro character how to recognizeanthro character how to recognizeanthro character how to recognizeThere’s more to Donald Duck than him being a white duck in characteristic clothing.
A reference sheet lets you see the fictional character as a whole, not as one draw. You can use such a sheet to draw the character by and by systematically, or to show to other artists, so that they are able to create art ( or a fursuit ! ) of this character faithfully. You can learn how to create such a sheet ( and how to create a werewolf anthro, besides ! ) from the tutorials below :


While anthropomorphic characters have been popularized in our prison term by children ‘s books and movies, they are surely not limited to them. Half-humans, half-animals can combine the best of both worlds, giving the artist full command over the character without submitting to the stiff rules of realism. They ‘re besides indeed divers that everyone can create a individualized, unique character expressing their own personality in a direction not potential in the human reality .
Are you a furred ? What is your fursona ? What do you like the most about anthro characters ? And if you ‘re not a furred, what are your thoughts on the fandom, or anthro animals in general ? I ‘d love to hear what you think, so tactile property free to leave a remark !

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