Tlingit Formline: Drawing Animal Body Parts

In my earlier post on how to draw the Salmon-Trout Ovoid, I broke that form down to smaller units: Eye, Nose, Cheek, Mouth. I explained that it is good to learn to draw the salmon-trout head because it is one form that can be easily modified into any animal head.

In the same way, I’m going to break the body of any animal – land, sea, or air – into smaller units: Head, Tail, Arms, Legs, Body. Five sections. According to the rules of formline, I can take these sections and re-distribute them in any order and shape. That means I can quickly divide a sheet of paper into five sections and then simply turn those into the body parts above. It’s a good exercise, and keeps me flexible.

Notice in my drawing below, how I first made 5 sections. Next, I just stare at the “outline” until my mind’s eye sees the shapes as body parts. I then begin the process of turning those geometric shapes into formline body parts. (You already know how to draw a side profile of a head from the former salmon-trout post.) You know by now that movable parts almost always are built around an ovoid (as in the wing on the right, and the tail on the bottom left). I did cheat on this one by filling my 5th shape with a leg, but it could have easily been the Body. You get the idea.

Tlingit Formline Drawing Animal Body Parts Robert Davis Hoffmann

Formline Body Parts

Below is the same principle. I divided my surface into 5 sections. Imagine those sections as body parts, and then begin turning the sections into formline body parts. I don’t like this design (killer whale), but I don’t have to. Point is that I did my daily sketch. Sometimes they’re good enough to use in the future, other times they’re a wash. In 365 days, I’ll have enough ideas for when I retire!

Tlingit Formline Drawing Animal Body Parts Robert Davis Hoffmann

Formline Body Parts

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