I have recently been asked if there are any general rules to follow governing animal’s eyes nose and ears. Given that there are numerous angles an animal head can adopt in a pose this is not easy to give a satisfactory answer, but I can give you guide lines that I use.
First of all it is really important to use the best possible reference you can get, many a time I have refused to take on a portrait because the reference given would not allow me to do the animal justice.
There is another reason for a good reference photograph; you would see all the finer details that help you make decisions in interpreting them in your artwork.
A poor reference would mean a lot of guesswork and that will lead to disappointment for you and the customer (if it’s a commission).
Another point I would like to tag on while we are talking about good reference material is in artwork I use artistic license a great deal. With a good reference I am able to see the detail as it is without guesswork therefore I can interpret the detail correctly and use my artistic licence with complete confidence, if I used guesswork here it would be a disaster.
As a general rule the ears, eyes and nose should line up. If the reference does not show this then there will always be a reason, and you have to find out what it is, again a poor reference might not give this information.
In the coming weeks you will see a few examples of these faults in blogs.