I liked to read about animals and draw in elementary and middle school. Naturally you’d think that I drew animals. But, no. I didn’t because I was also a perfectionist who couldn’t draw real animals as accurately as I wanted.
(I was aware of drawing methods like the grid method but I disliked using them for a few reasons: (1) I felt like I should be able to place the image directly from my head onto the paper without a using crutch – using a crutch felt like cheating – if I needed it then I wasn’t good enough yet, (2) I didn’t like drawing from an existing image – the image already existed which made any sketch of it unoriginal/not 100% mine, etc. I was a picky kid when it came to pencil art.)
Instead of drawing real animals, I drew imaginary ones (largely because they had no standards of comparison which meant I could never get ’em wrong). Like this:
Process: It’s improvised. I start with the eye and then shade outward, following the bone structure etc. until it’s done (I never know what it’s gonna look like when I start).
They always end up a little weird but it’s good shading practice (adventures in shading! Sometimes these creatures appeared in my fantasy tales if I needed a new character/monster/mythical animal species/etc. It’s also fun to draw dragons this way).