Creature Features

  • Software:Photoshop CS6  ·
  • Difficulty:Beginner

Rules of the Exercise

  • 1
    Download and open the practice worksheet for this exercise.
  • 2
    Analyze the importance each individual creatures texture and material make-up to further your knowledge.
  • 3
    Submit your work for this exercise under the "submissions" tab!


  This exercise we are focusing on creatures and how to shade, blend, and render the different textures to distinguish the creatures attributes, whether it's fur on a werewolf or a sleek sheen on an amphibious monster. At first glance here are the obvious mental notes for each number in the exercise, see how much more you can build off of this!

  1. Human - Fleshy, not very reflective,
  2. Alligator - Hard surface, irregular pattern, scaly, not very reflective
  3. Falcon - Hard surface, scaly, reflective nails
  4. Antelope - very short fur, reflective hoof
  5. Frog - Reflective surface, smooth
  6. Elephant - fleshy, not very reflective, wrinkles
  7. Duck - Hard surface, scaly, reflective nails
  8. Dog - Fur, reflective nails,
  9. Crab - Hard surface, highly reflective, smooth

These touches of subtle detailing will further create the appearance of the creature you're creating! Below is the practice worksheet that you can download! You can find this on the "Downloads" tab under the header image near the top of this exercise! Exercise_31_PracticeSheet


  Observe each material you are recreating, GRAB REFERENCE and study it. Without it, it's like taking a test without studying the material. With reference, it's like an open book test. You tell me which one you would rather take! Admittedly fur is not my comfort zone, so if you are like me, this is also a challenge on going outside your comfort zone, becoming familiar with something that previously wasn't. This goes beyond "trying" something new. "Trying" does not produce results. We are diving head first, looking for other artists and studying their technique on re-creating these different features.


  To further your observation and application skills. This is to broaden the way you think, see, and re-create specific skill sets such as creature concept art. By understanding the different parts, you begin to better understand the machine, or in this case, different animals of the animal kingdom. Start using reference responsibly to create further accurate and interesting pieces!


  This was a great exercise and a much needed one for those that have been wanting to do more creature studies. I took this exercise as a challenge myself. So below I broke down each of the steps and some of my tips along the way. Take your time with these creature features. Especially when making the details, be patient and really OBSERVE the reference you are looking at, BECAUSE I EXPECT EACH OF YOU TO BE USING REFERENCE. lol keep pushing yourself and have a critical eye when analyzing your work and the reference and seeing what the difference is, and devise a plan to bridge that gap. It can be frustrating but it can be done!

  • Fur: Deer, Dog - For fur, I found that using the Concept Cookie hair brush was the best choice for getting that same level of quality that fur has.
  • Scales: Aligator Claw, Talon, and Duck - BE PATIENT. These are time consuming to create that organic look, but take your time.
  • Smooth: Frog, Crab - This is all about blending and keeping it smooth. The highlights also have to be placed carefully.
  • Rough: The Hand and Elephant - The subtle irregularities and wrinkles are your focus here. Study how the skin folds on itself and how it absorbs lighting.


- The Community Results

  There were a few that took this exercise challenge as well and there were two that stood out to me. Below are the submissions from janawauer and adrenaline. Well done and janawauer even took the challenge a step further and showcased some of their steps along with some tips on how to create different frog feet with the same outline. Exercise_31_UsExercise_31_Us2 When you finish the exercise, remember to submit the result to the "Submissions" tab near the top of this exercise. You can see other submissions alongside your own!