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Digigrade Legs for the Scientifically Accurate: by Jesseth Digigrade Legs for the Scientifically Accurate: by Jesseth
I have no idea why I suddenly really wanted to make this, but I figure it could be useful to a few people out there who really like species design or world building? .... or maybe just people who want to draw more anatomically accurate furries. That too. XD


... Not an awful lot to say, other than that this is meant to help give people IDEAS for designing characters, species, ect.
It is NOT intended as a 'this is definitively how you draw legs tutorial.' You don't have to change the way you draw just because a creature's legs wouldn't hold them in real life.... I'm just... Really into science<3

For the sake of visual aid where my scrawlings are a bit lacking, here's some nice pics I used for reference of some of the animals shown:

Ostrich: [link]

Wren: [link]

T-rex and troodon: [link]

T-rex skeleton: [link]

Gazelles standing up: [link]

Kangaroos on all fours: [link]

That about wraps it up!
Just to reiterate, take whatever input you wish from this, and good luck drawing!

the only thing in this that actually belongs to me is the crocatiels<3
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:iconmrsleepybear:
MrSleepybear Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014
Also, some people make the error of making plantigrade (animals with feet similar to humans) digigrade. As a general rule; bears, rodents (with the exception of guinea pigs and Capybara), rabbits, raccoons, hedgehogs and marsupials all have plantigrade legs.
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:iconyo-dra:
Yo-dra Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this reference, I'd been working on a raptor-like creature and I just *could not* get the darn thing to look right. It all makes much more sense now! :D
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:iconburning-red-sky:
Burning-Red-Sky Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Student General Artist
thanks for this! scientifically accuracy is always best =)
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:iconbrome-featherkey:
Brome-Featherkey Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Student General Artist
I like this reference. Thank you for making it. :)
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:iconcookiegirl14:
cookiegirl14 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Student Filmographer
this is good for reference. i've been trying to figure out legs for anthers for awhile now, and this defiantly helped.
thnx!
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:icondigi-order:
digi-order Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
One little teeny thing you might wanna tweak actually. Kangaroos are plantigrade, but when hopping they take the apperance digitgrade stance.
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:iconthewhitejewel:
TheWhiteJewel Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2013
I will probably never need to use this, due to my preferring humans over, well...anything with digigrade legs, really. Still this was very insightful so I'm tucking it away from reference.
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:iconvalronic:
Valronic Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013
AAAAAAnnnnd faved.  Thanks, this is good stuff.
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:iconburghardtw:
burghardtw Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013
This is great.  I've been looking for a way to design humanoids with digigrade legs for a while and this is a big help. 
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:iconleticiaprestes:
leticiaprestes Featured By Owner May 31, 2013
really helpful!
thank you for making this tutorial:)
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:iconzaphy1415926:
Zaphy1415926 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2013
Good thoughts! Thanks!
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:iconwolfysm:
WolfySM Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is of my so fav tutorial *o* finally found such one!
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:iconfrazamm:
frazamm Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013
Coincidentally, I have been sketching about the same recently, and pretty much reached your same conclusions. :+fav:
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:iconsephinta:
Sephinta Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fantastic, thank you!
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:iconroukon13:
RouKon13 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
best tutorial I ever seen very informative :)
have you done one on heads?
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:iconkrel-tal:
Krel-Tal Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012  Professional General Artist
A most wonderful turotial
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:iconnanemae:
Nanemae Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2012  Student General Artist
The funny thing is that I already draw legs like this, because I knew thrust-based legs wouldn't work on bipedal creatures. Still, this is very well done.
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:iconwolfsjourney:
wolfsjourney Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012  Student General Artist
What you're suggesting here... This really could change the name of the game for were/anthro artists everywhere. The tail seems to be a critical cog in the machine, here. And not too many people realize it. You've made a compelling observation. It is certainly making me consider my drawing decisions from here on out.
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:iconkorban3:
Korban3 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Whoo! This helps a ton. I definitely see where improvements can be made on mine, especially with the way I have the knees. Some adjusting and it will feel a lot better. Thanks for making this!
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:iconangelwarriorqueen:
AngelWarriorQueen Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well thanks. I'm not much of an artist but It always kinda bugged me when people pretty much copied their pet's hindquarters onto a bipedal mammal. Now I know why!
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:icongsnail:
GSnail Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
this was very helpful, I always like to keep my drawings looking somewhat scientifically plausible.
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:iconriptosdarkdragonair:
RiptosDarkDragonair Featured By Owner May 27, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I always knew I was doing it wrong, now I know where to imrove!! :la: Thank you so much for this epic tutorial! I bet loads of people will be helped by this!! :dummy:
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:iconbluewyrm:
Bluewyrm Featured By Owner May 26, 2012
I've always tended toward the straighter legs when I draw anthro dragons etc. although I do have one species that doesn't... but they do lean forward slightly and have nice big tails to counterbalance, so it doesn't look too improbable.

You can actually (visually) get away with a slightly larger bend in the leg as long as the center of gravity stays over the foot. Even in the nearly straight-legged design, some people seem to think the center of gravity can fall on the area between the ankle and toes...
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:iconvikingfox:
VikingFox Featured By Owner May 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is why I love everything you do! :D

Scientifically accurate, intelligent, awesome. ^_^
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:iconteavian:
Teavian Featured By Owner May 23, 2012   Digital Artist
*flailing around* Ahh! Thank you for making this. I've been having the worst trouble with my humanoid animal people...formally anipeyens, especially with my kangaroo girl. I had absolutely no idea how I would design her legs without making them look impossible as heck. I guess I can have her rely heavily on her tail to walk around, and then hop when she needs to, like the way your crocatiels work. I also had a character who is of the cassowary species, and I think I'll just make her legs straight, not bendy or anything. Thank you so much!
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:iconpixelmecha:
PixelMecha Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
This is really interesting. I see what you mean about legs being more straight and not so bent, I think I was subconciously drawing them this way without realising why it looked right!

Anyhow, I think the only human-like reference for this is this sort of thing: [link] which have an erect stance as you said, as it'd be a pain to walk around with your knees bent all the time!
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:iconkittythenekoalien:
KittyTheNekoAlien Featured By Owner May 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
i didn't know that bit there! considering i have two digitigrade alien species i started thinking "aw crap", but i figured one of them was more prone to phasing back and forth from walking on two and four legs. my Numari species i suppose might be one of those that hadn't gotten to more or less being more bipedal before getting technologically developed XD though i figured they would have some good leg muscles though :P the Numari legs stand somewhat straight as it is anyway though... the other species i figure they may or may not just walk on their toes out of habit? or maybe since they live in a desert and have hoof-like toes, they avoid the hot sand/ground doing that? *shot* idk, i'll figure something out for them XD or just kind of not mention that detail :X
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:iconodeess:
OdeeSS Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
Thank you! I don't know why I feel like I'm always in the minority when it comes to digigrade anthros with strait backs and legs. In terms of werewolves, everyone wants the bent-knee hunched over look, claiming that it's supposed to help them keep their balance. Really?

Something you might want to add though: The larger a creature is, the straighter their legs. For example, a lion has less bends in their hind legs while standing as compared to a domesticated cat.
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:iconquazarshark:
QuazarShark Featured By Owner May 22, 2012
Totally awesome. I always wince when I see digitigrade furries or even quadrupeds with these huge "thigh pads". Sometimes it can work visually but it's always irritating to me. One of the most appealing digitigrate "anthro" designs to me are the way the cats are drawn in The Cat's Return. They actually look just like cats walking on their hind legs.

I really love how you compared the different locomotions with the different types of weight distribution, that never occurred to me before! Maybe you should make more of these. Maybe something about the principles of exoskeletal structure? It often bugs (ha) me to see exoskeletons treated as just.. I dunno.. armour or a strange type of skin.
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:iconnew-ray:
New-Ray Featured By Owner May 21, 2012
Now I know who to bring in as a scientific advisor if I make anything
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:iconpropheteka:
ProphetEKA Featured By Owner May 21, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Neat! = )
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:iconcharce:
charce Featured By Owner May 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Have to agree with DeathByViola, it is extremely helpful, along with me having the same problem.

It seems so simple, yet i'm surprised I haven't thought of it! Wonderful tutorial.
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:icondeathbyviola:
DeathByViola Featured By Owner May 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my god.. O.O This is amazing and extremely helpful. I've always wanted to draw digigrade but fail terribly everytime and this will undoubtably help. I thank you tremendously for posting this.
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