What should I be practicing?
This is a question for Will, Jake or anyone who knows, really...
My characters are all animals who are doing whimsical things. They're not realistic, but they're not cartoonish - they're somewhere in between (you can see them in my sketchbook here). I'd like to strengthen my ability to emphasize their form in anatomy through shading to create more drama and depth, so I'm wondering: should I be practicing sketching real animals or should I practice sketching my characters? Or both? (If both, what percentage of time should be spent on each?). Thank you for any insight!
I took a look at your work and they're more caricatured animals than cartoon characters. Personally, I do a lot of caricature work (mainly humans) and I spend as much time studying the anatomy and drawing from life as I do caricaturing. I think that to have that sense of realism, no matter how exaggerated your caricature is, is essential. The more you can understand about the underlying structure, the more you can get that sense of solidity to your drawings. Also studying real animal anatomy and drawing real animals you are going to have a lot easier time emphasising the form as you can understand the planes better in a real sense.
I'll second @Ace-Connell 's suggestion
Thanks so much @ace connell & @mattramsey - that was exactly what I needed to know!!