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Ciameth's Wing Tutorial by Ciameth Ciameth's Wing Tutorial by Ciameth
I finally finished my wings and flight tutorial! Feel free to download it for personal use, but please do not repost this tutorial without my permission.

One thing to keep in mind is that my drawing of the flight muscles has been modified to allow you to see the supracoracoideus. In real life, it would be packed under the pectoralis, which would touch the furcula. The furcula is springy and absorbs energy as the flight muscles push against it; it also serves as a brace to support the thoracic skeleton during flight.

In the reference folder of my gallery, you'll find a few other tutorials and lots of bird reference, including one on raptor feet, which might be of interest to people drawing hawks, gryphons, etc:… The rest of my photography is not stock. If you want to sketch from my pictures, that's fine--just credit the original photo if you upload your drawing online.

The Feather Atlas is a growing resource of high quality feather scans by the US Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory. It is a great place to learn about feather shapes, particularly if you want to compare the difference in shape between the feathers on two very different types of birds (like a seagull and sparrow).…

Some slow-motion videos of birds can be found at these links. Youtube uploader Ultraslo is an especially good resource:………………

My raptor foot reference: 
Ciameth's Raptor Foot Ref by Ciameth
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Grav3soul Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Super Helpful!! thanks for sharing these and those refs XD
Lamerez Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
so helpful!!!
Windsweep Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You mentioned that the changes that would have to be made to a gryphon for it to fly would be very drastic and completely change how it looks; what would those changes be? I'm not necessarily looking to draw something that looks like a gryphon, so I'm interested in how to have it make more physical sense. 
Ciameth Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
The weight would have to be centered beneath the wings; a gryphon's feline hindquarters would have to be very lean and minimized, and the tail feathers would need extra surface area to make up for the drag caused by the hind legs.  The musculature and skeletal attachments of the wing would probably all have to be in front of the forelimbs like I did in the first little doodle, not split around the forelimbs like I did on the sketch of my gryphon character Valcauroch.  Maximum size would probably be no bigger than a housecat, as the heaviest flying birds are ~40lb (Kori Bustards).  Much heavier than that and wing size cannot increase enough to lift the weight without adding so much weight it negates the larger surface area.
Balron Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
This will help me drawing my birdmen. :3  Thank you for this.
MooshuFezrit Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
This is brilliant! Thank you so much :3
mononokehoshie Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing your knowledge!! :hug:
Sundale2 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2016
Probably the best reference I've found yet for going from the fact to the fictional.  This is going to be a big help as I work on my own fantasy (or in my case, sci-fi) creatures.  Thank you.
roxy0908 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2016
I've been interested in human-bird hybrids (kind of like a more human-looking Harpy. the one from mythology, not the actual bird-)) lately and I've been wondering: where would the wings be placed so they are anatomically correct? How large to do you think the wings would be?

Of course, a lot of things would be different; hollow, honey-comb like bones, a larger chest because of the enlarged sternum and a bigger heart, feathers scattering the back, a bird tail for a rudder (probably reaching down to around the lower section of the thigh), etc.
ToAtoneArt Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2015  Professional Writer
This is very helpful. The book series 'Tales of Atonement' has an alien race called Aldre that have bird wings of differing shapes and sizes. I've been doing pigeon wings all wrong... v_v
Flaurel Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your tutorial is one of the most specific tutorial in DA! It contain many details which we need to know before drawing, this is reaally cool!
Could you please give me the permission to translate it to a Chinese version?

The tutorial will be uploaded to this site:[], it's our(me and my three friends) personal blog with tutorials translated from English and Japanese.
the Chinese version will totally show what you written in English, and will not revise and changed any contains(like watermark) except the sentences. 
If it is okay, we will reply you a link after upload the Chinese version.
Ciameth Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Sure, you may translate it.
Flaurel Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks so much! When we finished we will message you.
Remiaro Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2015  Student General Artist
So cool C: This will make for great bird wing practice. Thank you <3
Skypeoplephoenix732 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
this is wonderful! I can hardly wait to put this into practice :)
enelem Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015
I find it very helpful, and easy to understand. Thank you for the sharing!
Zerrinth Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015
Very helpful and beautiful artwork!
Aka-san Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank youuuu !
poyan2581 Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2015
It's clear! Thank you for sharing.
ewmh1 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for sharing your knowledge :D It really means a lot!
Onjii Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2015
I love this! thanks by the way. don't know how to draw my char winged
Kuwaizair Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2014
i still can't wing and don't practice and try but apparenty harping on people for lack of anatomy is bullying so I guess I don't need to, even in professional venues
Momojiro Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Student Writer
This is really great :)
so helpful and wonderful!
windycityparrot Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2014
Greetings I'm seeking permission to post this image on our blog…

thank you
Ciameth Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You may provide a link to it, but I would prefer the image not be uploaded.
Chockie84 Featured By Owner May 23, 2014
This is great! Thanks for sharing this... 
fireytika Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2014  Professional General Artist
awesome~!! Thanks for sharing this amazing tutorial!!
koonmo Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is an amazing tutorial! You clearly know a lot about wings, so I have a question for you. One of my characters has feathered wings and I am struggling in deciding what bird to base her wings off of. I was going to chose a peregrine falcon for the speed aspect, but you said here they aren't incredibly maneuverable. I'm looking for her to be able to fly quickly, but her greatest ability should be her agility. She can perform hairpin turns and the like. What wing shape would you suggest? 
Ciameth Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Perhaps look at kites and rollers; they are among the most agile predators in the bird world.  Kites have long, narrow (but not particularly pointed wings)… and long tails.  Rollers have shorter, rounder wings with pointed tips… and a long tail.  Not as good at soaring as a kite (which are good at hovering), but they're masters at hairpin turns.
koonmo Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow thank you for the quick reply! Both are beautiful thank you so much! I shall go do some more research on both and then decide. 
Glori305 Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2013
This is awesome, been looking at bird (and bat) wings working on my wings (for sculpts) and some of your "commone mistakes" have been my downfall, nicely done!
Opearl Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This is by far the best wing tutorial I've seen! Thank you!
NaniLam Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2013  Student General Artist
WWWWWWOOOOOOOWWWWW *o* amazing tutorial!!!!!!!
favorite adds ^^
Alalein Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Student General Artist
WOW! This is awesome :D
Thanks a lot for sharing
eshipsey Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013
Oh goodness. Thank you so much! I freaked out with happiness throughout your entire tutorial. :D
BAMillustration Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Professional General Artist
This is amazing! The part about birds was helpful enough on its own, but then I see the added bonus of a griffin tutorial! Thanks so much for doing this, it made designing a (believable!) griffin a lot easier!
Ciameth Featured By Owner May 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Glad you liked it!
Merrowsong Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is so helpful--thanks so much!
IXAmXDeathXBee Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013
This is great! I'm going to check out the rest of you gallery to see what other neat stuff you have :D
Clashe Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
:O Man this is really comprehensive. Thank you!
Neonyal Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is just the tutorial I've been looking for, birds come in different sizes and shapes after all, especially the wings :) Thank you so much!
aliphelps Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
This is amazing. I'm going to favourite it for future reference. Wings have always given me trouble, and so I really appreciate you taking the time to make a tutorial.
Zerucune Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow! This is such a handsome way to show how to draw wings. Thank you a lot for this!
Phantomet Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Gotta start drawing wings now!
Anevis Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Yay! Thanks
gaturora Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
This has been really helpful. Hats off for creating an amazing tutorial.
Henva Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
this is brilliant!
teh-silver-wolfeh Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Student General Artist
I think wings are some of the most commonly mis-drawn things in art, but this tutorial is really wonderful and gets the basics down nicely <3 I love it!
Ze-Platygrapsus-Girl Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very helpful !
BringBackTheDawn Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very nice work. I came here looking for feathers, found 'em, and learned how to draw my dragons' legs while in flight! (one of the things I can't ever draw right) So thanks! :+fav:
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Submitted on
September 21, 2011
Image Size
4.3 MB


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