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Ciameth's Wing Tutorial

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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© 2011 - 2021 Ciameth
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MikaylaBD's avatar

Excellent tutorial! Definitely saving this. Thank you so much =)

Grav3soul's avatar
Super Helpful!! thanks for sharing these and those refs XD
Lamerez's avatar
so helpful!!!
Windsweep's avatar
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's avatar
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's avatar
This will help me drawing my birdmen. :3  Thank you for this.
MooshuFezrit's avatar
This is brilliant! Thank you so much :3
mononokehoshie's avatar
Thanks for sharing your knowledge!! :hug:
Sundale2's avatar
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's avatar
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's avatar
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's avatar
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's avatar
Sure, you may translate it.
Flaurel's avatar
thanks so much! When we finished we will message you.
Remiaro's avatar
So cool C: This will make for great bird wing practice. Thank you <3
Skypeoplephoenix732's avatar
this is wonderful! I can hardly wait to put this into practice :)
enelem's avatar
I find it very helpful, and easy to understand. Thank you for the sharing!
Zerrinth's avatar
Very helpful and beautiful artwork!
Aka-san's avatar
Thank youuuu !
poyan2581's avatar
It's clear! Thank you for sharing.
ewmh1's avatar
Thank you for sharing your knowledge :D It really means a lot!
Onjii's avatar
I love this! thanks by the way. don't know how to draw my char winged
Kuwaizair's avatar
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's avatar
This is really great :)
so helpful and wonderful!
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