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JazzTheTiger's avatar

Jazz's simplified guide to 'bat-wing' anatomy

My response to DA's creature wing tutorial prompt Roll Eyes 
I saw too many entries that just don't seem to grasp how wings work and the tutorial's focus on triangles doesn't help people understand anything.
I hope this helps someone. The wings have the same bones as our own arms/hands/fingers, just in different proportions, if you can understand how your own arms/hands move then you can draw believable wings!
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© 2021 JazzTheTiger
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ZoraTheTwilightDrake's avatar

As much as I love dragons, I hate drawing the wings. Bats aren't much easier, since dragon wings are basically bat wings. :P

I'd draw my persona, Zora, more if it wasn't for the wings. ^^;

horse14t's avatar

This is good but still quite dragon-like :P

First, the bones that make up the palm in bats are actually part of the wing. The 3rd knuckle (the part of the digit that holds the nail) is either missing entirely or ends in a claw. Your wrist is also to low. The wrist is actually the "Palm"-looking area.


Second you're missing the fifth digit, the Index Finger which to be fair can be hard to see on many bat photos. This finger is smaller than the middle finger and helps support the end of the membrane.

Bats always have 5 fingers.

You can see it better in these photos:


Third you are missing the membrane that spans between the wrist and the shoulder. This part of the membrane is crucial to the wing anatomy as it provides more stability to the wing and creates more area. All flying animals in real life have this membrane. Even birds though it's not as obvious in them at a first glance.

A fourth thing is that bat skin is transparent which is due to them lacking a fat layer in their skin which helps save weight. Of coarse that means that the drawer needs to know bone and muscle anatomy which is difficult so most of the time this slides :P

I've recently done this with an alicorn design I did:

Black Flyer

Of coarse I took liberties and limited him to 3 digits as he is an odd-toed ungulate and 3 digits is the most common number in early horses but I used several pictures of bat wings for it. Especially the muscle anatomy.

Hope this helps for any future wing anatomy things :)

JazzTheTiger's avatar

I knew someone was gonna pipe in with a 'it's not anatomically correct' type comment. Nice addition, though I was aiming this tutorial for the beginner artists that made up the majority of the creature wing entries, so being info-dumped on anatomy is probably not going to help them.

Hunter-hero-Girl's avatar

I've actually figured that, but I like the wing design tho :3

lil-saturn9's avatar

Thank you for this. Too many times have I wished for something like this to look to.

CosmicSpitfire's avatar

Thanks for the visuals 👍

Up until recently I've had trouble drawing wings, then after looking at a bunch of other drawings and pictures for reference, I noticed they're basically just arms with really long fingers.

DesdemonaDeBlake's avatar

Lovely! Thank you 😀

EagleWolfFox's avatar

Would be helpful for bats

JazzTheTiger's avatar

the arm-wing concept applies to bats, birds, pteradactyls, dragons, demons etc.

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