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So Your Angels Have Bird Wings by squidlifecrisis So Your Angels Have Bird Wings by squidlifecrisis
My Only Piece by squidlifecrisisMy Only Piece by squidlifecrisisMy Only Piece by squidlifecrisisMy Only Piece by squidlifecrisisMy Only Piece by squidlifecrisis

Sept 25: bird wing folding animation + prep photos: Bio Animation: Wing Fold + Spread

May 22: edited as per :iconfalconsong:'s critique!  Thank you! :)

I had the primaries not quite lined up correctly on the folded ventral view--very minor edit, but important, so if anyone saved this for reference, go ahead and replace your copy with this version.
(And I changed some wording, but I'm sure someone will still find a way to whine about it bahaha)


This isn't a critique of angel anatomy.

This is a critique of bird wing anatomy.  Which can be critiqued objectively because it's a real thing.  One ought to understand bird wings before one goes gluing them onto humans.  Even good artists fall into this stunted-secondary-trap...................

I played with a lot of dead birds to get this information.  It's not in any other tutorials!  Go forth and use it, and lower everyone's blood pressure (or at least just mine).

why waist-wings don't work:
So Your Angel Has Waist Wings

8 Wing Sins Tutorial:
SQUID'S BOTTOM 8 WING SINS (A TUTORIAL)So like I said to the two people who aren't protesting the watch feed, I originally wrote this as a vicious rant, but it turns out I was redirecting anger from a RL thing.  rrr. 
But still.  These are annoying as hell.  If you see someone doing this junk, send them this.  It may be their only chance of salvation.
There are few things that can be said with absolute confidence that are true of all birds, but this is one of them: the flight feathers always stack the same way.

This can be confusing to remember, so keep a hand of cards next to you while you draw:

I'm so sick of seeing these homogenous walls of crap.
Feathers stack in a predictable, orderly manner, so just take thirty seconds and learn it.  If the phrase "dorsal median primary co

edit: to everyone having fits for various reasons: a small preview of the extent of my angel anatomy project
edit again: to everyone having fits specifically about pectorals: Check.

Want to use some aspect of my angel anatomy but aren't sure if you're referencing too much?  Read the FAQ!  Credit is appreciated but not required :)
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Flying-Girl Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2015  New Deviant
Angel wings are actually BIRD wings, only unnaturally white, with ugly pointy gaps that cause the weird secondary gap..

"Angel wings" is not the real name for feathered wings!
MR-DEWiiTT Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Very useful tutorial! :)
mimixDsKopfmeetsTisc Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, really helpful. =D
SliverAmethystWolf27 Featured By Owner May 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Finally someone else gets it.
SierraRace Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Well I was thinking about making Seraphim wings by using the ideal anatomy of bird wings although the wings would still and up then and flightless unless the wings were indeed made thick enough. My OC is suppose to be a Seraphim who can't quite fly. Guess that makes you wonder what hat wings are even good for.
LykosetheLycan Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Good note. -faves so I don't forget-
Kalia24 Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Hah, I see u went with angelic/bird wings the same way/reason I did my dragon tutorial xD
True that some ppl tend to do fantasy creatures totally fantasy, ignoring any real-world restrictions (like anatomy and physics). And it hurts. Especially when the art overall is great (good technique), but there's this... something that takes away all the pleasure of watching it. For me the major issue on dragons are stick (a.k.a. missing any muscles) wings.
starstrike1 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you thank you thank you, I've been trying to tell people this for forever! I've been drawing winged humaniods for a while, even wrote a fantasy book featuring them, and yet you never see realistic depictions of them. This is just great!
DoomScarf Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
When I saw the thumbnail, I thought that 'better than waist-wings' image had the wings of a sickle-winged nightjar.
JavaBeanJohnny Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Omigosh this is so good! I have wanted to make some pegasus fanart since I'm a brony, but with realistic wings!
Krzysiek2222 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014
sky99491 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014
this is awesome
animeShii-chan Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014  Student Filmographer
Never realized this! Awesome stuff !
xXNamaste Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ART-Rabbit Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2014   Digital Artist
helpfull :la:
Virune Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
this is really really helpful, thank you so much for putting this together!
i have always struggled with drawing wings because of all the little details ;_;
Raayner Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my gosh thank you I have been trying to understand wings on people for so long and all of your stuff is the clearest and most concise things I have ever seen. thank you so much this is so helpful
ChibiKera-chan Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2014  Student General Artist
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been searching for bird wing on humans tutorial  for my tengu character but it's hard to find anything that doesn't have angel wings. 
RobnRoll Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hmmm... doing the anatomy lifelike or showing angel butt... tough choice.
Hunting-wolf Featured By Owner May 30, 2014
Ha, I've never thought of this before! Great tutorial, thank you! :D
repliroid2 Featured By Owner May 30, 2014  Professional Artist
Thanks for the tutorial and references!
VeronaEspada Featured By Owner May 30, 2014  Student General Artist
Recently, I've been trying to do things like this. I suppose I'll keep this for safe-keeping.
CJCroen Featured By Owner May 25, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I-Have-Amazing-Wings Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
this makes perfectly normal senese in every way possible...
deadlyjusticelove Featured By Owner May 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I personally love this tutorial. I think I will use it in the future for my angels as a reference. OwO However, I will say that angel wings don't necessarily have to be anatomically correct. They are fantasy creatures after all. Considering anatomy can help make things seem more realistic, but you also have to consider the aesthetic component as well (which does vary with style). Your wings are a bit bulky and I think for some styles that really doesn't fit. So...I think calling people lazy when not considering bird anatomy for angel wings is a bit extreme. It's really just a personal preference and whatever suits your story and overall style more. :D Either way, I really admire your dedication and attention to detail. 
SerpentBlue Featured By Owner May 19, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Hehe this is great.
BadLamb Featured By Owner May 18, 2014
lol thid is why humanoid and wings were never meant to be
JocastaTheWeird Featured By Owner May 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is why Maximum Ride simply cannot be.
EvanescentIdeas Featured By Owner May 22, 2014
I just can't see the possibility of hiding these wings away... XD
Kamihanaki Featured By Owner May 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh wowie, thank you! This is super useful!
Bushitaka Featured By Owner May 17, 2014
Although i understand what you mean, i have to disagree with the 'missing secondaries' theory; have a look @ my wings…
windfalcon Featured By Owner May 16, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Hahahah YES. I am tired of seeing people draw folded angel wings with long primaries and NO secondaries, and then draw their wings outstretched and SURPRISE, the secondaries reappeared.
Lemonade4Jessa Featured By Owner May 16, 2014
Great tutorial, I think it's very useful and I don't see why people are saying that you're insulting styalised choices. I was wondering why the wings I was drawing were looking kinda... off. :) Thank you.
Prototype-LQ Featured By Owner May 15, 2014
Very useful!Thanks!
sketcherjak Featured By Owner May 14, 2014
Lol guilty!
ThatzThatz Featured By Owner May 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been saying the same thing for years! Thank you for making this! 
RikoSaruwatari Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Student General Artist
This one is really useful!! Thanks!!!
Shia-Neko-Chan Featured By Owner May 12, 2014
Not that I've ever drawn a winged character before (oh wait, nvm, I did draw one), but I totally like the fantasy wings much more than the less-attractive realistic ones.
Busciianniie Featured By Owner May 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I like fantasy wings more than the realistic ones too.
I draw ONLY fantasy wings, when it comes to draw winged characters and OCs.
kainkusanagi Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I get what you saying and your right about the way bird wings work, but if you put anatomically correct bird wings on a human he/she would trip on their wings when walking and running. The reason the secondary feathers are cut short is to allow for normal walking stride. But then again none of this matters because it's all fantasy.
Devildart Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ok first off thats really dumb because the primaries are LONGER than the secondaries when the wings are folded cutting them would do nothing at all.…

Secondly you essentially just used the it's my style excuse and tried to remove any blame for poor choices and bad anatomy because its fantasy when all fantasy has real life sources to use for reference
kainkusanagi Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, the primaries are longer, but they fold to the side of the human figure while the secondaries fold directly behind the legs. I'm going off of your diagrams, which shows the secondaries in folded position directly behind the legs and just above the feet.   While anatomically incorrect to shorten the secondaries, it makes practical sense to design it as such because a human with wings would want to be able to walk and run without catching their heals on feathers.

As for the "style excuse" art is, more than anything, subjective. What you call a poor choice another would prefer.

I myself don't actually care one way or the other. Your designs look great, but I don't mind the other design either. From an anatomical perspective you're right, but from an art design perspective nobody is wrong.
Devildart Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
ended up rambling again so sorry for the long comment and the fact theres probably a ton of repetition.

 i think you have me confused for the person who drew this. thats not me.

yeah no anatomically the secondaries when folded rest along your back further up than the primaries the primaries actually touch the ground ,and even then the primaries touching depends on your bird of choice. as for running THESE ARENT ATTACHMENTs AND THEY CAN EASILY MOVE THE WINGS WHILE RUNNING probably in a halfopen-halfclosed position above the back where they could easily take off if need be; esp since to take off youd need a running start anyways thatd just be extinct. theyre part of the body and arent decorations they have control over how they can hold their wings they arent taped on so no that would be completely unnecessary.
not to mention they could easily angle them or have a natural angle of them being held diagonally while walking so they don't drag or get in the way.

there are so many ways around this that actually work that the idea you have is just lazy, remember they grew up with these wings even before technology to cut them came about so clearly they know how to use/hold/not fall with them. unless theyre a child who just left the baby fuzz stage and ended up with larger wings then they need. don't think of these as people who suddenly grew limbs overnight or just regular humans. their body language and mannerisms etc. are completely different from our own simply because they were born with wings.

also clipping part of the wing is how you become unable to fly. thats why you clip the tips when you have a bird you don't want flying around everywhere; granted those are the primaries, which if clipped prevent the bird from gaining lift but still allow gliding, while secondaries being clipped prevent the bird from catching enough air to even glide.…

you don't get what the whole "it my style" thing comes from do you? the fact you're saying it's fantasy so it doesn't matter is essentially going you don't know how wings work so you made it up and don't care enough to try. you wouldn't use that excuse if it was a "oh i know i just prefer to draw them this way/ i know but this looked more aesthetically pleasing" you are blaming the fact its a fantasy as the sole reason why the wings don't look right. its a i don't need to know jack shit bout this BECAUSE its fantasy and thus no one can critique it. its not viable.  now if it actually was because you prefered to do so YOU WOULDNT FEEL THE NEED TO USE "ITS FANTASY" you would just say the actual reason should anyone say anything.

make a wing look like a wing, not a perfect one but enough so it looks decent .

most people who use its fantasy do so because they /dont/ know what theyre doing.  just save yourself the trouble and never say that because it means youre disregarding the fact theres a real world counterpart and that you don't need to have it resemble the counterpart at all. itd be like drawing a hippogriff and saying its a manticore or changing how the legs on a unicorn work because its fantasy and we "don't really know how they looked"
EmilyVelvette Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
My, my aren't we sensitive.
Devildart Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
what are you talking about i just ramble a lot... like seriously that was edited and i'm 90% sure i repeated the same sentence over 50 times my point still stands tho clipping=bad for winged humanoids

oh and you forgot a comma it's "My, my, aren't we sensitive" just pointing that out there since reading it felt very off until i noticed the fact that you only used it once essentially changing the structure.

oh look i rambled again
EmilyVelvette Featured By Owner May 14, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
There is a second comma there?
kittytiuri Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I never understood the gap so many people draw, not to mention the weird look of missing secondaries. How should a angel be able to fly with such meagre wings? Besides... it loos ugly wth those gaps.. thanks for pointing those mistakes out so well!
Azoresangel Featured By Owner May 11, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for this!!!!
Neonfluzzycat Featured By Owner May 11, 2014  Student Filmographer
Aaah I have so much trouble with wings this is really helpful thanks! :D
Sherapim Featured By Owner May 11, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks.. i learn something, since i like to draw angels (please check my gallery)
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