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Rats are very fascinating little creatures. They have small hands like humans, minus the thumbs. They are intelligent and social, and each rat has a unique personality. They can also easily stand on their hind legs, making them an easy transition to an anthropomorphic form for stories and art.

Unfortunately, though, they are damn difficult to draw, and there are precious few resources for those wishing to delve into their anatomical structure (certainly me included). So I will be collecting references, both photos and drawings, that I think might be helpful to someone looking to draw my charming friend Rattus norvegicus (and perhaps some of his closest family members). I will probably add to this from time to time as I find new resources, so please feel free to suggest things that you think might be useful!


Scans from "An Illustrated Dissection Guide to the Rat," by Allen Kurta
Lineart only, these are not gory
Rat Skeleton: i181.photobucket.com/albums/x2…
Rat Muscles, Ventral View: i181.photobucket.com/albums/x2…
Rat Muscles, Lateral View: i181.photobucket.com/albums/x2…
Rat Muscles, Shoulder: i181.photobucket.com/albums/x2…


Rat Musculature Sketches, from fastol.com
Linked from tumblr, suggested by kaijae
scientificillustration.tumblr.…


Rat Skeletal Drawing
Suggested by kaijae
www.apuche.org/OIA/Diagram%20I…


3D Rat Anatomy Model
Unfortunately, the download model is expensive, but the sample images are still well worth a look
Suggested by kaijae and Duzloo
www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/a…,


Rat X-ray GIF
Suggested by LannVouivre
i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/689765708…


DA Artists with Rat Stock Photos for Reference
Suggestions by DawnFrost and myself
:iconpandemoniumfire:
Her rat gallery is here: pandemoniumfire.deviantart.com…
:iconnickistock:
No dedicated rat section, just browse her gallery


Rat feet by phantompanther-stock
Reference - Rat Feet 01 by phantompanther-stock


Rat Drawing Guide by Deskleaves
Drawing rats by Deskleaves


Rat Tutorial by NezuPanda
Rat Tutorial by NezuPanda


Drawing Rats: Some pointers by Deskleaves
Drawing Rats: some pointers by Deskleaves


Add a Comment:
 
:icondsfisher:
dsfisher Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Could you do the same thing for other animals like bats, or lions
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2015
I might consider it for more uncommonly drawn animals like bats, but I probably wouldn't bother to compile an anatomy list for something like wolves or lions that are drawn, filmed, and photographer so regularly. It's really easy to find plenty of useful anatomy references for lions just by googling "lion anatomy for artists." :)
Reply
:iconspazzincat:
SpazzinCat Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
this is great, it's difficult to find good rat references. :)
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2015
Oh man, I feel your pain in trying to find rat references! So difficult, and it's challenging to get a grasp on their anatomy just from looking at photos (too much cute fur and fat obscuring the muscles and bones). I hope you'll find these helpful, and feel free to let me know if you come cross anything I don't have listed! I would love to add more. :)
Reply
:iconridollstix:
ridollstix Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012
This is so helpful! Thanks so much for putting this together!
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
No problem! I'm glad that you found it useful. :)
Reply
:iconthumperduck:
Thumperduck Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
this is useful! I never expect rats to be hard to draw until I actually try it, and it doesn't look right ^^;
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012
They are definitely more difficult to draw than you would initially expect! I have live models at home, and I still have a hard time with their strange anatomy sometimes. :lol:
Reply
:iconthumperduck:
Thumperduck Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
well, I expect live models are better than the rubber one I've got =P good thing for me I don't draw rats a lot, I guess :laughing:
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012
At least the rubber ones stay still! :lol: My girls aren't exactly the best models. They spend most of their time either spastically running about or hiding other things while they nap.
Reply
:iconthumperduck:
Thumperduck Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Solution: become a magician :nod:
"I snap my fingers, and you will pose as I tell you too!"
Reply
:iconliciandragon:
LicianDragon Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! I have two boys of my own and even with seeing them everyday they are very difficult to draw! This will help a lot :)
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012
Oh, same here, I have three girls... and it is still very difficult to get a grasp on their anatomy. It seems that they are either always in motion or curled up asleep somewhere, and neither of those things is conducive to drawing them. And they have so much fur and pudge that gets in the way of their muscular structure. :lol:
Reply
:iconliciandragon:
LicianDragon Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That and anytime you pull out a camera they either turn their butts towards you or shove their noses in the lens! :laughing:
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012
Ha ha, yeah, I probably have dozens and dozens of photos that are just blurry nose-blobs. :D
Reply
:icontsuuretsu2unabara:
Tsuuretsu2Unabara Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012
A stunning compendium.
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012
I hope it will be useful! :)
Reply
:iconnikitareid:
nikitareid Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I own 5 ratties :D i adore them <3 and yes they are very difficult anatomy wise to draw :O
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
I also have rats! But only three. I love them very much... but they are NOT very good at posing for me. :lol: And they are deceptively hard to draw! I'll start drawing the legs and chest, and it's like, "where does everything connect??"
Reply
:iconnikitareid:
nikitareid Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Omg i agree! The hardest part is the neck area. How the chest and head/back connect. It's so crazy to draw :C
Reply
:iconteddybearsandravers:
TeddyBearsAndRavers Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I LOVE RATS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
Me, too. :)
Reply
:iconteddybearsandravers:
TeddyBearsAndRavers Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I have had tons of rats in the past. My current rats name is ghost
Reply
:iconexillior:
Exillior Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Your journal and its title made me think of my close friend who's doing a masters on rat teeth. :B
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
That actually sounds really awesome, ha ha! Rats are such fascinating little creatures, there's no end of interesting things to study and learn about them. Is your friend doing something on rat teeth composition or evolution?
Reply
:iconexillior:
Exillior Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
She's doing a project on evolution. :nod: It's all about rat teeth, rat skulls, and whether their behaviours and environment caused the changes, or vice versa whether their behaviours and environment are a result of their teeth and skull conformation. Or something like this. :paranoid:
Reply
:iconverrilo:
Verrilo Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012
Wow what great resources! Thank you for posting this.
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
My pleasure! I hope you find it useful. :)
Reply
:iconakaruiookami1279:
AkaruiOokami1279 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
wow these will deffo help in some shape or form, plan on doing a rat comic one day soon myself, and this may help alot. i tend to just take pics of my own rats in positions i need to draw... though sometimes they are not helpful and have to search the web :P have many pic of rats in my albums if refs are needed :)
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
Ooh, that's awesome! Let me know if you get started on your rat comic. I would love to read it. :)

Ha ha, I have three live models, too... but they are not very good at holding poses, unfortunately. They are either running about like little spazzes, or curling up under a blanket to nap.

(The rat in your avatar is really cute, by the way)
Reply
:iconakaruiookami1279:
AkaruiOokami1279 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i shall do :) i cant wait to start it.

yeah rats dont like to co-operate, one of mine sandy was trained, was able to get her to stand up and that, but shes turned very ill lately :( the rest prefer to run round like nuts haha.

thanks, she is sweet pea,i was laying down for ages to get a pic like that
Reply
:icondragon-dragonics:
Dragon-Dragonics Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I have rat named Mallymkun. I've had seval rats.
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2012
That's a cute name! Rats do make really wonderful pets. I have three of my own. :)
Reply
:iconmalovanefox:
Malovanefox Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks so much! This will be extremely helpful.

Rats are so cute <3
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012
You're welcome! I hope you'll find it useful. :)
Reply
:iconslipping-star:
Slipping-Star Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
I just keep my rats squishy. Can you imagine a buff rat. :icondisturbedplz:
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012
Ha ha, it would probably look something like the mouse on the right in this photo: [link] It has a myostatin-limiting mutation that causes it to grow huge muscles! Buff rodents. :D
Reply
:iconslipping-star:
Slipping-Star Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
OH GOD NO. MY EYES. :iconeyebleedplz:
Reply
:iconuncreativeusername7:
UncreativeUsername7 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012
Hehe, I have an old man rat. He's perfectly happy to let me draw him while he snoozes. He also doesn't mind to let me hold his little feet to see them. c:
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2012
Aw, you're lucky! My girls are super-active. I can't get them to sit still and pose for anything. :lol:
Reply
:iconenaxn:
Enaxn Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OH LORD YES. Thank you so much for this! :heart:
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012
Ha ha, no problem! I hope you'll find it useful. Those little devils can be so difficult to draw. :lol:
Reply
:iconnoob16:
Noob16 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for making this journal! I love rats and I have two pet rats myself but I can never draw them right. So, yeah thanks again, this is very helpfull.
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012
No problem, I'm glad that you found it useful! Ha ha, it can be really difficult to draw rats from life. They're usually in motion. :lol:
Reply
:iconraichulolrat:
Raichulolrat Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I LOVE RATTTSSSS!!!! :D :heart:
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2012
Me, too. :)
Reply
:iconpandemoniumfire:
pandemoniumfire Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks :heart: Never thought that I would be featured as a reference, lol. I've always found some very helpful links at the same time!
Reply
:iconmoonsongwolf:
MoonsongWolf Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2012
My pleasure! Thank you for sharing your beautiful rat photos. Especially the "rats in motion" photos. I found those very helpful in seeing just how a rat runs and jumps. I hope that other people will enjoy them as well. :)
Reply
:iconpandemoniumfire:
pandemoniumfire Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2012  Student General Artist
I always thought I was spamming people with those photos but it's good to here they are helpful because I've got plenty more different ones in storage XD
Reply
:iconbyowt:
ByoWT Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012
Thanks for sharing! definitely helpful
Reply
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