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Agression vs Fear in Wolves cheat sheet: Snarls by KFCemployee Agression vs Fear in Wolves cheat sheet: Snarls by KFCemployee
edit 8:20pm: o god, 260+ favorites in 5 hours is alarming orig08.deviantart.net/4dd8/f/2…

I've been wanting to put something like this together for a while! There are already a few good illustrations of wolf behavior but I decided to make one specifically for the face. 

It's easier to understand the information when paired with writing, I think! Hope it's useful to some of you :) 


When trying to draw an aggressive or angry wolf, try to avoid the "aggressive fear" smile. This implies that the animal's afraid or submissive as well as angry, which might conflict with the scene you're trying to show. The horizontal smile is not "super angry" or a rage form. Pfbbtbtbtt :iconthumbsdownplz:

Real photos showing the difference:
Afraid: img11.deviantart.net/28bf/i/20…
orig12.deviantart.net/4e73/f/2…

Agressive: img05.deviantart.net/c798/i/20…
orig02.deviantart.net/2248/f/2…


My very helpful reference: rogerabrantes.files.wordpress.…
From "Dog Language", by Roger Abrantes 

Other relevant work:
Fixing canine teeth and common anatomy errors by KFCemployeeCanine teeth study by KFCemployee
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:iconcanislux:
CanisLux Featured By Owner May 15, 2017  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for clearing this up for me, I'll save it for reminders later
Reply
:iconhometownz:
hometownz Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2016
ahahhg thank u for this... i always have a hard time portraying dominance and submission in wolves, it helped a lot n ill be sure to look back at it
Reply
:iconmissgingercatyoutube:
Brilliant!
Reply
:iconcowgirlsofcanada:
CowgirlsOfCanada Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
this is so accurate
me and my fam have some wolves near by and weve been tracking them so its great to have this
:D
Reply
:iconimahungrynacho:
ImAHungryNacho Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So helpful! :la:

This really helps with wolf expressions, great job! :D
Reply
:icon8pumpchai:
8PumpChai Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
... I've been doing it wrong!

Thanks for the clarification! 
Reply
:iconvirtualdesignervixen:
VirtualDesignerVixen Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing this!
Reply
:iconronthewolf:
RonTheWolf Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
this is really great! actually better than my study material , which  is poor of examples/ images in general. I´d like to point out here that in agression, only the first part of bakc is bristled while if beeing scared and unsure, the whole back is bristled. 
I like how you showed the direct and no direct eye contact, its sometimes looking like they made eye contact but actually not really do
Reply
:iconpaviblack05:
paviblack05 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Best tutorial :D
Reply
:icongekidomamoru:
GekidoMamoru Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2015  Student General Artist
Damn this helped!
Reply
:iconbludfang:
Bludfang Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I really wish the one comic I watch on here saw this and corrected the use of anatomy in their comic. Thank you for making this!
Reply
:iconamethystsadachbia:
AmethystSadachbia Featured By Owner May 31, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Good to know for all the Elfquest wolves I'm going to be drawing! :D
Reply
:iconneko-systeme:
neko-systeme Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015
People tend to have difficulty to make the difference x')
Including me ! I didn't know there was a difference in the « smile »
Thanks for this !
Reply
:iconlunewen:
Lunewen Featured By Owner Edited Apr 19, 2015
This picture is perfect !! Thank you very much for sharing ! :)
Reply
:icon77th-role-player:
77th-Role-Player Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2015
Glad to see that these are actually correct. So many people get this wrong! I've seen it time and again not only with my my own dogs but with dogs that I work with on a daily basis  (dog and wolf behaviour are almost identical). So, well done! Clap 
Reply
:iconreliikkiart:
reliikkiART Featured By Owner May 9, 2015  Student General Artist
identical? i REALLY have to disagree with that. 
Reply
:iconsecretsofthenalco:
SecretsoftheNalco Featured By Owner May 22, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
They are pretty close. The only thing that is not identical is the wild behavior in domesticated dogs. But feral and sometimes stray dogs have the tendencies to act like their wild relative/ancestor. This is mostly seen in feral dogs.
Reply
:iconreliikkiart:
reliikkiART Featured By Owner May 23, 2015  Student General Artist
I still disagree with that. they have similarities, but if we look at wolves as pets compared to dogs, they are VERY different
Reply
:iconsecretsofthenalco:
SecretsoftheNalco Featured By Owner May 23, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
They are, but ferals can still act/look like a wolf. But it is an opinion, sort of.
Reply
:icondomisea:
Domisea Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015  Student General Artist
I't cool to learn, though also I find it sad that you can use these expressions properly in your works, but only people with some knowledge about it will understand character's emotions x-x
Reply
:iconsidonie:
Sidonie Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
This is fantastic!  I've been trying to make one of these for ages.  Great job, very helpful! :D
Reply
:iconsketchcreativele:
SketchcreativeLe Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2015  Student Filmographer
I would be a lot safer when knowing what the wolves' body languages are. Sweet research!
Reply
:iconcylera15:
Cylera15 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I loooove your work! Sometime in the future, would you be interested in an art trade?
Reply
:iconnishanashoba:
NishaNashoba Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This will be very helpful for me; just earlier today I was trying to figure this exact thing out! Thank you! :D
Reply
:iconkayxer:
Kayxer Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
FUCKING LOVE THIS OK!!!! YES A++++
Reply
:iconmitsunethekitsune:
MitsuneTheKitsune Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Wo-hooo, thanks! It's very helpful! :)
Reply
:icontienala:
Tienala Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist
thank you! :D it's awesome  :D
Reply
:iconfluffy-okami:
Fluffy-Okami Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
The difference between the first two had some things I actually didn't know.  I love how you include the spiked up fur around the neck and when it should be flat. :)  You've posted a lot of helpful things like this, thank you!
Reply
:iconjenny2-point-0:
Jenny2-point-0 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can not express how much the Aggressive fear bugs me. when people draw a bad ass character bring fear full aggressive it annoys me so much. So glad this tutorial is out there now XD
Reply
:icongibbagobba:
Gibbagobba Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015
This is very interesting. I'm always astounded by the work of those who study the behavior and psychology of animals. Wolves and the like really do have a language all their own.
Reply
:iconsundale2:
Sundale2 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015
A good bit of info for artists, writers (who have wolves/dogs in their stories), and the general public even.  Nicely done too.
Reply
:iconswitcheto:
SwitchetO Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a good ref for people who want to draw and even people who own dogs or wolves or coyotes. It scares me how often I have seen a dog get smacked by it's owner for "snarling" at them when the dog was just conveying severe fear and disagreement with it's treatment. If the alpha is too harsh, the teeth almost always show wether or not the animal is actually being aggressive or trying to "smile" it's way out of a terrifying situation.
Reply
:iconbear-hybrid:
Bear-hybrid Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A great resource :D
Reply
:iconkahlawolf:
KahlaWolf Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is excellent and SO true! Something I am guilty of not following. ;A; Fantastic guide!!!
Reply
:iconvalentinesire:
ValentinesIre Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015
You should make more of these helpful tips and tricks! They are super helpful :)
Reply
:iconkfcemployee:
KFCemployee Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:D Oooh, i'd like to make more stuff like this! Glad you like them! 
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:iconfoxllet:
Foxllet Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
very helpful! Thanks for making this! :D
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:iconkfcemployee:
KFCemployee Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
eee yay! :) you're welcome! It was a good learning experienced!
Reply
:iconwhalewolf:
WhaleWolf Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Well shit, I've been doing it all wrong! Nearly 10 years of drawing snarly woofs and I never noticed the difference. Thanks for the tutorial. Very helpful. :)
Reply
:iconkfcemployee:
KFCemployee Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"Well, shit", LOL! i used to draw them with the weird kinda snarls as well D: I know how ya feel hehe! Glad you liked it, friend! :) I'm happy to hear it's helpful!
Reply
:iconsakkali:
Sakkali Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Student General Artist
Thanks so much for the helpful tutorial ♥
Reply
:iconkfcemployee:
KFCemployee Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're very welcome! I hope it helps :D
Reply
:iconhorserxdish:
horserxdish Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Student Digital Artist
This is an awesome reference. :)
Reply
:iconkfcemployee:
KFCemployee Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:) Thanks! I'm glad you think so!
Reply
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