A very rough guide complete with sketches about how I personally draw fawnlings, and a little bit more about the mechanics of them and how they work. I've also included some drawing tips if you get stuck.
Disclaimer: I have avoided making a decisive chart of characteristics for some time now as I fully recognize my fawnlings are drawn in my own style, they're stylized and they're supposed to be. They're fantastical creatures, and were meant to be represented as such by the artists who draw them in their own creative style, however here are a few notes that will hopefully aid in understanding how they work.
- Normally I don't like circles to draw heads, however because fawnlings have a much shorter muzzle than horses do, it works for placement and jaw shape.
- Their heads are quite small comparative to their bodies, generally with a concave profile and tapering size (the nose is the smallest point).
- Aside from large eyes and a deer nose, they also have scent glands on their cheeks like deer do.
- I tend to use sweeping lines and ovals to map out my ears, but their shape can vary greatly from long to short, fat to thin, pointed to round.
- Unlike horse ears, they tend to be larger (larger even than deer ears) though this too varies. Also unlike horse ears, they taper to a much smaller join, and are highly dexterous.
- This trait is a real mix of horse and deer characteristics, however it is important to observe its anatomical construction is very much horse-ish. My inspiration for these tends to be Bambi style necks, and there's a very good reason for this. Deer have necks that are set much lower on the chest than horses and tends to slope down again before going up, reflecting the generally very, very downhill build of your average deer. The effect is similar to that of a ewe-necked horse - it looks unbalanced with the fawnling's longer, horse-like necks and generally looks ungainly and unattractive. Instead, their necks resemble a horse far more in that they are set higher on the chest and slope directly upward from the withers; much like Bambi-style deer who cheerfully ignore the less-attractive deer neck for the sake of a more noble artistic representation.
- Necks are also a very good indicator of body type on a fawnling; much like deer they store a lot of their bulk (fat) on their necks, in both males and females (unlike deer). Though the contrast is more apparent in stags who also have more muscle and testosterone to fuel a cresty neck, as a general rule their neck sets are actually quite arabian and fine in the lighter builds, with clean throat latches and straighter lines. As the body types progress to the heavier builds, and more mass is added to the neck, there is also more fat giving a puffed out appearance on the underside of the neck similar to a deer. All types medium-heavy and above will have a quite pronounced neck of this type, and very thick, with mediums resembling a thicker horse neck. Light types tend to have long, willowy necks with little fat.The length also tends to resemble horses, however not in relation to head to neck ratio, with does typically having longer necks than stags who need stouter necks to withstand forceful impact during rut. Light type stags who fight during rut can be paralyzed or killed if their necks are too long or thin, effectively helping to breed out this trait.
- This tends to be rather more compact and shorter than your typical horse, and reflects a mostly even or slightly uphill topline. The hock joints on the hind legs and flexible hips allow them to drop their weight and add height to their leaps, which can result in a misleading representation of conformation similar to a horse being parked out at a show.
- Drawing tip: it is easier to make a stag look more masculine by a deeper chest and more angled stomach similar to a Thoroughbred, whereas does more feminine by creating a rounder, more even belly (in relation to the stiffle and elbow).
- As a general rule, females born of the same herd tend to be a full hand or more shorter than their male counterparts, and their heights tend to range around the lower hand of a herd's spectrum.
- Fawnlings have cloven hooves like deer, meaning that unlike horses each hoof has two seperate toes, not one. No where are these two hooves connected to form one singular hoof like a horse and resemble a deer's hoof in most ways.
- They also have dew claws on their hocks, which are residual bony growths made of the same material as the hooves.
- The joints tend to be slimmer than on horses, and the hoof the same width as the fetlock.
- Again, not a horse nose but a deer nose. These tend to be quite small and taper to a point. The mouth is small with a very thin lower jaw.
- Deer do not actually have teeth on their upper jaw, however fawnlings have teeth resembling horses (upper and lower teeth).
- These can grow on males or females, however it is a more common trait in stags where almost all have them.
- Females typically do not grow more than a single prong, however males tend to have theirs split into two or even three prongs from a central point.
- Horns always grow from a central point in the forehead, and are shed each year to regrow larger.