How to Create a Fantasy Animal in Scratch

By Derek Breen

In Scratch, you do not always need to start with a blank page (or blank Stage) when you want to create a new character like a fantasy animal, such as a hippogriff. Start by doing the basics:

  1. If you are online, click Create in the blue toolbar. If offline, select File→New.

  2. Name your project. (Online, type Hippogriff into the Untitled text box; offline, select File→Save As and type Hippogriff.)

  3. Delete that cat by selecting the Scissors and clicking the cat or by right-clicking the cat and choosing Delete.

Look in the Sprite Library

You need to start with a good sprite from the Sprite Library and then gradually modify the sprite until you have a spot-on hippogriff. The horse in the Sprite Library is a bit too cartoony, so begin with the unicorn instead.

  1. Click the Choose Sprite from Library icon beneath the Stage.

  2. Find and double-click the Unicorn sprite. (Click the Fantasy category to reduce the number of choices.)

  3. Click the Info button (on the sprite icon beneath the Stage) and change the name to Hippogriff.

  4. Click the Back button (white triangle on blue circle).

  5. Click the Costumes tab.

  6. Click the Grow tool (above the Scripts, Costumes, and Sounds tab).

  7. Click the unicorn (soon to be a hippogriff) 12 times.

  8. Click the Convert to Bitmap button.

    image0.jpg

What was that all about!? The Unicorn sprite is a vector graphic, which means you can zoom in as much as you want and it will still look smooth. But you did not zoom; you used Grow to make the unicorn bigger before converting it to a bitmap graphic. So why did you have to convert it? Actually, you are sticking to the bitmap painting tools because they are a bit easier to work with.

How can you tell if your sprite is a bitmap or a vector graphic? Look at the bottom-right corner of the Paint Editor. Also if the painting tools are on the left, then you are in Bitmap mode. (And, if the painting tools are on the right? Yes, Vector mode, baby!) Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it!

Groom your fantasy animal

If we are going to transform this cuddly unicorn into a ferocious hippogriff, that rainbow tail has to go, along with rainbow mane, ear, and horn! You can use the Erase tool, but you might find using the Select tool to delete parts of sprites easier and quicker.

  1. Click the Erase tool.

  2. Use the Line Width slider to increase the size of the eraser.

  3. Click the Zoom In button once to zoom to 200%.

  4. Click and drag to erase the tail, mane, ear, and horn (unless you want a unigriff!?!).

    Reduce the size of the eraser when you need to remove smaller areas.

    image1.jpg

If you are using a laptop trackpad, you might find it easier to draw and erase more accurately if you use both hands. Right-handed? Click and hold the trackpad button with your left index finger and then use your right middle finger to control the cursor. It’s a bit like finger-painting. Try it out.

Add a new tail

When the cutesy bits of your sprite are gone, you can change the color from white to a more hippogriff color and use the Brush tool to draw a tail back in, erase the head and front hooves with the Erase tool, and then draw eagle parts to your beast.

  1. Click the Fill with Color tool.

  2. Choose the Solid option.

  3. Pick the color swatch you wish to use (bright yellow).

  4. Click the body to fill it with the selected color.

  5. Click the Brush tool.

  6. Use the Line Width slider to adjust the line thickness.

  7. Click the black color swatch.

  8. Click and drag to draw a new tail.

  9. To reuse a color in your costume (say the hippogriff body color), use the Pick Up Color tool (to the right of the color swatches).

  10. Use the Fill with Color tool again to fill in the tail.

    image2.jpg

Paint the beak and claws

You should be getting the hang of the tools by now, so let’s speed things up a bit.

  1. Erase the front of the head and the front hooves.

  2. Paint the outline of an eaglelike head and front claws.

  3. Color in the new body parts.

    image3.jpg

Add wings and ferocious eyes

Your sprite should now be far more hippogriff than unicorn, but there are a couple more important touches: the wings and head features.

  1. Draw the outline of the wings.

  2. Color in the wings.

  3. Choose the black color swatch.

  4. Draw eagle eyes at an extreme slant to make your creature look more dangerous.

    The key to making your creature ferocious is to pay careful attention to the eyes.

    image4.jpg

Since it is your hippogriff, you can add as many additional details as you want (such as drawing a feathery texture across the front and horselike hair across the back).