Bears are related to seals, and when you start to draw them, it's easy to see why. Give yourself 5 points if you even knew seals had claws. Pinnipeds, a fancy name for seals, sea Lions, and walruses, are bears closest living relatives. Somewhere along the family line, nature said, "You know, I like all the cuteness going on here, but what I really want to favor are genes that run fast on land, and has a significant amount of badass. Behold: The bear."
Step 1: Shapes
Bear anatomy is bang-on identifiable. Strong jaws. Powerful bodies which are thick in the middle.
Step 2: Lines
So people who spend all day staring at animal feet, aren't you jealous of that job, have concluded that in addition to the powerful jaws and thick bodies, seals and bears also share feet. Both have five claws on each foot, both have the same basic bone structure and both are plantigrade (meaning that both the heel and toe touch the ground). Their claws are not retractable like your cat's, but they don't seem to have any trouble getting up a tree.
Step 3: Ink
Due to their size, bears typically walk on all fours but actually have no trouble standing upright. It comes back to how their feet are put together. The bigger the critter, the stiffer the shoes.
Step 4: Colour
So the next time you're forced to spend time at a family reunion and you're thinking, "How can I possibly be related to these people?!," just remember, evolution likes to mess with us.
And if you'd like to know more about the evolution of bears, may I suggest you introduce yourself to Puijila. Happy drawing!
Duke University. "The bigger the animal, the stiffer the 'shoes': Carnivores' feet 'tuned' to their body size." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224132507.htm>.