Cute and cuddly, fuzzy and finned—whether you want to draw a dog, draw a cat or draw a hammerhead shark, you can do it with the step-by-step guides you will find here on how to draw animals plus tips galore and resources that will guide you to your next animal sketch!
All you need is a pencil and paper to transform simple shapes and basic lines into realistic renditions of animals. Let’s get started!
Learn MORE about Drawing Animals
How to Draw Dogs
Learning how to draw animals like dogs is easier than it seems. First, simply observe them in order to identify the simple geometric shapes that make them up.
Carefully observe the form of the muzzle: Is the line that links it to the skull soft? Is the muzzle flat, concave, or convex? Long, fine or thick?
It is equally important to look at the ears. Are they far apart or close? Then ask yourself, are they large, pointed, or shaggy? Are they situated on the top of the head or on the sides?
And the tail—what is it like? Is it short, long, shaggy, high, low or docked?
Now observe the dog’s back. Is it horizontal, sloped, concave or convex?
Learning how to draw animals is also about getting the animal’s personality right. Practice drawing a dog’s expression. Examine it closely and compare it to that of a human. Is it sad? Is it angry? Does the dog seem intelligent or lazy?
When a dog walks, its front legs move inverse to the back legs, and the right legs move inverse to the left.
Beginning with simple shapes, it is easy to draw a dog from any point of view. Only after drawing the silhouette can you add the details.
Next, Learn How to Draw a Horse
Drawing a horse is very challenging due to the complexity of its anatomy. But you can do it by simplify the design. To do that, you will work in large groups. Note the spinal cord, which starts at the top of the head and ends at the tail, and defines the horse’s posture.
Draw an oval shape for the stomach. Place the head (a circle) and the guideline for the neck and the slope of the back.
Add the chest and hindquarters.
Sketch the muzzle and the neck.
Add the eyes, the ears and the nostrils. Sketch the tail and begin to draw the legs and the forearms.
Continue drawing the posterior and anterior limbs as well as the hooves.
Erase the structural lines and then sketch the mane.
Finalize the details of your horse and you are done! Learning how to draw animals — any animal big or small — can be done the same way you draw this horse. Start with big shapes and add detail as you go, angling the limbs as you see them.
Drawing Wild Baby Animals
Learning how to draw animals means learning how to draw animals of all kinds, from domestic dogs and cats to wild, majestic creatures that prowl our most exotic places! But it is also fun to draw those fierce lions, tigers and bears when they are cute and cuddly.
Draw a Baby Tiger
1. Begin with an oval shape for the body, and then a smaller circle for the head.
2. Place the eyes and the ears.
3. Begin to draw the legs and tail, and add more detail to the facial features including the mouth.
4. With an eraser, clean up the structural lines and then add a few details. The ruff of fur on the baby tiger’s belly and its claws, for example.
5. Now the fun part! Add those tiger stripes in parallel lines, tapering the ends here and there so they look real. Go over the whole drawing with marker or pen and ink if you want a stronger black-and-white look.
Drawing Marine Animals and Sea Creatures
Remember that animals we see on land and in the sky are only half of our animal world. The oceans, lakes, and streams around us have so many animals we can learn to draw. So let’s start learning how to draw animals in the marine world with this easy, 6-step dolphin!
Let’s draw a dolphin!
1. Begin with a round shape for the body and a guideline to give a sense of movement.
2. Draw the tail and the head.
3. After placing the dorsal and tail fins, start on the beak.
4. Continue with the beak and then sketch the pectoral fins. Don’t forget the eye!
5. Erase the structural lines.
6. Add some details to make your drawing seem livelier. Go over the lines with a felt-tip pen or a brush with India ink.
How to Draw Animals: Birds
White-throated sparrows make great models when learning how to draw animals! They have leisurely feeding habits, keeping their movements slow with positions often repeated, and their rounded body shapes are simple in form.
To sketch them, establish proportion and gesture with minimal indications of wings, tail and feet–sometimes just a few lines within a simple shape. Note the turn of the head, which adds to the options for developing a full pose later. Apply some tone over the line work to indicate surface markings, feather surface texture and shadows.
For more, get the complete guide to painting animals with preparatory sketches in Painting and Drawing Animals in Oil, Watercolor, Pastel and Graphite eMagazine.
And enjoy this video tutorial on a fun, artsy mixed media bird painting that you can create that looks great and doesn’t require a ton of art experience to make!