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Penguins are some of the cutest birds out there, and they are actually very easy to draw! In this easy-to-follow tutorial, we are going to lead you through all the steps to drawing a perfect and realistic penguin. Grab your drawing implements, pop on your favorite TV show or play some fantastic music, and let us get started!
Table of Contents
- 1 An Introduction to Penguins
- 2 A Step-by-Step Penguin Drawing Tutorial
- 2.1 Supplies for Drawing a Penguin
- 2.2 Step 1: Constructing the Penguin’s Body
- 2.3 Step 2: Constructing the Penguin’s Head
- 2.4 Step 3: Constructing the Penguin’s Flippers
- 2.5 Step 4: Constructing the Penguin’s Feet
- 2.6 Step 5: Time to Attach the Penguin’s Head to the Body
- 2.7 Step 6: Constructing the Penguin’s Beak
- 2.8 Step 7: Laying the Groundwork
- 2.9 Step 8: Fleshing Out Our Penguin’s Body
- 2.10 Step 9: Adding Detail and Character to Our Penguin
- 2.11 Step 10. Adding Light shading
- 2.12 Step 11: Finishing Off
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
An Introduction to Penguins
For many of us, penguins are fairly exotic and not a bird we tend to see on a daily basis. Penguins can only be found in the Southern Hemisphere, but most zoos around the world have penguins. This rarity makes them very exciting for an artist, and they are actually very easy to draw. Penguins have a very distinct coloring, often compared to a suit and shirt. This coloring is very important for them because it makes it harder for predators to see them. Although penguins are birds they cannot fly. Instead, they are very accomplished swimmers and tend to throw themselves down icy hills to torpedo into the water.
A Step-by-Step Penguin Drawing Tutorial
Now that you know a little more about these funky birds, it is time to get down to the business of drawing them. You will need only a few supplies to follow this tutorial, so gather them up and let us get going!
Supplies for Drawing a Penguin
Artists of any medium can follow this tutorial easily. Whether you are a watercolor artist, a pen and ink artist, or you prefer to use a drawing tablet, you can easily follow along with this penguin drawing tutorial. We are using paper and pencils for our example, and if you are following along with us, you will need the following supplies:
Step 1: Constructing the Penguin’s Body
We find the best way to begin drawing any animal is to use simple construction shapes to represent the different parts of the body. The penguin is a fairly simple shape, and we are going to use a simple elongated oval to represent the body. Ideally, you want your oval to lean slightly to one side. The side you choose is completely up to you, but it will determine what you do in the steps to follow.
Make sure that you are using a light touch with all of the construction lines, as you will erase them later.
Step 2: Constructing the Penguin’s Head
Now it is time to construct the head of the penguin. Again, we are going to use an oval shape to form the construction basis of the penguin’s head. We want this oval to be slightly tilted up from horizontal, and to tilt in the opposite direction to the body. The head should be quite a lot smaller than the body, and we want it to hover slightly above the top of the body oval. At the end of this step, you want your penguin drawing to look a little something like this.
Step 3: Constructing the Penguin’s Flippers
It is flipper time! We are going to use two simple slightly curved lines to map out the construction of our penguin’s flippers. There is one flipper on each side of the body, and you want the line to extend directly from each side of the oval. You can see in our example that on the side that the oval leans towards, the flipper connects with the oval slightly higher than it does on the other. This difference will reflect the positioning of the body to one side, so it is an essential part of the drawing.
Take each of your lines from the side of the oval, curve it outward slightly, and then gently guide it back towards the body. This slightly curved shape will help you flesh out your flippers at a later stage.
Step 4: Constructing the Penguin’s Feet
The feet for our penguin are going to sit just on either side of the bottom of the oval. While the flipper on the left side of the penguin started higher up the oval than the one on the right, the opposite is going to happen for the feet. You want the top of the right foot to sit just slightly higher up on the oval. Take a short line down from each point, and then split it off into three toes. Try to make all of your toes point towards the left side of your penguin.
Do not be afraid to draw your feet freely. You do not want them to seem stiff. You can always draw and erase your construction lines as many times as you need to until you are happy.
Step 5: Time to Attach the Penguin’s Head to the Body
This is definitely the quickest and most simple step. All you need to do is draw a simple, slightly curved line from the top of the body oval to the head oval. Curve the line slightly to the left side of the body.
Step 6: Constructing the Penguin’s Beak
Constructing the penguin’s beak is another very simple step. All you need to do is draw a slightly off-shape oval from the right side of the penguin’s head. You want the very end of the beak to slightly curve downwards.
At this point in the tutorial, you should start to see the penguin coming to life through the construction shapes. In the next few steps, we will begin to flesh out the body even more.
Step 7: Laying the Groundwork
So far we have drawn our penguin as if it were sitting in thin air. It is time for us to give it some substance to stand on. Draw a curved line across the feet of the Penguin. In the next few steps, we will add some more detail to this rocky surface to enhance our sense of its environment.
Step 8: Fleshing Out Our Penguin’s Body
In this step, we use all the construction lines that we have drawn so far to draw the final lines of our penguin. It is best to use a slightly darker line to follow the general curves of the penguin’s body. Remember that all of these construction lines are only reference points for our drawing. Do not stick too closely to all of the lines, otherwise, you will end up with a very unnatural-looking penguin. Gently put a crack in the penguin’s beak, and join the penguin’s head to its body. Carve out the two flippers, using your construction lines to give you the right shape. Add some extra textural elements to the rock beneath your penguin’s feet too.
You can see in our example that penguin’s actually have quite chunky feet. Do not be afraid to add in the little wrinkles around the ankles. Remember that you are drawing around the construction lines, particularly with the neck, flippers, and feet. When you are happy with your fine lines, you can erase all of your construction lines.
Step 9: Adding Detail and Character to Our Penguin
To define the main elements of the penguin, we need to create separation between different areas. The best way to achieve this separation is to darken some areas and leave others blank. We like to begin with the beak. Start by drawing slight strokes and streaks across the beak to create a textured layer above the beak. Leave the underneath side of the beak slightly less textured, to highlight the difference.
Next, color in a black area of the face to separate it from the neck the rest of the body. You do not want your black area to penetrate the beak, and you also want to leave a small white band around the edge of the head.
Draw a small oval for the eye, and leave a little white band around this. You can color the center of the eye, leaving three tiny bits of the eye white.
Using the same method as for the face, color in the top area of the body with slightly sketchy strokes. Continue to use dark sketchy strokes all around the outer edge of your penguin’s body, and carry it onto the flippers a little. You can add just a few dark strokes on the white belly, to indicate the texture of feathers while leaving it white. Color in the feet of your penguin too, leaving a thin white outline around the edges of each line.
Tip: If you are using traditional methods of drawing, you can use a marker to color in the areas with an even pressure from the marker. If you are using a marker, finish each portion at a time as markers tend to dry quickly and this will create different drying patters along your colored in areas. On a graphics tablet, you can simply use a fixed darkening color without an overlay.
Step 10. Adding Light shading
In this step, all we are doing is adding a little more depth with some light shading. You can use a light pencil with a cotton swab to spread a very light shading in the right areas. The best places for light shading are those that will typically be sheltered from your light source. This is your drawing, so you have complete control over where you think your light source should be.
Tip: whenever you are shading an artwork when drawing the traditional way with paper, always use a second small piece of paper underneath your arm to prevent unnecessary smudging, this can be used both while drawing and shading.
Step 11: Finishing Off
This is the last step of our penguin drawing tutorial, and it is time to tie everything together. In this step, we add an additional layer of shading all along the detailed lines of the penguin, just to add a little more depth and dimension. You can add a range of different and interesting details in this step, including more feathery strokes on the belly to emphasize the realism of your drawing.
And just like that, you have drawn your very own penguin! We hope that you have enjoyed the tutorial and that most importantly, you feel more confident in your drawing abilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Hard Is it to Draw a Penguin?
Drawing a penguin may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually very easy! In our tutorial, we lead you step-by-step through all the stages from construction to shading, so you can easily draw a beautiful and realistic penguin.
Do You Need Any Special Tools to Follow this Tutorial?
Not at all. You can complete this tutorial with anything you have on hand. Whether your favorite medium is charcoal, pencil, ink, or paint, you can easily follow along with our steps. You can even use this tutorial to draw a penguin on a graphic tablet.