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What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw a cheetah—the fastest land animal. I will show you how to construct its body step by step: first the torso, then the legs, and finally the head with all its details. You will learn how to draw simplified muscles and paws, and how to draw a cheetah pattern.

This is a simple tutorial for beginners. If you want to learn more about cheetahs and other big cats, try this tutorial instead:

1. How to Draw a Cheetah's Body

Step 1

Sketch an oval—this will be the chest. Remember to draw these guide lines lightly, so that they can be covered (or even erased) later with the final lines.

draw oval for chestdraw oval for chestdraw oval for chest

Step 2

Add a circle at the back, connecting it to the chest with a curve. This will be the hip area. Leave some space between the chest and the hips.

draw circle for hipsdraw circle for hipsdraw circle for hips

Step 3

Add a "6" in the front. This will be the shoulder.

draw simple shoulderdraw simple shoulderdraw simple shoulder

Step 4

Add a curve to the tip of this "6", creating the top of the shoulder blade.

draw top of shoulder bladedraw top of shoulder bladedraw top of shoulder blade

Step 5

Outline the shoulder.

outline shoulderoutline shoulderoutline shoulder
outline arm musclesoutline arm musclesoutline arm muscles

Step 6

Add an oval for the hips.

add oval for hipsadd oval for hipsadd oval for hips

Step 7

Outline the body.

outline cheetah bodyoutline cheetah bodyoutline cheetah body

Step 8

Add the curve of the tail. It should be quite long.

add curve of cheetah tailadd curve of cheetah tailadd curve of cheetah tail

Step 9

To create the right thickness, you can draw circles along the tail.

add thickness to tailadd thickness to tailadd thickness to tail

Step 10

Outline the tail.

outline cheetah tailoutline cheetah tailoutline cheetah tail

2. How to Draw a Cheetah's Legs

Step 1

To measure the right distance to the ground, draw a line the same height as the chest right under it, and then add some more length. You don't need to use a ruler—just eyeball it.

measure distance to the groundmeasure distance to the groundmeasure distance to the ground

Step 2

Sketch the rhythm of the legs.

sketch rhythm of legssketch rhythm of legssketch rhythm of legs

Step 3

Mark the wrist and the knee.

mark wrist and kneemark wrist and kneemark wrist and knee

Step 4

To create a slightly more interesting perspective without making it too complicated, let's put the other pair of legs a little higher. This will add a sense of depth.

add another ground leveladd another ground leveladd another ground level

Step 5

Draw the other pair of legs, using a different pose for them to make the drawing more dynamic. Use the first pair of legs to place the joints.

add one more pair of legsadd one more pair of legsadd one more pair of legs

Step 6

Don't forget to add a shoulder for the other front leg, too!

add second shoulderadd second shoulderadd second shoulder

Step 7

Add details to the joints: the wrists and ankles.

add detailed jointsadd detailed jointsadd detailed joints

Step 8

Add some muscle masses to give volume to the legs.

add muscle massesadd muscle massesadd muscle masses
add muscles to background legsadd muscles to background legsadd muscles to background legs

Step 9

Add the elbows and the knees.

add elbow and kneesadd elbow and kneesadd elbow and knees

Step 10

Add the calf muscles.

add calf musclesadd calf musclesadd calf muscles

Step 11

Sketch the outline of the feet.

sketch outline of feetsketch outline of feetsketch outline of feet

Step 12

Draw the middle toe on each paw. Add a dew claw ("a cat thumb") and the carpal pads, too.

add middle toesadd middle toesadd middle toes

Step 13

Add the outer toes now, sloped in the opposite direction.

add outer toesadd outer toesadd outer toes

Step 14

Add the tips of the toes—little reversed '6's.

add tips of toesadd tips of toesadd tips of toes

Step 15

Add the paw pads where they are visible.

add paw padsadd paw padsadd paw pads

Step 16

Outline the rest of the legs.

outline whole legsoutline whole legsoutline whole legs

3. How to Draw a Cheetah's Head

Step 1

Draw a triangular neck. It shouldn't be too long—you can refer to the length of the shoulder blade to measure it.

add neckadd neckadd neck

Step 2

Add an oval for the head. Again, not too big—cheetahs have very small heads in comparison to their bodies!

add oval for headadd oval for headadd oval for head

Step 3

Add a "face cross"—one line going along the muzzle and the forehead, and the other going over the eyes. This will give us a point of reference for the other elements of the head. While drawing this cross, pay attention to perspective!

add face crossadd face crossadd face cross

Step 4

Draw big "eye sockets". This again helps us place the eyes correctly, without actually drawing them yet.

add eye socketsadd eye socketsadd eye sockets

Step 5

Add the cheeks.

add cheeksadd cheeksadd cheeks

Step 6

Add the muzzle in the shape of a sack.

add muzzleadd muzzleadd muzzle

Step 7

Draw the chin and connect it to the rest of the head.

draw cheetah chindraw cheetah chindraw cheetah chin

Step 8

Draw the area of the nose, turning towards the eyes.

draw area of the nosedraw area of the nosedraw area of the nose

Step 9

Add the actual nose in this area. Imagine it three-dimensionally.

draw cheetah nosedraw cheetah nosedraw cheetah nose

Step 10

You can now draw the area for the eyes.

draw area of the eyesdraw area of the eyesdraw area of the eyes

Step 11

Draw the ears in the shape of flower petals.

draw earsdraw earsdraw ears

Step 12

Connect these petals to the head.

finish earsfinish earsfinish ears

Step 13

Draw the mouth.

draw mouthdraw mouthdraw mouth

Step 14

Draw the nose.

draw nosedraw nosedraw nose
finish nosefinish nosefinish nose

Step 15

If you draw lines on the sides of the nasal bridge, you'll go right to the "eyebrows".

draw cat eyebrowsdraw cat eyebrowsdraw cat eyebrows

Step 16

Draw the lips.

draw lipsdraw lipsdraw lips

Step 17

Draw the actual eyes now.

draw the eyesdraw the eyesdraw the eyes

Step 18

Draw the eyelids that give the eyes their shape, as well as the marking going towards the lips.

draw eyelids and cheetah markingdraw eyelids and cheetah markingdraw eyelids and cheetah marking

Step 19

Finally, outline the whole neck.

outline cheetah neckoutline cheetah neckoutline cheetah neck

4. How to Finish the Drawing of a Cheetah

Step 1

The guide lines are finished, and you can draw the final lines now. Feel free to erase the sketch lightly to make it barely visible, or put a new sheet of paper over it.

Outline the body, using soft, non-continuous lines to simulate fur.

outline cheetah bodyoutline cheetah bodyoutline cheetah body

Step 2

Draw the paws with all the details. Unlike other cats, cheetahs have only semi-retractable claws, which means they're partially visible all the time.

draw cheetah pawsdraw cheetah pawsdraw cheetah paws

Step 3

Add details to the head. The whiskers should be quite short.

add details to headadd details to headadd details to head

Step 4

Darken the nose, the marking, and the ears. Shade the eyes, too.

shade the cheetah headshade the cheetah headshade the cheetah head

Step 5

Shade the whole body in a simple way.

shade cheetahshade cheetahshade cheetah

Step 6

Time for the spots! Cheetahs have a very simple pattern: just circles and ovals all over the body. Plan them first.

plan cheetah patternplan cheetah patternplan cheetah pattern

Step 7

Darken these spots.

darken cheetah spotsdarken cheetah spotsdarken cheetah spots

Step 8

There are smaller spots between the bigger ones. Add them.

add smaller spotsadd smaller spotsadd smaller spots

Step 9

Finally, add some shadows below the legs and a dark outline for the whole cheetah.

finish drawingfinish drawingfinish drawing

Good Job!

Now you know how to draw a cheetah! Do you want to learn how to draw other big cats? Try these tutorials:

how to draw cheetah step by stephow to draw cheetah step by stephow to draw cheetah step by step
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