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  1. Design & Illustration
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How to Draw a Chicken and a Rooster

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

There are over 24 billion chickens in the world. Not only do chickens outnumber people more than 3 to 1, but there are more chickens than any other kind of bird in the world. Isn’t it incredible?

It’s difficult to imagine our culture without this widespread domestic bird; it became a symbol that's deeply embedded in mythology, including the Chinese Zodiac.

Let’s define the terms: male chickens are called roosters, female chickens are hens, and babies are chicks. In this tutorial, we’ll observe their distinctive features from a drawing standpoint.

We’ll also learn some interesting facts about them along the way!

You may be interested in these drawing tutorials as well:

What You Will Need

In order to complete this project, you’ll need the following equipment:

  • an HB graphite pencil
  • a 3B graphite pencil
  • an eraser
  • drawing paper
The art supplies for this project

1. How to Draw a Rooster

Step 1

In this part of the tutorial, we’ll be working on a sketch of an adult male chicken and exploring its outward difference from an adult female—a hen.

The ancient Greeks believed that even lions were afraid of roosters, as evidenced by several of Aesop's Fables. The rooster is also one of the signs of the Chinese zodiac; it is associated with loyalty and keen observation.

With the HB pencil, I start with the rough shape of the head, and then add the beak. Be sure to leave enough space for the rest of the bird on the sheet of paper!

Drawing the shape of the head

I add the shapes for the comb and wattle to the bird’s head.

Adding the details of the head

Step 2

I add a rough trapezium-like shape for the bird’s neck.

Adding the shape of the neck

I add the shape of the rooster’s body.

Drawing the shape of the body

Step 3

A rooster has a large tail that consists of long feathers; I mark the area where it should be located and the direction of feathers.

Marking the tail of the rooster

Step 4

Let’s draw the bird’s feet. I outline the fluffy thighs first.

Drawing the thighs

Then I add the remaining parts of the feet (the shanks), using lines and small circles to mark the joints. 

Our rooster has three main toes (they are longer) and one small back toe.

Adding the framework of the roosters feet

Step 5

I refine the head of the bird, adding the significant details: the eye, the ear (at the side of the head), and the earlobe just near it. Then I define the points of the comb.

By the way, chickens have full-color vision, just like we do! Also, they can distinguish more than 100 'faces' of members of their species.

Adding the details to the head of the rooster

Step 6

I refine the contours of the bird’s body, making it stouter. Feel free to erase the unnecessary pencil lines as you go.

Changing the body of the bird

Step 7

I draw the feet, based on the framework. The rooster should have spurs at the back of the feet and claws at the tips of the toes. 

Drawing the credible feet

Step 8

I add the wing, also marking the contour of the long feathers that are hanging down (they are called saddle feathers).

Drawing the wing

Step 9

It’s time to refine the tail of the rooster. Actually, the feathers of different parts of a chicken’s body have different names; for example, the long, curling, showy feathers of the rooster’s tail are called sickles.

I draw the feathers that are closer to the body.

Drawing the tail feathers

I add the curling sickles; don’t be afraid to make them long and opulent.

Completing the set of the tail feathers

Step 10

With light pencil lines, I mark the feathers on the rooster’s body. The long, thin feathers around the neck are called hackles.

Sketching the pattern of plumage

Step 11

With the HB graphite pencil, I apply some graphite hatching to the drawing, paying particular attention to the head, wing, and tail details. 

The shanks have a subtle relief and may be slightly fluted, so I emphasize this feature.

Adding some graphite hatching

Step 12

I increase the contrast, using the softer 3B pencil. The sketch is complete!

Completing the drawing of the rooster

Step 13

You may ask, what is the difference in the appearance between a rooster and a hen? Let’s look into it.

A hen has a seemingly heavier body. The feet are shorter, and the tail can’t boast of long, showy feathers—the hen's feathers are short and mainly straight. The comb is smaller, too.

The image shows the general proportions of an adult female chicken. We won’t be repeating the whole drawing process all over again because it’s very similar to sketching our rooster—so just grasp the main features of the hen's appearance.

A stylized drawing of a hen

Step 14

The feathering of a hen usually creates a smoother, softer impression. It’s important to accentuate the hackles—they create a variety in covering.

All chickens have buds on their legs from which spurs can grow. In most hens, they remain latent, but sometimes they become long and prominent.

A drawing of a hen with graphite hatching applied

Step 15

The pattern of the plumage varies from breed to breed. Alternating darker and lighter spots is a sure option to achieve a credible look!  

A complete sketch of a female chicken

2. How to Draw a Chick

Step 1

We are already familiar with adult chickens, so it’s time to draw a baby chicken. I start with the head, adding the shapes of the eye and the small beak right away.

By the way, mother hens talk to their unborn babies, and they answer through their shells. Isn’t it adorable?

Drawing the head of the young chicken

Step 2

I add the rough shape of the chicken’s body; it is quite small compared to the head. The neck is very short, barely visible.

Adding the body of the baby chicken

Step 3

I draw the contour of the chicken's small wing.

Adding the wing

Step 4

I add the framework of the short feet.

Adding the feet of the baby chicken

Step 5

I refine the eye (let’s make it big and cute!) and the beak. This chicken is very young, so it doesn’t have the prominent head details that the adult birds have.

Refining the head features

Step 6

I refine the feet. From a structural standpoint, they are quite similar to the feet of an adult bird, but they look exaggerated because a baby chicken is small and doesn’t have all the thick, voluminous feathering.

Changing the feet of the chicken

Step 7

I soften the contours of the chicken’s body with an eraser and create an illusion of fluffy plumage, using long pencil lines.

Creating an illusion of fluffy covering

Step 8

I add some hatching to the drawing, using the HB graphite pencil. The lines imitate the fluffy covering of the chick’s body.

Applying the graphite hatching

Step 9

With the 3B pencil, I increase the contrast, accentuating the head and the bottom part of the body. A drop shadow is a finishing touch that makes the drawing more credible.

Completing the sketch of the chicken

Your Drawings Are Complete

Congratulations! You’ve created beautiful drawings of a wonderful chicken family. I hope you’ve enjoyed the process.

May your further creative journey be fruitful and full of joy!

The result of our work
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