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How to Draw a Deer Step by Step

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

For me, a deer is the symbol of autumn—the time when the males of this timid species turn into the real kings of the forest, with a crown of antlers on their heads. Of all the deer species, my favorite is the red deer—not as big as a moose, but more regal looking. 

In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw such a deer step by step: from the sketch, torso, legs, and details of the head to a pair of beautiful antlers.

This is a simple tutorial about how to draw a deer. If you want to learn more about deer anatomy and various species, you'll be interested in the tutorial below:

1. How to Sketch a Deer

The biggest problem with drawing real things is that it's very easy to lose proportions. To avoid such a mistake, we need to plan the body before adding any details. Such a plan should be sketched lightly, so that you can fix anything after you finish it.

Step 1

Draw a rectangle. This will be the torso of our deer.

base body rectangle

Step 2

Measure the distance to the ground. It should be slightly longer than the width of the torso.

distance between bpdy and ground

Step 3

Find the points where the limbs start.

limbs slots in body

Step 4

Sketch the limbs.

simplified deer legs

Step 5

To add a realistic form of the chest, add a circle to the lower left corner of the rectangle.

simplified deer sternum

Step 6

Add an oval to the front of the rectangle. This is the simplified form of the rotated neck.

simplified deer neck rotated

Step 7

Sketch the neck.

deer neck length

Step 8

Add the head on top of the neck.

deer head simplified shape

Step 9

Add the muzzle to the head.

deer muzzle simplified shape

Step 10

Add the direction of the ears...

deer ears length and direction

... and their general shape.

deer ears simplified shape

Step 11

Sketch the antlers step by step:

deer antlers how to start
deer antlers basic shape
elk antlers how to draw
simplified deer antlers

2. How to Draw the Legs of a Deer

Once you have the sketch, take a good look at it and see if you got the proportions correct. If not, this is the last moment to fix them!

Step 1

The forequarters of many animals can be drawn with a "6" shape, which includes both the shoulder area and the shoulder blade. Draw it for both front legs.

deer forequarters
deer shoulders drawing

Step 2

Sketch the top of the shoulder blade.

deer shoulder blade

Step 3

Close the whole shoulder area.

deer shoulder area

Step 4

Sketch the hips.

deer simplified hips

Step 5

Add a circle in the knee area.

deer simplified knees

Step 6

The main muscle mass of the thigh can be created by outlining the knee, the hip joint, and the back of the hip.

deer thigh shape

Step 7

Add the rest of the thigh by connecting the big muscle mass to the other end of the hip.

deer complete thigh shape

Step 8

Mark the wrist/ankle area at around 60% of the limb's length.

deer legs proportions

Step 9

Mark the hoof at about one-third of the length below the wrist/ankle.

deer hooves proportions

Step 10

Draw the circle in the joint right above each hoof. It should be quite small.

deer hooves base

Step 11

Sketch a general shape of the hoof. This trick can be useful for drawing horses as well.

deer simplified hooves

Step 12

Draw the simplified shapes of the joints. The lower legs of hoofed animals are not very muscular, so the form of the bones should be accentuated instead.

deer leg joints simplified

Step 13

Add muscle forms to the forearms and calves.

deer simplified muscle masses
deer simplified calves

Step 14

Draw the characteristic space under the Achilles tendon.

deer achilles tendon

Step 15

Outline the whole legs. Keep the parts below the wrist/ankle thinner than the ones above.

deer simplified leg outline

Step 16

Finish the shape of the hooves.

deer hooves detailed shape
deer hooves shape complete

Step 17

Deer are even-toed ungulates, and they have four toes—two make the actual hoof, and two are hanging in the back.

deer hooves four toes
deer back toes

3. How to Draw the Head and Antlers of a Deer

Step 1

Divide the head into thirds.

deer face proportions

Step 2

Attach two ovals to the sides, within the middle third.

deer eye sockets

Step 3

Draw a smaller oval inside, close to the outer edge of the bigger one.

deer eyes proportions

Step 4

Draw a line at about a third of the mouth.

deer mouth proportion

Step 5

Outline the chin and the nose.

deer chin
deer nose shape

Step 6

Add the nose holes.

deer nose holes

Step 7

Outline the whole head.

deer muzzle shape
deer jaw shape

Step 8

Draw two circles to create a base for the ears.

deer ear base

Step 9

Connect the ears to the head by outlining their base.

deer detailed ear shape

Step 10

Add circles for the base of the antlers.

deer antlers base

Step 11

Mark all the points where you want the antlers to branch out.

deer antlers branching

Step 12

Sketch the "branches".

deer antlers sketch

Step 13

Add a circle at every branching. This will help you achieve the right thickness of the antlers.

deer antlers thickness

Step 14

Outline the antlers.

deer antlers outline

4. How to Draw the Torso of a Deer

Step 1

Cross the neck with a line to find its width.

deer neck width

Step 2

Outline the neck, creating a diamond shape for the mane.

deer neck mane

Step 3

Add more layers to the mane.

deer detailed mane

Step 4

The spine of the deer reaches higher than the shoulder blade. Sketch the characteristic "hump" made by it.

deer back hump

Step 5

Finish the neck.

deer detailed neck
deer detailed torso

Step 6

Outline the whole torso.

deer torso shape

Step 7

Add the details.

deer tail

5. How to Finish a Drawing of a Deer

The sketch is finished, so now we can add the final lines. If you're drawing traditionally, it's good to use a darker tool now (for example, an ink liner will nicely cover the pencil strokes), or to place a new sheet of paper on the sketch and draw the final lines on it.

Step 1

Sketch the bulging "eyebrows" of the deer.

deer grumpy face

Step 2

Draw the eyes with all the details.

how to draw deer eyes

Step 3

Draw the nose.

how to draw deer nose

Step 4

Outline the whole head. Not all lines should be outlined continuously—sketch them with short lines to simulate hair.

how to draw deer head

Step 5

Outline the ears. The darkness inside will make them look fluffy.

how to draw deer ears

Step 6

Outline the antlers and add some texture to them.

how to draw deer antlers

Step 7

Outline the mane.

how to draw deer mane

Step 8

Outline the whole body.

how to draw deer silhouette

Step 9

You can add some details to accentuate the anatomy of the deer.

how to draw deer body details

Step 10

Darken the eyes, nose, and hooves.

how to draw a detailed deer

Step 11

Finally, you can outline the whole animal with a darker stroke, and shade it in a simple way using hatching.

how to shade deer

Good Job!

Did you like this tutorial? You may also enjoy other animal-themed tutorials of ours:

Or you may want to check out other deer-related tutorials:

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