Advertisement
  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Animals
Design

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

by
Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a cute dolphin step by step, from the silhouette and the details of the head to the fins. You will learn how to plan the drawing of an animal body, how to make it look 3D with some basic rules of perspective, and how to shade in a basic way. You can use any tools you want!

Before You Start

It's important to draw what we see, not what we think we see. So let's take a look at real dolphins to prepare for the task:

1. How to Draw a Dolphin's Body

Step 1

Sketch the basic curve of the body.

dolphin body curve

Step 2

Find the middle of this curve. Don't use any special tools—just estimate it.

dolphin body divide in half

Step 3

Divide each half of the curve into halves. This will help us with proportions.

dolphin body segments

Step 4

Draw a circle in the first quarter of the curve. It doesn't need to be a perfect circle!

dolphin head sketch

Step 5

Draw an oval across another two quarters. Make it rotated, so that the curve is going right through it.

dolphin torso sketch

Step 6

Draw a row of circles, like beads on a string, until you reach the end of the curve. Make each gradually smaller than the previous one.

dolphin tail thickness
dolphin caudal part
dolphin tail silhouette

Step 7

Let's add some perspective to the body to make it more realistic. Don't worry, it won't hurt! Draw an oval on the front of the head, creating a flat "face".

dolphin face

Step 8

Cross the face in the middle to see this flatness better.

dolphin face perspective

Step 9

Can you see the form of the body? Draw a line along its side. Remember it's you who decides where the side is!

dolphin body perspective

Step 10

Draw a line going through the bottom of the body. It must follow the rhythm defined by the side line.

dolphin body bottom

Step 11

Outline the whole form of the body, following this rhythm.

dolphin body outline

Step 12

You can add more form-creating lines along the body. They make it easier to see the depth of the drawing.

dolphin in perspective

2. How to Draw a Dolphin's Head

Step 1

Draw an oval on the front of the face.

dolphin mouth

Step 2

Draw a small circle attached to that oval.

dolphin snout

Step 3

Find the position of the eye with a curve ending with an oval.

dolphin eye position

Step 4

Place the eye inside the oval. It should be shaped like an oval as well.

dolphin eye oval

Step 5

Time for the smile! Cross the small circle on the tip of the mouth with a curve.

dolphin smile

Step 6

From here, draw a curve towards the eye, and turn down right before it.

dolphin smile sketch

Step 7

You now have enough guide lines to outline the details of the head.

dolphin head details

3. How to Draw Dolphin Fins

Step 1

Draw a curve ending with a tiny circle on the back of the dolphin. It should start roughly in the middle of the body.

dolphin dorsal fin

Step 2

Draw a curve between the circle and the body.

dolphin dorsal fin drawing

Step 3

Attach an upside-down "T" to the tail.

dolphin caudal fin

Step 4

Draw an upside-down heart in this area.

dolphin tail fins

Step 5

Draw two tiny circles under the "T".

dolphin tail caudal fin drawing

Step 6

Outline the shape suggested by the guide lines.

dolphin tail fins how to draw

Step 7

Again, use a curve ended with an oval to find a perfect spot for the pectoral fin.

dolphin pectoral fin position

Step 8

Another curve with a circle will create a part of the outline for the fin.

dolphin flipper sketch

Step 9

The fin is slightly wider than its base. Define this width with a flat curve.

dolphin flipper drawing

Step 10

Now you can outline the whole fin.

dolphin flipper outline

Step 11

Use the same method to draw the other fin.

dolphin pectoral fins
dolphin pair of flippers
dolphin flippers how to draw

4. How to Finish the Drawing of a Dolphin

Step 1

Now you have all the guide lines, so we just need to put the final lines over them. You can take a clean sheet of paper and put it over the sketch if you're drawing traditionally. You can also try to erase most of the guide lines and darken the ones you want to keep with a darker tool.

Outline the basic lines of the dolphin body.

dolphin body outline

Step 2

Fill the oval of the eye with dark shade, leaving a dot of shine.

dolphin eye

Step 3

Use gentler, lighter strokes to show some less prominent features, like wrinkles of the skin.

dolphin details

Step 4

Gently accentuate the lines of perspective to keep the body 3D.

dolphin 3d body

Step 5

Let's shade the dolphin now. Imagine the light source over its body and fill the shadowed area with strokes of one direction.

dolphin basic shading

Step 6

To create more levels of shade, change the direction of the strokes.

dolphin cross hatch shading
dolphin simple drawing

Step 7

The perspective guide lines can be turned into rough details on the skin to keep their depth-defining function.

dolphin drawing details

Step 8

Finally, outline the silhouette with dark strokes to make it pop.

dolphin dark outline

Good Job!

You have drawn a cute dolphin! If you want to learn more about these beautiful animals, as well as their relatives, check out this tutorial as well:

how to draw a cute dolphin step by step
Advertisement
Advertisement
Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.