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  1. Design & Illustration
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How to Draw a Frog Step by Step

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, I’ll show you an easy way to draw a frog with a graphite pencil and a variety of ink pens. 

Frogs often have an interesting warty texture, and we’ll learn to create its illusion in a drawing. We’ll also explore the possibilities of tinted grey paper and learn to use it to our advantage. 

This technique is an excellent choice for everyday drawing exercises because it helps to save time: the color of the paper provides a base, so the artist’s task is just to add the darker and the lighter tones.  

It is said that using paper in a variety of greys, browns, and other muted hues leads to more realistic results, helps to enhance your drawing skills, and even brings a new perspective to the workflow. 

The only way to prove this statement is to try this technique, isn’t it?

What You Will Need

You'll need the following equipment to complete this tutorial project:

  • an ink liner number 0.5 (grey color)
  • an ink liner number 0.3 (grey color)
  • an ink liner number 0.2 (black color)
  • a white gel pen
  • a graphite pencil (I recommend using the HB type)
  • a sheet of white drawing paper
  • a sheet of grey paper (I’m using a pastel type with a subtle texture)
  • an eraser
Art supplies for this project

1. How to Draw a Frog With a Graphite Pencil

Step 1

Before we jump into the process of inking, it’s necessary to design our drawing with a graphite pencil. Let’s agree that we're drawing a generic frog that represents the typical features of the whole biological group.

To create a base for the next steps, I sketch two rounded shapes for the frog’s head and body.

Drawing the core shapes

Step 2

I add the framework of the forelimbs. One of the arms is less visible because of the foreshortening, so I sketch it as a solid shape.

Adding the limbs

Step 3

I add the initial shape of the visible back leg folded underneath. This shape consists of the hip, lower leg, and foot with toes.

Adding the hind limb

Step 4

Frogs have big, protruding eyes; it’s time to add them. We have only one eye visible, and I add it to the head’s shape.

I also draw the prominent elements where the eyes are located.

Drawing the eye

Step 5

I refine the frog’s head, adding the mouth.

Refining the mouth area

Step 6

I make a subtle narrowing in the neck area and refine the shape of the stout frog’s body.

Drawing the body of the frog

Step 7

I work on the shape of the forelimbs, and then add the framework of the four fingers. 

Frogs usually have three to five fingers, depending on the species, so let’s take an average number.

Drawing the framework of the fingers

Step 8

I draw the fingers. Frogs often have small pads on the tips of their fingers.

Adding the fingers

Step 9

I refine the shape of the leg. I also add a skinfold in the knee area to make the drawing more realistic.

Working on the contours of the hind limb

Step 10

It’s time to draw the foot; it has five toes of different size. I create an uneven contour line to emphasize the relief of the features.

Drawing the toes

Step 11

As a final touch, I refine the contour of the frog’s body, making it slightly irregular. It will help to achieve a realistic look—frogs usually have small bumps (warts) on the skin.

The initial pencil sketch is complete!

Adding the warts to the contour line

2. How to Draw a Frog With Ink Pens on Grey Paper

Step 1

With light graphite pencil lines, I create a clean copy of the pencil sketch on the grey paper. You can use window glass, a light table, or a sheet of copy paper for that.

Creating the clean copy

Step 2

With the 0.5 grey ink liner, I outline the main contours.

Outlining the contours with grey liner

Step 3

I apply the groups of short hatches and dots, as shown in the image below, to draw the frog.

The sample of hatching for this step

I create a pattern of the warty skin texture using this technique. The 0.3 grey liner is a perfect tool for this step.

Working on the texture

Step 4

It’s time to give the frog more volume. With the 0.3 grey ink liner, I add the core shadows, using long and short hatches.

The sample of hatching

I add the ink hatching mostly to the sides of the frog, and also create a drop shadow.

Creating the core and drop shadows

Step 5

Let’s add dots to our drawing, using the 0.2 black ink liner.

An example of dotwork for this step

Dots will help to create a credible illusion of an organic irregular texture, and the black color will increase the contrast in our drawing.

Adding the black ink

Step 6

I add more dots to the frog’s body, working in the same manner.

If you find making dots too time-consuming, you can speed up the process by drawing short hatches instead of dots. Just remember to keep the uneven pattern of the texture; don’t overdo the artwork.

Adding more dots to the drawing

Step 7

I add the black dots to the forelimbs of the frog and to the drop shadow.

To make the drop shadow more realistic, you can accurately shade it with a graphite pencil or grey ink liner; this will make the application more blurry.

Adding dots to the limbs of the frog

Step 8

I complete the process of applying black ink with the 0.2 ink liner, adding some more dots and short hatches to the frog’s leg and increasing the contrast of the drawing.

Completing the application of black ink

Step 9

As a finishing touch, I add light strokes with a white gel pen. 

Use this tool to brighten the highlights and spotlit areas on the frog’s body, like the eyes, the upper part of the head, the sides of the limbs, and the belly.

Adding the white color strokes

Your Drawing Is Complete

Congratulations! You’ve created a beautiful artwork; I hope you enjoyed both the process and the result.

I wish you much success in drawing with a pencil and ink and exploring the possibilities of tinted paper. 

Hopefully, you've discovered plenty of room for experiments. For example, you can use graphite pencils instead of grey liners or a white pencil instead of a gel pen.

Have fun capturing the unique charm of the wonderful world of animals and nature!

The result
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