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How to Draw a Peacock

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw a peacock with an open tail and how to draw a peacock feather. 

Many birds sport fabulous plumage, but one species takes it to an extreme level—the peacock. Their tails are huge and can be displayed in the shape of a fan. It's a beautiful sight, very inspiring for an artist, but not easy to draw at all. 

In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw a peacock with a beautiful, open tail. I will also show you how to draw a peacock feather step by step, not only in a tail, but as an individual one.

1. How to Draw a Peacock

Step 1

Draw an oval. This will be the torso of our peacock.

oval for torso

Step 2

Draw a long, S-shaped neck with an oval head at one end.

head and neck

Step 3

Sketch the legs below the ankles ("reversed knees"). Drawing them this way can help you establish the pose without getting caught up in the details.

legs simple shape

Step 4

Draw the upper part of the legs. These will be hidden under the feathers, but it helps to know where they are.

how to draw bird legs

Step 5

Sketch the curve of the beak. Peacocks are related to chickens, so you can use a chicken beak as a reference.

simple bird beak

Step 6

Sketch the curve of the wings. Peacocks tend to keep them low when they fan their tail. The wings are covered by the tail mostly, but some parts may stay visible, so we need to know where they are.

bird wing folded
bird wing simple
peacock wings

Step 7

Draw all the toes. Again, these are just like chicken feet!

peacock feet

Step 8

Outline the neck, starting thin right by the head and then getting wider as you get closer to the torso.

peacock neck

Step 9

Finish the beak.

peacock beak
peacock bill

Step 10

Draw an oval eye.

peacock eye

Step 11

Add a nose hole.

peacock nose

Step 12

Draw the "crown" on the head.

peacock head crown
peacock head decoration

Step 13

Add details to the legs and feet.

peacock legs shape
peacock feet details
peacock claws
peacock legs detailed

Step 14

Finish the wings.

peacock wings feathers
peacock wing primaries
peacock wings finished

2. How to Draw a Peacock's Tail

Step 1

The body is done, so now it's time to draw a fabulous peacock tail! Its base is like a stiff cape that the peacock raises above its back.

peacock base of the tail
peacock base of tail shape

Step 2

Sketch the axes of the tail. Younger birds have smaller tails, so if you want to make this drawing less challenging, you can draw the axes shorter.

peacock tail simple axes

Step 3

Draw the rays of feathers.

peacock tail bottom
peacock tail top

Step 4

Outline the whole tail to make sure the shape made by the feathers looks regular.

peacock bottom shape
peacock tail fan shape

Step 5

Divide the whole shape of the tail into many regular sections. This will help you place the feathers regularly.

peacock tail rhythm

Step 6

Draw the "eyespots" around the tail's edge...

peacock outer spots

... and within the shape, but this time leaving regular spaces in between.

peacock inner spots

Step 7

The base of the tail is covered with little scale-like feathers. So you can use the method I use for drawing scales:

peacock base of tail scales
peacock draw scaly feathers

3. How to Draw a Peacock Feather

Step 1

All the guide lines are in place, so let's take a look now at the details of how to draw a single peacock feather.

Every feather must start with a straight line. Peacock feathers can be very long, but only the top has a visible vane.

peacock feather shaft

Step 2

Draw an egg shape. It will be the basis for the whole eyespot.

peacock feather spot shape
peacock tail with spots

Step 3

Draw the same shape inside, leaving a little space in between.

peacock inner spot
peacock tail with inner spots

Step 4

Cross the smaller oval with a gentle curve. This will create a shape of the "iris".

peacock spot iris
peacock tail with iris

Step 5

Draw a smaller oval inside the "iris"—the "pupil".

peacock feather pupil
peacock tail with pupil marks

Step 6

Draw a reversed "V" inside this small shape.

peacock feather pupil detail
peacock tail detailed spots

Step 7

Outline the whole shape, creating a triangular base for the eyespot and a thick outline on its sides.

peacock feather spot outline
peacock tail feathers with outline

Step 8

This outline is copied on top, but here it starts to turn into individual barbs.

peacock feather full shape

Step 9

The whole tail must be drawn with a slightly different approach, so let's focus on a single feather for now. The "pupil" is dark, but there's a subtle gradient inside.

peacock feather shading

Step 10

The top of the feather is the densest, and it follows the shape of the eyespot:

peacock feather shape
peacock feather top part

Step 11

The lower part is sparser:

peacock feather lower part

Step 12

If you want to draw a detailed peacock feather, make the barbs fluffy and gently shade the eyespot.

how to draw peacock feather

Step 13

We're focusing on black and white drawing here, but if you want to draw a peacock feather in color, there are three colors that are the most important: green, blue, and brown.

peacock feather colors

4. How to Finish a Drawing of a Peacock

Step 1

All right, we're almost done! Let's draw the final lines now. Draw the details of the head. Because the head looks so insignificant in comparison to the impressive tail, you don't have to make it too detailed—these details will not be that visible anyway.

peacock head details

Step 2

Outline the body and the legs.

peacock leg details

Step 3

Outline the scaly feathers at the base of the tail.

peacock base of tail details

Step 4

Add some scales to the legs.

peacock leg scales

Step 5

Cross each "scale" on the base of the tail with a vertical line.

peacock tail scales details

Step 6

Now shade the peacock. It must look dark in comparison to the tail.

peacock simple shading
how to shade peacock

Step 7

Let's go back to the tail now. Draw the spots as explained earlier, except looser here—because there are so many of the spots and they're so little, each individual one matters less.

peacock simple spots
peacock detailed spots
peacock spots with shading
peacock spots full shape
peacock spots how to draw
peacock tail spots drawing

Step 8

Draw the shafts of the feathers. Because the feathers are mostly thin, they look almost translucent in contrast to the thick and solid shafts. Add shafts to all the eyespots, but also in between, to fill the empty spaces.

peacock feather shafts

Step 9

The lower part of the tail has a lot of eyespots concentrated in one place. It makes this area look thick and fluffy.

peacock tail details

Step 10

Now draw all the feathers. It may take a while, but remember that you don't need to be very strict here—just draw a lot of lines in the same rhythm along each shaft.

peacock full feathers

Step 11

There's also one more type of peacock feather, mainly visible at the edge of the tail. They look like open V's.

peacock special feathers

Step 12

Accentuate the shafts some more to make them more visible.

peacock bigger shafts

Step 13

Since we're drawing in black and white, it's hard to create the contrast between colorful eyespots and dull feathers. However, we can use value for this—make it even denser to make the areas between the eyespots darker. However, keep in mind that the closer you are to the edge of the tail, the sparser the feathers.

peacock more feathers

Step 14

Take a final look at your drawing and see what else you can fix. I accentuated the shading some more to increase the contrast.

peacock final fixes


Now you know how to draw a beautiful peacock with an open tail from scratch! If you've followed my steps and you like your end result, feel free to share it in the comments—I'd love to see it!

You may also be interested in one of our many bird-related tutorials:

how to draw a peacock step by step
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