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
Draw an oval. This will be the torso of our peacock.
Draw a long, S-shaped neck with an oval head at one end.
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.
Draw the upper part of the legs. These will be hidden under the feathers, but it helps to know where they are.
Sketch the curve of the beak. Peacocks are related to chickens, so you can use a chicken beak as a reference.
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.
Draw all the toes. Again, these are just like chicken feet!
Outline the neck, starting thin right by the head and then getting wider as you get closer to the torso.
Finish the beak.
Draw an oval eye.
Add a nose hole.
Draw the "crown" on the head.
Add details to the legs and feet.
Finish the wings.
2. How to Draw a Peacock's Tail
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.
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.
Draw the rays of feathers.
Outline the whole tail to make sure the shape made by the feathers looks regular.
Divide the whole shape of the tail into many regular sections. This will help you place the feathers regularly.
Draw the "eyespots" around the tail's edge...
... and within the shape, but this time leaving regular spaces in between.
The base of the tail is covered with little scale-like feathers. So you can use the method I use for drawing scales:
3. How to Draw a Peacock Feather
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.
Draw an egg shape. It will be the basis for the whole eyespot.
Draw the same shape inside, leaving a little space in between.
Cross the smaller oval with a gentle curve. This will create a shape of the "iris".
Draw a smaller oval inside the "iris"—the "pupil".
Draw a reversed "V" inside this small shape.
Outline the whole shape, creating a triangular base for the eyespot and a thick outline on its sides.
This outline is copied on top, but here it starts to turn into individual barbs.
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.
The top of the feather is the densest, and it follows the shape of the eyespot:
The lower part is sparser:
If you want to draw a detailed peacock feather, make the barbs fluffy and gently shade the eyespot.
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.
4. How to Finish a Drawing of a Peacock
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.
Outline the body and the legs.
Outline the scaly feathers at the base of the tail.
Add some scales to the legs.
Cross each "scale" on the base of the tail with a vertical line.
Now shade the peacock. It must look dark in comparison to the tail.
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.
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.
The lower part of the tail has a lot of eyespots concentrated in one place. It makes this area look thick and fluffy.
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.
There's also one more type of peacock feather, mainly visible at the edge of the tail. They look like open V's.
Accentuate the shafts some more to make them more visible.
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.
Take a final look at your drawing and see what else you can fix. I accentuated the shading some more to increase the contrast.
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:
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