Animal drawings for beginners

Artist with black jumper drawing a bear from a photograph

Animal artwork is remarkable because it brings your favourite furry friends to life. And displaying colourful, or black and white animal drawings across your home adds warmth to your home, by providing a sense of interest and familiarity.

In this blog post, we’ll be teaching you how to draw animals using easy techniques which bring professional results. Whether you’re hoping to draw your dog or a tiger, we’ve got you covered.

Simply read on to start drawing wild animals, as well as your (or your friends’) household pets.

Choosing animals to draw: Where to start

Animal poster with drawings of colourful birds

Starting to draw an animal, or a group of animals might take time, but this time is priceless. Because once you have your ideas ready and know how to approach your subject, the process becomes much simpler.

Animal drawing for beginners should be made easy to understand, which is why we’ve made our pointers as simple, and helpful as possible, so you know how to draw realistic animals quickly.

First, stop and observe

Whether you’re working from a photograph or looking at an animal in real-time, first stop, look at, and study this beautiful creature. It sounds simple, but you want to start your drawing process with some guidance, so examine the texture of a cat’s whiskers or a dog’s fluffy fur.

If you’re drawing is based on your own pet, notice how they move, for example, perhaps your dog sticks their tongue out. And if they do, make a mental note of the textures of their tongue and their eye movement as they pant. It’s small, natural movements like these that will make your drawings stand out and become more realistic.

Split the body up into different sections

If you’re drawing full-body pictures of animals such as a tiger or bear, start by separating the sections of its body. This makes drawing its full body much easier. You will want to break the body up into these six parts:

  • The head
  • The neck
  • The shoulders
  • The body
  • The hips
  • The rear legs
  • The tail.

It doesn’t matter what order you do this in. Although, we’d recommend drawing the tail last, as this is a little more intricate, as it can’t really be drawn without creating the body first.

Create a draft first

Pablo Picasso didn’t create ‘Lump’ – his famous dachshund drawing in one sitting, so it’s perfectly normal to make a first draft and work from here. Don’t beat yourself up for not getting your animal drawing right the first time, you can add and remove whatever you wish as you work through your picture.

Draw realistic fur

Black and white animal portrait drawing of dog

When drawing animals, focusing on getting the fur as realistic as possible is really important. It brings your picture to life and allows you to learn a new skill, and feel like a professional pretty quickly.

Firstly, consider that an animal’s fur consists of many hairs that lie on top of each other, to create a silky, smooth surface. And every animal’s fur is different in texture and appearance. For instance, a bear has quite straight, smooth fur, whereas a poodle has soft yet spring curls, which you’ll need to portray as best as possible.

Colouring in certain sections of their hair will also help you create a more realistic illustration. For instance, use darker shades for the tips of the hairs, like on the drawing pictured above.

What are the best animals to draw? 

If you’re looking for easy animals to draw, begin with household pets such as cats and dogs. Although their bone structure can be complex, they are extremely easy to simplify and don’t take hours of your time to perfect.

How to draw a cat 

Since cats are easy animals to draw as a beginner, try sketching a full-body picture of this feline friend:

  1. First, draw a circle; this is to portray the cat’s face.
  2. Add two longer circles for the body at a diagonal angle.
  3. Then, sketch two vertical lines on the circle directly below the ‘face’ circle; these will be the cat’s front legs.
  4. Join the cat’s head and the circle below it together, as well as the third circle to create a contour of the body.
  5. Add three small ovals in a “v” shape, to depict the cat’s paws.
  6. Start drawing the cat’s front legs, ensuring that the thickness of your lines, as well as the length match.
  7. Draw a smaller circle in front of your initial circle for the cat’s face, to outline its mouth and nose.
  8. Use a rubber to remove the lines you sketched earlier for the body which are no longer needed.
  9. Add lines for the cat’s eyes, nose and mouth, focusing on this section in detail.
  10. Then, draw the cat’s whiskers and claws, using fine lines to do so.

Now, to draw the cat’s fur:

  • Begin applying fast pencil strokes.
  • Start from the centre of the cat’s face, and work outwards.
  • Use different coloured pencils, even if you’re working with a black and white drawing, to add shadow and depth.
  • Apply rapid strokes of lighter pencils to portray the fur between the cat’s eyes, around the nose, and above the forehead.

You can do this for as long as you wish, sketching as much detail as possible until you are happy with the result.

Try these tips out yourself and start sketching

Hares with Red Roses print by Catherine Rowe featuring two hares with rose backgroundWhether you’d prefer to draw dog art portraits or sketch a picture of your two cats, you can use these tips and tricks to your advantage. Now you know how to draw animals, you can begin creating masterpieces and unleash your inner talent!