How to draw an illustration of a butterfly

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Learn how to draw an illustration of a butterfly and then see how playing with colors and patterns can help you create a completely different character using the same design!

Butterflies are a charm to illustrate! Let's be honest ... we all drew cute butterflies when we were young (or even when we were older!). These colorful insects are a joy to draw and filled with colors. 

Unlike other animals or insects from the same series, butterflies are relatively easy to create. Let's take a moment to study a little bit more this popular cartoon character ...

  1. The head must be made from a medium oval shape.
  2. Antennas are made from long curved lines and small oval shapes.
  3. Eyes and pupils are round and small.
  4. The top of the body is short and made from a rectangle.
  5. The bottom of the body is longer and pointed on the bottom.
  6. A simple pattern is found inside the wings.
  7. These patterns are surrounded by a larger shape.
  8. Wings are made from smooth shapes as shown above.

Cool! This little reminder was fun! It's now time to grab a pencil and a piece of paper to start drawing this cute cartoon animal!

Step 1 - adding shapes to create a guideline

The head is made from a short oval shape. The body is created using two rectangles (one long and one short). Finally, wings are made from irregular shapes and broken lines. Excellent! The template below is all we need to start creating this beautiful insect.

step 2 - drawing the butterfly

Using mostly curved lines, you can now draw the animal as shown in the picture below. Pay attention to the shape of the body (especially the bottom) as well as the shape of all four wings. Make sure the head is smooth and perfect. You can erase all orange shapes created earlier.

step 3 - working on the head

Let's continue working on this illustration of a butterfly by adding the eyes and the pupils using circles and dots. The mouth is created using a long curved line. On top of the head, sketch the antennas using broken lines and small oval shapes.

step 4 - time to draw some beautiful wings!

Inside all four wings, draw a long curved line that must have the same shape as the wing it is drawn into. Make sure that both ends of all lines added in this step are sharp and pointed. 

step 5 - more details inside the wings

You can now unleash your creativity and draw nice patterns inside the wings. No need to copy what you see below ... just be creative! Now that our illustration of a butterfly is completed, let's add some colors!

step 6 - brown and orange is the way to go!

For our first example, I have selected a nice variety of brown and orange colors. The outside of all wings is dark while the inside is much brighter. The body and head are filled with a subtle brown color, just like the tip of the antennas. Great! This cartoon butterfly looks amazing!

Nice work drawing this illustration of a butterfly!

You can see all six steps required to illustrate this fun character below. Like I said earlier, don't hesitate to try different shapes and patterns inside the wings or even for the head and body. For the second part of this lesson on how to draw an illustration of a butterfly, let's play with colors!

Version 1 - creating a nice logo

Logos are simple and usually filled with plain (and basic) colors. Indeed, this great yellow and black character could easily be used to create a logo for a company or a website. It's simple, effective and extremely easy to read ... all qualities required to end up with a nice logo!

version 2 - a childish and colorful animal

Do you want to create an illustration of a butterfly that children will love? Excellent! All you need to do is selected a few basic (and bright) colors and you are done! Remember that it's useless to select tons of colors ... only a few relevant ones are needed.

version 3 - warm and comforting!

This other alternative is quite interesting. Only filled with warm colors, our cartoon butterfly now feels hot and visually stimulating. Another perfect example of how colors can play a huge part of the emotional impact a character can have.

version 4 - This time, it's cold!

On the opposite, this cute little fellow is only filled with cold and distant colors. If you are looking for something refreshing, then this fun butterfly is definitely a good option! :)

version 5 - welcome to the dark side!

The fun thing about this illustration of a butterfly is the fact that all colors used are the same as the logo-like character (version 1). However, the result is completely different. This insect feels dark, mysterious and almost dangerous. Funny how adding black colors all over the place can transform a cute butterfly into a horrifying predator!

version 6 - colors that are not applied properly

In this other example, only three different colors are used (green, red and yellow). However, it's how these colors are applied that make this image so ... weird. Wings don't seem plausible while the body is green ... except for the middle part. Not convincing, but amusing!

version 7 - anything goes!

That's a cute illustration of a butterfly, but it's totally unrealistic. Several colors are used and these colors are applied randomly inside the character. Of course, this kind of technique could be useful for some purposes.

Nice job drawing beautiful butterflies!

As you can see, colors can have a huge impact on a cartoon character. They can determine a mood, an emotion or simply tell more about the cartoon character without even modifying the anatomy or facial expression of this one. Have fun drawing more butterflies like this one! :)


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