Learn to draw a cartoon praying mantis using this simple step-by-step lesson. Although this incredible insect doesn't look very friendly, mantises are not a threat to humans. They don't bites and are not poisonous either. Mantises can live for up to a year. Surprisingly, this small insect is able to eat preys like lizards, frogs or even small birds. It's funny to note that smaller mantises can also be eaten by these same lizards, frogs and small birds. How ironic!
In this lesson, you will learn how to draw a mantis using mostly basic shapes. Then, I will show you how to add gradients to create more depth inside the illustration. Finally, if you are up to it you can also learn how to create basic shapes and highlights to create even more volume. Ready? Cool! Let's start working on this fun character now.
First, let's draw a few basic shapes to create a simple template. This step is very important to help us draw accurate proportions. You can also use this opportunity to properly place the character inside your working area. Let's begin this step by drawing an oval shape to represent the head.
The top of the body is also made from a thin oval shape. Finally, use another similar shape to draw the bottom part of the body. Arms and legs are created using thin rectangles. Another thin oval shape is added near the end of the grasping forelegs.
Now that all basic shapes are created, let's use these guidelines to draw the silhouette of the cartoon praying mantis. The insect is sketched using thick lines with sharp ends. The head is slightly flat on the bottom, but mostly round on top. Don't forget to draw small curved lines on the grasping forelegs.
You can see all new additions below (created with a temporary pink outline). All shapes added in the previous step are now colored in gray (to improve the readability of this step). Once all lines are drawn, you can erase these gray elements. We don't need them anymore.
Our template did not include all the legs needed to draw a realistic mantis. We need to draw these legs now using more pointed lines. For this lesson, our character needs to have six functional legs. Once again, the grasping forelegs must be made from several small curved lines. You can see all new elements below.
Inside the head, you can draw both eyes using perfect circles. Only one pupil is visible. On top of the head, two small antennas made from more curved lines are added. The mouth is represented by two small triangles made from more short lines. You can complete this step by adding a few stripes on the lower part of the body. Nice work! This lesson on how to draw a mantis is progressing well.
Colors are important if you want to give life to your cartoon insect. In this case, only one color is needed : green. Of course, some parts will be brighter while others must be darker. All legs located on the far side of the illustration must be dark. The pupil and the small wing can also be filled with a dark green color.
Our character looks great! If you want to go one step further with this lesson, then we can add a few simple digital effects. In this step, let's draw dark shadows using new basic shapes. It's important to create a realistic result, so playing with the opacity of these shadows is very important. In other words, our shadows must be partially transparent.
You can draw these new shapes on the bottom of the left antenna, around the eye and near the mouth. More shadows are sketched below the neck, near both arms as well as on the lower part of the body. One more shape is created on the wing.
Creating contrast is very important in a drawing. Now that dark shadows were added to the cartoon praying mantis, let's sketch a few highlights. All new shapes must be colored in white. Once again, adding transparency is a must. Reflections are created inside the head, the eye and the pupil. More highlights are drawn on the body, the grasping forelegs and the wing.
That's it for this lesson on how to draw a simple cartoon praying mantis. Below you can see the final result once all effects are added. Don't hesitate to draw more versions using different colors and textures. Many subspecies are available, so the choice is all yours! You can also try new postures, new angles or simply create something much simpler (or more complex). Possibilities are endless!
Above you can see all steps required to illustrate this cartoon insect properly. Did you have fun working on this cool character? Great! More fun animals and insects from the same series can be drawn here and some fun examples are also available below. Enjoy! :)