How to Draw Animals

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In this section, I will show you how to draw animals made mostly from basic squares and rectangles. If you are not familiar with this site (or if you are a beginner), then this is the best place to start your drawing journey! These tutorials are featuring simple basic characters that are easy to achieved. 

Here, you will learn a few basic tips to help you understand how these cartoon animals are created. A few examples are also available so that you can try to sketch and draw a few of these cool animals. Finally, an exhaustive list featuring all available characters from this series can be found on the bottom of this page. Time to proceed with the first step ...

Let's see how these characters are created

Let's begin by studying a character that is relatively easy to illustrate: the dog. All tips available below can be applied to most animals that are included in this collection. Of course, these tips and techniques will not be relevant for all drawing lessons, but most characters should be concerned by the content of this section.

Draw Animals

1. All body parts are made from squares, rectangles and triangles

Besides a few exceptions, all characters are drawn using shapes made from sharp corners. You won't find bodies or heads created from circles or oval shapes. Drawing a perfect square is sometime easier than sketching a flawless circle. That's why these lessons are perfect for absolute beginners! :)

2. Facial features are basic

All eyes are made from dots (and therefore we don't need to create pupils) and most mouths are represented by straight lines. The nose is either made of a square, a triangle or a rectangle.

3. The body and the head are usually made using large rectangles

In other cases, the head and body are merged into a single shape. All characters are very different and you will come across some unusual differences.

4. When needed, minor details are added

As you can see while looking at this cute cartoon dog, you will have the opportunity to draw animals that are not filled with shadows, highlights or textures. However, drawing small details might be needed in some cases. Some are crucial while others are drawn just to increase the level of cuteness of the animal.

5. Strokes and outlines are regular and thick

All shapes are drawn using thick and bold outlines. This is a good technique to make sure that all animals are visually appealing and easy to read. Details found inside the characters can be drawn with irregular lines or using strokes with pointed ends.

6. Color gradients are used inside most shapes

In this series, animals are not filled with saturated plain colors. Instead, color gradients are added inside the illustration for a more professional result. It's definitely not something you absolutely need to do, but it's a nice touch to add.

Starting with an easy animal: a gold fish!

For our fish example on this series of how to draw animals mostly made from squares and triangles, let's work on an adorable gold fish. Here, all you need to do is draw a square to form the body and then you can use six triangles to illustrate the fins and the tail. The eye is made from a simple yellow circle and the mouth from a broken line.

No doubt that this is one easy character to start with. Notice that you also need to separate the body of the fish in two since the front and the back of the shape is not filled with the same color. Great! Let's try another character below and see how it goes!

How to draw animals: gold fish

Same shapes, but a different result

For this second example, I just wanted to show you how drawing similar shapes could end up with something quite different. Indeed, this cute octopus is also created from a large rectangular shape and several small triangles. Of course, these shapes are assembled differently, but the whole proceed is quite similar.

For the face of the creature, simply draw two small dots to form the eyes and one long broken line to represent the mouth. Small patches made from circles were also added near the top of the head.

How to draw animals: octopus

Something new ... a character only made from rectangles

This third example is featuring a crocodile only drawn from rectangles (at least for all major elements). Only the eyes, the nostrils, the hair and the teeth are drawn using circles, lines and triangles. A nice pattern created from several small rectangles can also be seen on the chest of the creature (colored in beige).

Don't worry! This cute animal is also relatively easy to duplicate. Your biggest challenge here is to draw accurate proportions (but it's something that is hard to do for all characters, simple or not). Take your time and study the anatomy of your subject carefully before proceeding.

How to draw animals: crocodile

Looking for a real challenge? This could be it!

So far most characters were quite easy to complete. If you want to draw animals that are slightly more difficult to achieved, then this cartoon reindeer might be for you! Once again, it's not necessarily a tough animal to sketch, but ending up with accurate proportions can be challenging.

In fact, only the body is created from a complex shape. Adding the head properly (so that it's not too low or too high) is also important to succeed. Antlers are indeed complex, but since these elements don't necessarily have a specific shape that you must absolutely follow, they don't represent a huge test.

How to draw a reindeer

Another great animal to draw featuring different challenges

Still looking to draw animals that are more difficult to create? Excellent! This cool rhino is assemble from various basic shapes that must be correctly positioned. Some interesting particularities can be seen in this tutorial. First, horns are merged with the head of the animal. You can also see that the ear is aligned with the left part of the head and the top part of the body.

Other interesting features to add are the tail (made from a single line) and the nails that are visible on all four legs. How the eyes are placed inside the head is also a fun aspect to play with.

How to draw animals: rhino

An original approach to create our friendly snake

Unlike most characters created so far, this cartoon snake doesn't have a body made from a single shape. Instead, you must draw three different layers (made from rectangles that are filled with patches) below the head of the animal. Patches are also made from small rectangles to give a sense of unity to the drawing.

Notice how the tip of the tail is made from a tiny triangle. Both eyes are once again made from small circular shapes and the tongue is represented by small pointed lines. Don't forget to add a bright green color inside the image to complete this particular tutorial! :)

How to draw animals: Snake

One last simple character to complete these examples

This last insect is another good example how adding just a few shapes can turn a simple drawing into a recognizable animal. Indeed, only two rectangles, six squares, two dots and nine lines are needed to form this ladybug. Of course, the red color and the fact that all six squares are used as patches on the back of the animal are all that is needed to achieve our goal.

Insects are always easier to draw. Just think how easy it is to sketch a spider, a butterfly or a snail using just a few basic shapes. :)

How to draw animals: Ladybug

more animals for more fun are available here!

Below you can see the complete this of characters that you can draw in this series. You can have a lot of fun trying to illustrate animals like the cat, the lion or the pig. All tutorials have specific challenges that can help improve your drawing abilities and learn new techniques that can be used to draw additional animals and characters not found here.

There are all animals included in this series:

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