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How to draw a butterfly with amazing special effects

How to draw a butterfly

In this tutorial, you will learn how to draw a butterfly filled with simple digital effects used to create more depth and to make this cartoon illustration more realistic. If you have access to a vector application, then this lesson should definitely be easier to achieve. On the other hand, all effects can also be created using pencils, markers or even paint. Results will vary, but that's the beauty when creating art ... nothing needs to be perfect or similar!

Using a simple video lesson to begin with

Before proceeding with the written version of this tutorial, you can try the video found below. This one should help you learn how to sketch the character properly using a few basic ideas. Then, simply continue with the rest of this lesson to learn how to create more effects inside the character.

step 1 - drawing the cartoon butterfly

Great! In the first step of this tutorial, you must draw the cartoon insect using mostly long and short curved lines. See how both antennas are long and curly. The body is filled with a couple of stripes and wings are loaded with simple patterns. Large pupils and eyes are perfect to create a more friendly character. Once you are done, you can proceed with the next step ...

How to draw a butterfly

step 2 - Colors to make the insect more appealing

For this character, only two colors are used: blue and green. The eyes and the small circular patches on all four wings are white. Also, notice that all lines are filled with dark colors (and they are not black like in the previous step). For instance, all lines used around the wings are filled with a dark green color. A dark blue color is used around the head, the body and on the antennas.

How to draw a butterfly

step 3 - color gradients to add another layer of realism

If you are using a vector software, then adding color gradients should be relatively easy. Our goal is to make the illustration visually more appealing and create some depth quickly and easily.

See how adding two colors inside each shape can create a nice effect inside the butterfly. Of course, you can do the same thing using any other material (but it can be tricky with tools like markers).

How to draw a butterfly

step 4 - shadows to enhance the character

Let's continue our lesson on how to draw a butterfly by sketching additional shapes all over the insect to form shadows. These new elements should be dark, partially transparent and located on the bottom of most shapes. You can see all new shapes below with a temporary pink outline. 

How to draw a butterfly

step 5 - highlights and reflections to create more volume

Now that shadows were created using dark shapes, let's add brighter elements to form highlights and reflections. These new shapes are colored in white and are also partially transparent near the bottom. All these new forms must be located near the top of each shape as seen in the illustration below.

How to draw a butterfly

Learning how to draw a butterfly has never been so easy!

Below you can see the cartoon butterfly once all steps are completed. You can also look at all steps required to learn how to draw a butterfly like this one below the final illustration. These creatures are fun to draw because you can be really creative drawing and adding patterns that are fun and colorful.

How to draw a butterfly
How to draw a butterfly

Unleash your creativity, draw using various lines and shapes and have fun applying fun colors and great digital effects to more characters like this one. You can try a few of these butterflies below! :)

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