Learning how to draw a feather can easily be done using only a few curved lines and plain colors. I will show you a simple way to illustrate this basic part of birds without the need to create complex shadows, highlights and textures. Of course, you can easily add more realism by creating something more realistic if you want to.
Feathers are not only needed to fly, but they are also useful for thermal insulation and to protect the animal from water. They can be used to create pillows and blankets. In some cultures, feathers are also used for a wide variety of reasons. Let's see how we can draw a simple cartoon feather like the one found above.
First, let's draw two simple shapes to help us locate the subject in our work space. Since feathers are rather basic, we just need to sketch a large oval shape to form the silhouette and a rectangle to represent the shaft. To make this image more dynamic, you can give a small angle to the subject. Great! Let's proceed with the second part of this lesson on how to draw a feather.
Feathers are organic things, so it's important to use irregular lines to illustrate them. First, draw the shaft using two long curved lines. A small oval shape can be seen on the bottom of the shaft. Next, work on the silhouette using several short lines. Once you are done with this step, you can erase both basic shapes created in the previous step.
Near the bottom of the feather (and on the shaft), you can draw small afterfeathers using more short lines. You can see these new additions below (surrounded by a temporary pink outline). Great! We are already done sketching our subject. It's time to play with beautiful colors!
The feather is filled with a light beige color. The afterfeathers can be slightly darker. For the shaft, a darker version of the same color can be used. This drawing is nice, but we can do better. In the next step, I will show you how to add simple colors to create more depth and volume to the image.
It's now time to draw additional elements to give more volume to the subject. For this step, let's sketch a few stripes on the main part of the feather using a darker color.
It's still important to use irregular lines to create this fun object. You can see all new additions below (this time, they are surrounded by a bright blue color).
We are not done yet! Now that darker stripes were added on the feather, let's draw a few brighter ones as shown in the illustration below. The feather looks amazing now! However, one last step can help improve our image by creating simple lines on the subject.
All over the feather, you can draw more thin shapes to create a fun texture. Simply use the colors already available inside this cartoon feather to create these new elements. Notice how only a few new shapes are needed to create something visually more appealing.
Once all steps are completed, you should end up with a fun feather made only from plain colors and basic lines. Don't hesitate to create more versions using various shapes, lines and colors. Adding textures, shadows and highlights can also be a good idea if you prefer to end up with a more realistic result.
Below, you can see all steps required to illustrate this feather properly grouped inside a single image. Study this tutorial carefully if you need more assistance. Drawing a feather is pretty similar to creating a leaf. Only a few subtle differences (like colors and textures) can be seen.
Now that you know how to draw a feather using simple lines and shapes, you are invited to try more fun birds from this site. Have fun drawing and don't forget to practice often. :)