Learning how to draw a firefly made from complex effects can be a nice challenge for any artists. In this tutorial, you will learn to create an adorable cartoon firefly filled with gradients, fun shadows and shiny reflections. Fireflies are fun creatures that can produce light using their abdomens. These lights can range from yellow, red or blue. Many species are available and they all have various appearances. Let's see how we can sketch a simple version of this iconic insect using mostly a few basic shapes, curved lines and a few simple drawing techniques.
You can start this lesson by creating a few basic shapes to form a template that we will use to draw the insect. First, sketch a large circle to represent the head. The body is made from a long and thin oval shape. Arms and legs are created using long rectangles. Complete this step by adding the feet and the hands of the cartoon creature using oval shapes. Don't hesitate to adjust proportions and the posture as needed. It's the perfect moment to do so.
Now that our template is done, let's sketch the silhouette using long and short curved lines. As you can see below, these new lines are made from pointed ends. The head is large and the chin is slightly pointed. Knees and elbows are made from short circles. Notice the shape of the hands and the feet. When you are done, you can erase the gray shapes created in the previous step. We don't need them anymore.
Behind the cartoon firefly, you can sketch four large wings also made from long curved lines. All four wings are pointed near the ends. Both wings near the bottom are aligned with the legs while the top wings are originating near the shoulders.
Let's continue this lesson on how to draw a firefly by working inside the head. Both eyes and pupils are done using perfect circles. Thick antennas are added on top of the head using medium lines. The bottom part is large and thick while the top is sharp. You can draw a mouth using a simple line. A simple pattern is added inside the lower part of the body.
It's time to add colors inside the firefly clipart. You can do so using gradients. All four wings can be filled with a subtle blue color. You can also modify the color of the outlines (for the wings) using a dark blue color. The glowing area can be yellow on the outside and orange on the inside. The rest of the insect is colored in brown. Both pupils can be darker.
Adding simple shadows can be a good idea to create more contrast and volume inside the drawing. These new additions need to be darker and partially transparent since shadows are often smooth and subtle. It's important to draw these new elements in areas that are partially hidden by the light source.
Now that you know the recipe to create cool shadows, you can add them around the eyes, on the wings (near the body) as well as on the arms and legs. More shadows can be drawn on the chest of the clipart firefly. You can see all new additions below (surrounded by a temporary pink outline).
Creating basic highlights and reflections is also a good idea. Just like shadows, these new elements must be partially transparent if you wish to end up with a subtle result. Instead of using dark colors, reflections must be colored in white. You can add highlights inside all four wings, on the pupils, the top of the head and the body.
Now that all steps are completed, you should end up with an adorable cartoon firefly made from basic shapes and effects. Like I said earlier, fireflies come in different shapes and colors. You can now try to illustrate more versions of this amazing insect using various patterns, colors and even textures. Just be creative and draw more fun insects to practice as much as possible.
Below you can see all eight steps required to learn how to draw a firefly grouped inside a single illustration. Now that this lesson is over, feel free to learn to draw more cute insects and animals from the same series here. :)
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