If there’s anything we love just as much as drawing, it’s animals. And we mean all kinds — from dogs and cats to birds and bears. No matter your medium of choice, we’ve got a critter just waiting to inspire you!
1. A Very Good Doggo
Come on, who could resist those puppy eyes? Bringing your pup to life is easier than you might think (the secret is all in the shading). Practice with this beagle, then apply the methods you learn to any breed.
2. The Elephant in the Room
Elephants never forget, and you’ll never forget these texture techniques once you finish your drawing! Not only will you capture that aged, wise elephant vibe, you’ll also get a crash-course in everything charcoal.
3. Birds of a (Colored Pencil) Feather
Rule number one for bringing birds to vibrant life in colored pencil: keep those pencil strokes short. This project takes some time to flesh (feather?) out, but the reward is oh-so-worth it.
4. Make ’em Anthropomorphic
Hey cartoonists, this one’s for you. Making critter characters gives you so much artistic freedom — play around with different animals, dress ’em up and put them in silly situations. It’s easy, and it all starts with a snowman (yep, you heard that right).
5. Coloring Cats and Dogs
Okay: this pet portrait is STUNNING. Don’t get intimidated by the realism! Use a grid to nail the drawing, then work slowly and pay close attention to fur direction as you lay the color. You can follow these same steps to draw dogs, too!
6. Never Say Neigh
Drawing a horse is all about anatomy. Use our free reference photos (or one of your own!) to block in the basic forms, then shade to build details and definition. (Bonus: this project also teaches you how to draw the cutest goat).
7. Take Flight
Ink, brush and watercolor… yes please! Sketch your bluebird and set your values with graphite before transferring the drawing, mixing your washes and adding ink. Remember that each mark you make in ink is permanent, so work slowly and go from your lights to darks!
8. Could a Project Be Any Cuter?
How to draw a panda? More like how to draw a totally irresistible ball of fluff! This project is crazy adorable, but it’s also a great practice in value, light and texture in charcoal. And making those facial features stand out from all that fur is a fun challenge!
9. A Little Birdie
Drawing a realistic bird does not mean you have to detail every single little feather. Learn to use textural marks and a full tonal range to detail those feathers without actually drawing them. It’s kinda like magic, and a pencil is your magic wand.