Learn How to Draw Wings With This Tutorial

“Winging it” with your artwork can be fun and produce great results, but some things still have to look just right to make your art believable. That’s why learning how to draw wings is crucial if you enjoy drawing birds. Drawing the correct size, shape and placement of the wings can make or break how believable the animal looks.

Drawing bird wing examples

Learn how to draw wings for all different kinds of birds with this tutorial.

Bird wings can be little difficult to draw. Even if you know and can draw the basic shape of bird wings, the feathers can cause trouble. No matter — you’re in the right place!

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Read on to learn how to draw wings in the correct shape and size and how to add feathery details.

Picking the right type of wings

wrong wings on wrong bird

Not all birds have the same wings. Once you know what type of bird you want to draw, study its wings to make sure you draw the right size and shape. Whether you are going to draw less detailed wings or highly detailed wings, they need to be correct for the species of bird.

Shaping wings and feathers

When drawing a rough sketch for a bird, use some kind of visual reference, and start by drawing a simple outline of the wing shape. Then, draw the feather details after the shape looks right.

Drawing the feathers’ details will depend on how you want the finished bird to look. Not all bird drawings need to be Audubon-perfect! Even masterpieces can have very simple drawings of birds.

Decide how detailed or non-detailed you need to be and start the process. Use your outline as a guide for feather lengths and positioning.

Drawing bird wing outlines

Layering feathers

Here’s a trick for drawing better feathers: If you’re drawing a top view of the bird’s wings, the first, frontmost feather is overlapped by the second feather. If the drawing shows the underside of the wing, it’s the reverse — the first feather overlaps the next feather and so on.

Tip: You can train your hand to draw any repetitious details by practice. Trace wing details from a book photo and draw them over and over, even if you just pencil over the same lines. It may take time, but you will get it.

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When it comes to drawing wings, less is more

With all this considered, take the time before you start to think about how much wing detail you want. And as you work, you can always backtrack to keep it simple or keep moving forward for more detailed feathers. Either way, getting the basic shape right will be your best friend when drawing winged creatures.

baby bird with sweet wings

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