In this drawing tutorial, we’ll take a look at how to draw a realistic owl.  There are a lot of details in this drawing, but we’ll add them all towards the end of the drawing process.  It’s easy to get caught up in the details and feel like you need to draw them in the beginning.  Instead, we’ll just focus on developing the basic shape of the owl and then layer the details over the structure that we create.  This concept can be applied to any drawing that you decide to create.

Let’s get started…

Step 1 – Draw Shapes for the Head and the Body

We’ll start with a couple of very simple shapes.  An oval with a flattened top is drawn for the head.  Overlapping it, a longer oval with a tapered end is drawn for the body.

How to draw an owl step 1 - Draw shapes for the head and the body

Step 2 – Draw Shapes for the Ears and Plan Feature Locations

First, we’ll connect the two shapes that were drawn in the last step with a couple of lines.  This will create the “neck” of the owl.  We’ll also draw a couple of “rounded” triangles for the ears.  A “V” shaped line is drawn to indicate the location of where the eyes will be drawn, with a line for the beak extending down from the center-point.  A couple of shapes are also drawn extending out from the body for the beginnings of the legs.

How to Draw an Owl Step 2 - Draw shapes for the ears and plan locations for the features

Step 3 – Draw a Branch, The Eyes, and Other Details

We’ll continue building off of the structure that we have built so far in our drawing.  We’ll need to have the owl resting on something, so logically a branch makes sense.  We’ll also draw a couple of circles for the eyes, and a few lines for texture in the ears.  The talons are also added to the drawing in this step.

How to Draw an Owl - Draw a Branch and The Eyes

Step 4 – Develop the Eyes and Add Textural Marks

The eyes are, of course, one of the most interesting features on an owl.  We’ll continue to develop the eyes in this step by drawing the iris and darkening the pupils.  Be sure to leave a small white speck to create a highlight. A few lines are drawn extending outward from the eyes to create the illusion of feathers.  We’ll  also add a few textural lines on the branch to make it look a bit more natural.

How to Draw an Owl Step 4 - Develop the Eyes

Step 5 – Finish the Drawing with Details

Now that we have developed a solid structure for the owl, we can add the remaining details.  Although there are a lot of lines that are drawn in this step, they are fairly simple.  We’ll create the illusion of feathers by drawing lines that follow the cross contours of the body of the owl.

These lines should be more concentrated on the sides of the owl and in areas of shadow.  We can go over all of the lines that were drawn in the previous steps with a “finish” medium like ink or soft graphite, and erase any stray lines that are left.

How to Draw a Realistic Owl


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