Mastering the art of drawing flora and fauna requires lots of practice and can be a lot of fun. It can be hard to capture animals on the page while out and about, so it’s advisable to try doing so from books, web searches or photos you’ve taken. Plants and flowers, meanwhile, make excellent still life studies, whether drawn inside or out.
Learning how to draw a dog requires you to think about how to represent them using simple shapes. That means a basic circle for the head, a larger oval for the upper body and a smaller circle or oval for the rear. These should be connected by simple diagonal lines, with straight lines from the upper body for the front legs and curved lines from the back to represent the classic rear dog’s legs.
Once you’ve got the basic outline, try and get the ears in proportion, depending on whether you’re drawing the dog front on or in profile. Then it’s a case of refining lines on the back and face, adding curves and detailed lines to show off the muzzle, back and tail properly.
As with dogs, working out how to draw a cat is all about getting the shapes right before you move onto adding curves and shade. Firstly, you need to decide whether you’re drawing a cat walking or sitting. In both cases, use simple circles and ovals to represent the head and upper and lower body.
Look at photos of cats and cat skeletons to help you work out the structure. Focus on getting the curves on the back and legs right next, while ensuring the face and its features are in proportion. If the latter feels challenging, try using grid lines to get eyes, mouth and ears in the right place. These can be easily erased afterwards.
Any art historian will tell you that it took even the best artists years to work out how to draw a horse. Their muscular body and unique running style make them hard to capture, so it’s essential to follow some basic rules. Start with a waved line that runs convex from the top of the head, before becoming concave across the back and convex towards the tail. This represents the horse’s spine. Draw an oval directly beneath the middle of the back and a circle for the head. Overlapping ellipses should represent the chest and hindquarters, with a basic curve for the front of the neck. Add in a simple muzzle to the front of the head and simple legs and feet. From here you can refine and erase any lines and add facial features.
It’s easier to learn how to draw birds when they’re perched and still, rather than in flight. For this, use pictures of birds found online or in bird books. Use a diagonal line to show the bird’s posture, then an oval around this to represent its body. Put the head to the top of the line, overlapping the body, ensuring it’s in proportion. A straight line out from the head will give you scope for drawing a beak, with a similar line from the rear of the body acting as the tail. Add diagonal lines from the body to the tail to make the main shape look more birdlike, with curves between the body and head too.
Once you have this basic shape you can add detail to the beak, eyes and begin to add feathers. The latter will vary depending on what kind of bird you draw, so study images closely and keep practicing.
Dragons might not be real, but that doesn’t mean they’re not fun to draw. And while their mythical status is assured, you can take inspiration from nature when it comes to putting pencil to paper. As with dogs, start with two circles for the upper and lower body and a circle for the head, connected via two curved lines for a long neck. Use upwards curved lines that taper for the tail and an angled line from the upper body for the outline of wings. From here you can get creative, making the face scary or friendly depending on the personality you want to give your creation. Study the scales on reptiles to give the skin a realistic finish.