How to Draw a Monarch Butterfly Easily
- Draw a vertical line with a round pinhead.
The vertical line defines the body length of the butterfly, and the pinhead is the size of its head.
- Define the outline of the forewings and the thickness of the body.
From the upper center of the vertical line, draw an inverted ‘V’. Extend this outline with a pair of diagonal outlines, making a wide spread ‘W’ symbol. This would be the lower outline of the butterfly’s forewings. Complete the outline of the forewings by Making two curves coming from below the head extending to the ends of the ‘W’. Define the thickness of the body while making a shallow curve that separates the upper body to the lower body, like two intersecting grains.
- Define the hindwings.
Draw two curved lines coming from the sides of the body like halves of ovals. The length should be longer than the tail/abdomen of the butterfly by a little. Extend the slopes to the outer sides of the forewings’ lower center (nearly at the center tip of the ‘W’ figure). now you have the shape of the forewings. Draw the linings of the abdomen and apply the head features of the butterfly as well.
- Draw the details of the wings.
The details of the monarch butterfly’s wings are very ornate and the contrast in colors make the each parts very recognizable. the sections or cells of the wings are round edged bars divided by the veins. There are at least three distinguishable cells surrounding the center cell or the discal cell on the forewings, and more but shorter ones at the hindwings. (the ones nearest to the area that connects to the body). The costal margins or the edges of the wings have small random patches.
To easily establish the details of the wings, draw the discal cells in tear drop shapes, and make at least five divisions with curved lines spreading outwards to the edges of the wings.
- Retrace the outlines with a permanent marks.
Once you are satisfied with the main outlines and the details, redefine the markings using a pen or any permanent marker. Use thicker lines for the main outlines of the figure, and thinner line marks for the inner details. And then erase all the pencil markings to prepare for coloring.
- Apply the first base color of the monarch butterfly.
Using a dull charcoal black, color all the areas excluding the cells and the spots. Keep in mind the you will darken some small areas later, so the dark value you use should not be the darkest.
- Color the cells with the second base color.
The cells of the monarch butterfly’s wings are basically orange. Use a slightly brighter tone of orange like apricot and fill all the cells including the larger patches on the apex of the forewings (the 3 bars nearest to the upper edge of the wings).
- Make some shadows.
Using a darker shade of black, apply some shadows on the overlapped areas beneath the lower edges of the forewings and the sides of the body.
- Apply a brighter orange tone.
The orange color of the monarch butterfly near the body on the hindwings are usually brighter. Using an orange color with a paler or brighter value, brighten the upper sides of some of the cells on the hindwings.
- Apply a stronger tone of orange and finish the drawing.
Use a warmer tone of orange, like red orange, to darken the edges of the orange areas. Make your final retouches, and you’re done drawing a monarch butterfly.
If you are interested in other drawing tutorials about several topics, take a look at our books. https://l2draw.com/collections/drawing-for-beginners. All the books are meant to teach and guide individuals who have no experience in drawing. The tutorials are explained thoroughly so anyone could easily follow through and learn draw different subjects.