How to Draw a Stegosaurus

The family of stegosaurs are heavy dinosaurs with wide and relatively long Bodies. Their backs/spines are arced or observably rounded which makes the shapes of their trunks either leaf-shaped or a perfect half of a circle. Their head shapes are usually oval with slender snouts and are small, almost seemingly disproportionate to their large bodies.

The most well-known of their kind is the stegosaurus, and here's a simple process of how to draw one.

  • Establish the mass.

Create a base to easily establish the mass and proportions of the subject. The body of a stegosaurus is pretty much like in a shape of a teardrop with the thicker side on the rear. use a combination of spheres to easily establish the proportions of the leg, with the back legs being observably larger than the front legs. Being thicker and longer, the back legs should be leveled higher than the front legs. In comparison, the sphere representing the knee of the back leg is almost just as big as the sphere of the front leg’s thickest portion.  The base of the head could be just a quarter of an oval, held by a relatively long neck. The length of the tail is relatively the same length of the base/trunk (I decided to curve it down, although the tails are usually held above the level of the head).

Once you established the size and proportions of the body, sketch the bony plates and the spikes of the tail. The biggest plates are often portrayed at the middle of the spine/back and then they rapidly decrease in size as both sides reach the neck and the tail.


  • Properly establish the main outline and clean up the drawing.

Redefine the main outline of the figure and erase the sketch marks and the base forms that you used. You need the figure clean, regardless of whether you will remove it later or not, so you can properly apply the primary shades (since most of them would be close to the edges).

  • Apply the primary shades.

Convey the dimensions and the subtle details of the subject via shades. portray the subtle traces of the rib cage and muscle linings of the body using faint mid-tone shading with very light hand strokes. Apply some shades on the edges of the main outline to depict its contour shape somehow, and then shade the farther sides and overlapped portions for the shadows. If you are drawing traditionally, make sure that you smear the shades smoothly and evenly (you should always smear and even out the primary shading).

  • Start applying the primary colors. Choose the main color/colors that you want for your dinosaur and start applying the first layer of coloring. remember to adjust the brightness/darkness value depending on the area you are applying it to.

Convey the shallow slopes and any subtly receded areas of the figure through the values of the main color (the middle section of the trunk being lighter then gets darker as it goes up to the back, the subtle shift of dark to light values around and over the thigh and shoulder, etc.). And of course, the farther and overlapped portions should appear darker. Just use your primary shading as a guide to how dark the farther portions should be. Remember that the overlapped areas should have the darkest values of the color among the rest, as they should have shadows on the sides of the farther plates and the upper areas of the farther limbs right below the trunk).

  • Add the other details.

Once you are satisfied if the toning of your primary color, you could now add in any body prints or patterns. Just makes sure that you blend or flow these patterns with the contour shape of your subject.

  • Darken the value and elaborate the details.

Generally decrease the brightness of each values. If you are drawing traditionally, a very light run of a used cotton or whatever you used for smudging/smearing (assuming that it is stained enough). Applying these murky and thin layer of shade is ideal with gray soft charcoal, as it won’t overpower the colors (best-suited for colored pencils or even an already dried water-coloring) and you could always regain the tones using a kneaded eraser. But if you are drawing digitally, just simply make another layer over all the previous layers and drop down the opacity of the layer or the brush to low.

  • Add a few more subtle (darker) tones to serve as an accent and finalize the drawing.

By darkening the tones, it would be easier to elaborate the wrinkles of the skin and any other details of its texture (since you somehow gained back a brighter value). Use a kneaded eraser (or even the brighter tone of the primary color) to create or re-create the wrinkles and skin folds, and use a darken color close to the primary color to add in a few more deeper folds and complementing subtle shadows for the previous ones.


If you wish to see more examples with more detailed guides of how to draw dinosaurs, grab a copy of "Drawing Dinosaurs - How to Draw Dinosaurs for Absolute Beginners".

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