Learn How to Draw Aquatic Animals - For the Absolute Beginner

Like any other subject for drawing, the most important elements in drawing aquatic animals are the outlines, depiction of the dimensions of the shape via lines or shades, and the details that  properly flow with the contour of the figure.

in order to properly define the dimensions of a subject, you have to identify the planes that constructs the figure as a whole. These planes would be your guide   when you apply gradations.

Depicting dimensions is also done by adjusting the details properly. I will show you the process using a siamese fighting fish as an example.

The fins of a Siamese fighting fish are long and graceful. They can be portrayed with a set of thin curved lines. Draw the outlines of the fins as if they are flowing lightly in the water, and then bend the lining details to the contour shape of the fins’ outline. 


  • The lines should bend with the flow of the fins’ outlines.
  • The ends of the fins are better portrayed as soft spikes.

Take note of the portions of the fins that should appear nearer, these portions should contain a highlight to depict its difference in dimension. Convey the linings in different line weights (from light to dark) to portray a texture that would visually appear as a soft and lightly flowing figure.

The most common texture applied to fishes is the scales. Their individual shapes are usually small arcs or diamonds. They overlap each other in an ordered manner and bends across the whole figure.

  • The scales should depict the dimensions of the figure properly. Identify the planes to easily apply the changes on the shape and direction of the scales.

There is no other way to portray the scales with visually obvious shapes but to draw it one by one. Do not portray the texture by simply drawing a set of continuous arcs with a continuous hand stroke. Draw the scales one after another to properly convey the scales in appropriate look and order.

There are certain types of aquatic animals with shapes that are very different from others. Aside from the small details, texture or body prints, some have body figures that are far from the common forms.

The seahorse has intricate details in its body. Its prominent ridges go around its entire shape, affecting the texture of the planes and changes the way how the figure should be outlined.

Establish the contour by placing a darker shade on the sides of the figure right next to the outlines, and place a thin line of shades underneath and above the ridges to leave the ridges with the brightest value to make it appear elevated.

There are several more tips and tricks on how to draw aquatic animals using pencils. These are available in " Learn How to Draw Aquatic Animals - For the Absolute Beginner". The book contains several more examples and simple guides to show a beginner the process of creating illustrations of different aquatic animals. From constructing the outlines, establishing dimensions, applying details and adding shades, these are carefully explained in a way that a non-experienced person could easily understand and learn.




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