Artists often look towards the sea for inspiration, and you can only imagine why! The ocean is filled with wonder and excitement with shark species patrolling our waters worldwide. It is only natural that our interest in these fierce and fascinating creatures has grown over the years. In this easy shark tutorial, you will learn how to create a realistic shark drawing in 10 simple steps. Here, you will learn the basics of creating the initial sketches to adding pen and color to your shark drawing.
Table of Contents
- 1 An Easy Shark Drawing Tutorial in 10 Steps
- 2 Steps for Learning How to Draw a Shark
- 2.1 Step 1: Draw the Initial Sketch
- 2.2 Step 2: Sketch in the Lateral Line
- 2.3 Step 3: Sketch in the Fins
- 2.4 Step 4: Add the Facial Features
- 2.5 Step 5: Draw an Accurate Outline of the Eye Shape
- 2.6 Step 6: Outline Planning With a Pen and Erase Any Pencil Lines
- 2.7 Step 7: Begin Adding Texture to the Skin, Working From One Side to the Next
- 2.8 Step 8: Add Shadows to the Darker Areas and Blend Them Into the Highlights
- 2.9 Step 9: Begin Adding Layers of Color With Chosen Materials (Optional Step)
- 2.10 Step 10: Use Darker Shades of Color to Create Depth (Optional)
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
An Easy Shark Drawing Tutorial in 10 Steps
This quick and exciting tutorial will show you how to draw a shark. You will also discover the results of adding color towards the end of your illustration to create a uniquely realistic shark drawing. With the basic materials gathered below, you can soon begin creating your easy shark drawing in 10 simple steps!
Choosing a Shark Species
Over 1000 years ago, sharks occupied our oceans. Throughout the years, shark species have grown to over 400 types. They are without a doubt the most fierce-looking animals of the waters. It is for this reason that this tutorial will cover the infamous Great White shark.
It is encouraged to observe many different types of sharks and decide which one appears to be what you are looking for – not only in fierceness – but in form, shape, and size.
Materials Needed for Creating a Shark Sketch
This tutorial will cover the basics of constructing a shark sketch to a higher degree of realism. It is recommended to use materials and tools that you would prefer to use to create drawings. If you are still learning the ropes, these are the basic materials you could use to create your easy shark drawing.
List of Materials for a Shark Drawing
- Choice of paper
- Masking tape
- Shark reference image or template (optional)
List of Materials for Adding Color to Your Shark Drawing (Optional)
Steps for Learning How to Draw a Shark
Once you have selected your chosen species of shark and have gathered your materials, you can set up your workspace and begin creating your unique shark drawing. If you are looking to create a realistic shark drawing, you could work from a photograph or reference image. Do not be scared to dive into your planning!
Once you have established the animal’s basic form and have placed the fins in the right places, it becomes easy to learn how to draw a shark in no time.
Step 1: Draw the Initial Sketch
Begin by lightly drawing the initial sketch of the shark’s body with a pencil. Observe the body of the shark as segmented shapes. The first shape mapped should be a pointed teardrop-like outline that is set on its side. The head should be slightly wider at its end and narrower at the tail-end.
Step 2: Sketch in the Lateral Line
Sketch in the lateral line that runs along the gills to the tail-end. This line is often technically invisible on sharks, but it is an important element that forms the foundation of the body when creating your shark sketch. Including it in your drawing will assist when considering the shape and movement of your shark.
Step 3: Sketch in the Fins
Start by drawing the triangular shapes of all six visible fins. Take note that the fins are slightly different from one another with varying proportions. The dorsal fin is placed on top of the body, the pectoral fin is at its side, and the three smaller fins are towards the tailfin. Think of the fins as the shark’s way of steering through the water.
They should be sketched in crescent shapes to show how the shark can power through a body of water.
Step 4: Add the Facial Features
Draw the gills first. Take note of where the gills are situated on your species of shark. Next draw in the profile, the snout or nose, the mouth, and the teeth. Notice that most sharks have an incredibly large overbite, so do not hold back on mimicking this effect in your shark drawing.
The placement of these facial characteristics is really important to get right so that you can tell exactly which type of shark it is you are capturing.
Step 5: Draw an Accurate Outline of the Eye Shape
The eyes are the next important characteristic to place because sharks tend to communicate their fierceness through their eyes. Sketch in the widest visible circle that makes up the whole eye.
Then draw another smaller circle within the first one. Next, fill the second circle with a pencil and leave a small white dot to place a highlight and create dimension within the eye.
Step 6: Outline Planning With a Pen and Erase Any Pencil Lines
After observing your initial drawing and once you are happy with the foundations of your shark sketch, you can begin outlining your planning permanently with a pen. It is recommended to start from left to right if you are right-handed and vice-versa.
This will prevent your drawing from smudging as you work across the surface.
Step 7: Begin Adding Texture to the Skin, Working From One Side to the Next
Using your chosen technique of shading, begin adding texture to the shark’s skin with a pen. In the highlights where the light falls onto the shark’s skin, there will be fewer clusters of texture, whereas textures in the shadow areas will need more detail.
Step 8: Add Shadows to the Darker Areas and Blend Them Into the Highlights
Observe the areas of the skin where shadows are significantly darker. Look closely at how the light falls and meets the body of your shark. Begin adding more shading. Once your darker tones are in place, start blending them towards the highlighted areas of your shark until you are happy with the amount of detail rendered.
Step 9: Begin Adding Layers of Color With Chosen Materials (Optional Step)
Once you are pleased with your illustration, you can start adding color to your shark sketch! Adding color to your sketch creates a truly believable and realistic shark drawing. Watercolor works strikingly well with ink, so it is recommended to use watercolor pencils or paints if you have done your outline with pens.
Observe the skin tone of your shark and begin adding moderate, diluted layers of watercolor.
Step 10: Use Darker Shades of Color to Create Depth (Optional)
Add darker tones of color to the shadow areas of your shark. These sections should be defined in your existing sketch and easy to identify. Adding these final touches of color will create the illusion of realism through the shape and form. This will make your shark sketch incredibly dimensional and viciously believable!
Sharks are fantastic examples of the ocean. They are built to power through large quantities of water, and you can see this in the way their bodies are shaped and formed. This tutorial shows you just how easy it can be to create a realistic shark drawing by making sure your initial sketch is in proportion before adding your permanent outline. Now that you have completed your easy shark drawing in 10 simple steps, you can now start observing other sea creatures you might like to draw as a new challenge!
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Draw a Shark Step by Step?
If you are looking to learn how to draw a realistic shark or even a simple drawing, then you have all you need to know in this 10-step tutorial. You will learn that the most important part is to get your initial sketch down before working on the details of your shark. You also have the option of adding color to see how it can truly bring your shark to life!
Is It Difficult to Create a Shark Sketch?
A shark could easily be quite a difficult sea animal to draw, but it can be very simple if you follow the simple steps to get the proportions of your shark sketch just right. Once you have the correct body shape of your shark type, as well as the fins and facial features in place, you will have everything you need to create an easy shark drawing.
Demi Bucklow is an independent artist and photographer living in Cape Town, South Africa. Since graduating from the University of Cape Town in 2018 from Michaelis School of Fine Art with a degree specializing in fine art photography, she currently works as a freelance artist, content creator and writer. Demi’s particular interests explore a range of multimedia illustration, collage art, photography and videography, darkroom processing and stop-motion animation. Her work is an exploration of nature and its phenomenon – somewhere between art and space.
Artistic practice presents the ability to communicate a vision. It is through techniques of pointillism and realism that form, and substance are explored as a metaphor for matter; super-imposing a thousand marks and points until an image is formed before our eyes. From illustrations to surrealist landscapes, Demi translates corporeality – mixing the obtuse and vacuous with the astute and expressive which leads to a mixture of irrevocable pondering over what is and what could be.
Learn more about the Art in Context Team.
Cite this Article
Demi, Bucklow, “How to Draw a Shark – Create Your Own Realistic Shark Drawing.” Art in Context. May 26, 2022. URL: https://artincontext.org/how-to-draw-a-shark/
Bucklow, D. (2022, 26 May). How to Draw a Shark – Create Your Own Realistic Shark Drawing. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/how-to-draw-a-shark/