Dolphins are beautiful, friendly, and very intelligent creatures. Learning to draw them is not at all complicated. If you are starting out, just try to draw the outline of the basic dolphin shape. Add as many details and colors to it as you want. To give it a funnier personality, you could draw a cartoon dolphin with exaggerated shapes. If you are an experienced artist, try drawing a more realistic dolphin using a photo as a template and adding more detail with shadows.
Method 1 of 3: Easily draw a dolphin
Step 1. Start by drawing the muzzle of the dolphin
It is shaped like a capital J or a hook, with the long edge of the J slanting toward one of the corners of the page. Keep the shape rather short so that you have enough room to outline the rest of the body. A dolphin's head should be about a quarter of the size of its body.
- Don't worry if the shapes aren't perfect.
- You can sketch them without using a pencil to make it easier to erase the lines, before going back over them when you're confident.
Step 2. Draw a capital C for the back of the dolphin
Connect one end of the C to the part of the J hook you drew for its muzzle. Draw a C as big as you want for your dolphin's body. Remember that a dolphin's body is about three to four times the size of its head.
This will be the longest line you are going to draw. It will represent the entire upper part of the animal's body, which is why it can be very long
Step 3. Add eyes and a smile to the face
The dolphin's eyes go just above the J and below the C. Add a smile below the edge of the muzzle.
- The eyes of a dolphin are very small and they have a natural smile.
- Look at a photo of one of these animals to see what their faces look like.
Step 4. Create a short line below the face
To make the neck of the dolphin, draw a short line that connects to the long end of J. Draw this line under the eye.
This line will complete the dolphin's head, which is why it can be as long as you want
Step 5. Draw a long V-shaped fin
At the end of the dolphin's neck, draw a long, thin V to make one of the side fins. The ends of the V will pass over the neckline to make it look like it's attached to the rest of the body. Lean the V back.
Make a slightly rounded V at the end to give the fin a more realistic shape
Step 6. Draw the belly
Draw another curved line in the same direction as the back. Finish the body of the dolphin by drawing another curved line. The line begins at the fin and follows the curve of the back. Leave a little space between the back and the belly at the end to draw the tail of the animal.
Bring the belly line and the back line closer together so that they almost touch to create the narrow shape of the fin
Step 7. Add the caudal, dorsal and lateral fins
Add another curved V-shaped side fin below the neck line. Make a pointed V upside down on the rounded part of the back. Finally, create a triangular shape at the tail to finish the design.
Color the dolphin if you want
Method 2 of 3: Draw a cartoon dolphin
Step 1. Draw a small curved line and a circle for the eye
To create the shape of an eye, draw a C on the side. Then draw a circle inside the C.
Cartoon characters have exaggerated features and they don't have to look realistic. Your dolphin's eyes may then be larger than those of a real dolphin
Step 2. Create the shape of the head around the eye
Draw a short horizontal line that starts from the right side of the eye, then bend it to the right of the line that passes above the eye. Draw another curve to the right of the line that passes under the eye to give a smile.
You can also draw a small curved line at the end of the smile for the cheek
Step 3. Add the neck and fins
Under the dolphin's mouth, add a short line for the neck. Then add a triangular fin at the end of the neck. Draw the fin behind the eye and above the neck so that it looks like it's attached to the body. Draw another V-shape under the neck for the fin on the other side of the body.
You might also see the neck as the bottom of the dolphin's head. Make the head the size you want
Step 4. Draw two lines to create the body of the animal
Continue the line above the eye to make the back of the cetacean. Extend it as much as you want and give it a curve so that its back is round. Draw another line from the fin to the back of the dolphin's body for the belly. Keep the line the same length as the back and tilt it toward the dolphin's back.
Draw two lines that come together without touching to create the thin shape of the tail
Step 5. Close the body with the caudal fin
First, draw a short, curved line at the end of the upper body, then draw another curved line from the lower body connected to the first line to create a V shape at the same angle as the body. Finally, draw a triangle angled towards the body to create the other side of the tail.
Once you have finished the tail and if you are happy with the shape of your dolphin, you can go over the lines to make your design permanent
Step 6. Add details like dorsal fin, vent and colors
Draw an upside down V on the dolphin's back for the fin. Draw a small circle at the top of the head for the vent. Then color it the color you want!
Method 3 of 3: Draw a realistic dolphin
Step 1. Sketch the basic curve of its body
Imagine that the curve represents the spine of the animal. Your dolphin will be as long as the curve you draw. Find a photo for inspiration and draw the curve the same way as the back of the animal in the photo. You will draw the rest of the dolphin from this curve.
You don't have to use special tools to come up with a "perfect" curve. Imperfections will actually help make your design look more realistic
Step 2. Draw a row of ovals along the curve
This will be the size of your dolphin's body. Make the first almost round oval. It will be the lead and it will occupy the first quarter of the curve. The second oval will be the body and it will occupy two quarters of the curve. Finally, draw three small ovals on the last quarter of the curve, with the larger oval close to the body and the smaller oval at the end.
Gently sketch these ovals. They are only there to give you an idea of the location of the body and you will erase them later
Step 3. Add some perspective with a flat face
In the circle you drew for the head, add a vertical oval. It will be the face of the dolphin.
You can also draw a line down the middle of the oval to see its flattened shape
Step 4. Outline the body shape and add contour lines
Draw lines that connect the tops and bottoms of each oval to create the shape of your dolphin. You can also add curved lines that follow the contour of the dolphin's body to give it volume.
The curved lines will help you give more depth to your drawing and guide you when you want to add the shadows
Step 5. Add the nose and eye
To draw the nose, create a horizontal oval that attaches to the underside of the dolphin's face. Position the eye behind the vertical oval, approximately in the middle of the circle.
Dolphins have their eyes on the sides of the head, which is why you're going to put them on the curved part of the head, closer to the body, rather than forward
Step 6. Outline the head and add details
Using the shape of the nose as a guide, trace the shape of the head. Add a mouth and a vent to finish it.
Use a photo of a dolphin to help you know what details to add
Step 7. Add the fins and tail
Draw the dorsal fin by making a rounded triangle in the middle of the upper body. To guide you in the shape of the tail, draw a heart upside down. Widen the shape to make it look like a T. Use another rounded triangle to create the pectoral fin just below the head in the middle of the body.
At this time, you can draw the main parts of the body with a thick black line and erase the guide lines
Step 8. Add a shadow for more depth
Add a shadow under the dolphin's body to give it more depth and make it more realistic. You can also add shadows on the face and fins.