How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a cute dolphin step by step, from the silhouette and the details of the head to the fins. You will learn how to plan the drawing of an animal body, how to make it look 3D with some basic rules of perspective, and how to shade in a basic way. You can use any tools you want!

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Before You Start

It’s important to draw what we see, not what we think we see. So let’s take a look at real dolphins to prepare for the task:

1. How to Draw a Dolphin’s Body

Step 1

Sketch the basic curve of the body.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 2

Find the middle of this curve. Don’t use any special tools—just estimate it.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 3

Divide each half of the curve into halves. This will help us with proportions.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 4

Draw a circle in the first quarter of the curve. It doesn’t need to be a perfect circle!

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 5

Draw an oval across another two quarters. Make it rotated, so that the curve is going right through it.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 6

Draw a row of circles, like beads on a string, until you reach the end of the curve. Make each gradually smaller than the previous one.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by StepHow to Draw a Dolphin Step by StepHow to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 7

Let’s add some perspective to the body to make it more realistic. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt! Draw an oval on the front of the head, creating a flat “face”.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 8

Cross the face in the middle to see this flatness better.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 9

Can you see the form of the body? Draw a line along its side. Remember it’s you who decides where the side is!

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 10

Draw a line going through the bottom of the body. It must follow the rhythm defined by the side line.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 11

Outline the whole form of the body, following this rhythm.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 12

You can add more form-creating lines along the body. They make it easier to see the depth of the drawing.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

2. How to Draw a Dolphin’s Head

Step 1

Draw an oval on the front of the face.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 2

Draw a small circle attached to that oval.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 3

Find the position of the eye with a curve ending with an oval.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 4

Place the eye inside the oval. It should be shaped like an oval as well.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 5

Time for the smile! Cross the small circle on the tip of the mouth with a curve.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 6

From here, draw a curve towards the eye, and turn down right before it.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 7

You now have enough guide lines to outline the details of the head.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

3. How to Draw Dolphin Fins

Step 1

Draw a curve ending with a tiny circle on the back of the dolphin. It should start roughly in the middle of the body.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 2

Draw a curve between the circle and the body.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 3

Attach an upside-down “T” to the tail.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 4

Draw an upside-down heart in this area.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 5

Draw two tiny circles under the “T”.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 6

Outline the shape suggested by the guide lines.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 7

Again, use a curve ended with an oval to find a perfect spot for the pectoral fin.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 8

Another curve with a circle will create a part of the outline for the fin.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 9

The fin is slightly wider than its base. Define this width with a flat curve.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 10

Now you can outline the whole fin.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 11

Use the same method to draw the other fin.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by StepHow to Draw a Dolphin Step by StepHow to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

4. How to Finish the Drawing of a Dolphin

Step 1

Now you have all the guide lines, so we just need to put the final lines over them. You can take a clean sheet of paper and put it over the sketch if you’re drawing traditionally. You can also try to erase most of the guide lines and darken the ones you want to keep with a darker tool.

Outline the basic lines of the dolphin body.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 2

Fill the oval of the eye with dark shade, leaving a dot of shine.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 3

Use gentler, lighter strokes to show some less prominent features, like wrinkles of the skin.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 4

Gently accentuate the lines of perspective to keep the body 3D.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 5

Let’s shade the dolphin now. Imagine the light source over its body and fill the shadowed area with strokes of one direction.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 6

To create more levels of shade, change the direction of the strokes.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by StepHow to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 7

The perspective guide lines can be turned into rough details on the skin to keep their depth-defining function.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Step 8

Finally, outline the silhouette with dark strokes to make it pop.

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step

Good Job!

You have drawn a cute dolphin! If you want to learn more about these beautiful animals, as well as their relatives, check out this tutorial as well:

  • How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step
    Animal Anatomy
    How to Draw Animals: Dolphins, Whales and Porpoises
    Monika Zagrobelna

How to Draw a Dolphin Step by Step