How to Draw a Tiger

Big cats are my favorite subject to draw. They’re elegant and powerful, and their body has a simple, yet beautiful rhythm. Today, I’d like to show you how to draw a tiger—from the “skeleton” and muscles to the fur, details, and stripes. I will lead you step by step, so that you can follow me at your own pace without getting lost.

How to Draw a Tiger

How to Draw a Tiger
This is a tutorial for beginners, with a single outcome. If you want to learn more about drawing tigers, their anatomy and subspecies, or about big cats in general, you should check out this tutorial instead:

  • How to Draw a Tiger
    Drawing
    How to Draw Animals: Big Cats, Their Anatomy and Patterns
    Monika Zagrobelna

     

1. How to Start a Drawing of a Tiger

We’ll start with a sketch, a set of guide lines that will become a base for the final lines. The sketch should be drawn in a way that allows you to discard it later—with very light lines, with an erasable tool, or on a separate layer.

Step 1

Draw a circle. It doesn’t need to be perfect or drawn with a continuous line, so don’t worry if it turns out wobbly. This will be the widest part of the chest.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 2

Draw a curve coming from this circle, connected to another, smaller circle. This will be the hips.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 3

Connect the big circle with another, smaller circle in the front. This circle should have two “arms”. This area will become the arm and shoulder.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 4

Draw a line on top of the “shoulder”. This will be the shoulder blade.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 5

We have all the guide lines we need to build the torso! Add some curves to finish it.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 6

It’s very important to define the distance to the ground before we start drawing the legs. It should be slightly longer than the height of the torso.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 7

Draw one foreleg and one hind leg—both quite symbolic and simple, just to know where they are.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 8

To make the pose more interesting, let’s add another shoulder…

How to Draw a Tiger

…. and another pair of legs.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 9

Time for the head. Cats don’t have very long necks, so place the circular “head” right in front of the shoulders.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 10

Finally, sketch the tail.

How to Draw a Tiger

2. How to Draw a Tiger’s Body

Does your sketch look like a tiger already? Great! If there’s something not right in it, take a moment to fix it. It’s very important to get the proportions right; if you get them wrong, even the finest details won’t make the whole tiger look right. So take a good look at your “skeleton” and fix anything that needs to be fixed.

Step 1

Outline the shoulder blade gently.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 2

Connect the shoulder to the arm.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 3

Add some muscles to the torso.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 4

Sketch the elbow.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 5

Add the wrists and ankles.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 6

Sketch the paws in a blocky way. Think of them as hooves for the moment!

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 7

Connect the wrists with the arms.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 8

Connect the ankle with the hip with one big curve.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 9

Finish the outline of the thigh.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 10

Outline the calf.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 11

Outline the ankle.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 12

Add some lines to make the limbs more accurate.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 13

Draw circles along the tail to plan its width. It should get progressively narrower towards the tip.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 14

Outline the tail.

How to Draw a Tiger

3. How to Draw a Tiger’s Paws

Step 1

Let’s add some toes to these “hooves”! Draw blocky middle toes attached to each foot. The front ones should be slightly tapered.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 2

Add the other pair of toes on the sides.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 3

Add a rounded tip to each toe.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 4

Add a “thumb” to the visible inner side of the right foreleg, and a bony landmark to the ankle.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 5

Add the tip of the thumb.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 6

Add the carpal pad.

How to Draw a Tiger

4. How to Draw a Tiger’s Head

Step 1

Divide the circle-head into halves, horizontally and vertically.

How to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a Tiger

Step 2

Give the face a slightly triangular look by “cutting” the sides of the circle.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 3

Place a circle (the muzzle) in the lower half of the circle.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 4

Divide it into halves as well.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 5

Draw the eyebrow line right over the horizontal middle line.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 6

Connect it to the lower horizontal line, creating the nose.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 7

Create the forehead by connecting the muzzle with the top of the head.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 8

Make some space for the ears.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 9

Draw the ears.

How to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a Tiger

Step 10

Go back to the muzzle. Divide its lower half into halves again.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 11

Use these guide lines to sketch the nose and the mouth.

How to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a Tiger

Step 12

Draw the oval eyes.

How to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a Tiger

Step 13

Add the details around the eyes.

How to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a Tiger

Step 14

Accentuate the bones around the face. Make them rounded for a typical tiger look.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 15

Sketch the fur around the face.

How to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a Tiger

Step 16

Sketch the fluffy chin.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 17

Make some space for the whiskers.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 18

Draw the corners of the mouth.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 19

Outline the cheek-mane.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 20

Add some additional guide lines we’ll need later.

How to Draw a Tiger

5. How to Finish a Drawing of a Tiger

We’re done with the guide lines, finally! You can now switch to a more final tool, or simply press harder for more visible lines.

Step 1

Darken the eyes and give them some eyelashes.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 2

Draw the details around the eyes.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 3

Draw the nose.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 4

Draw the muzzle.

How to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a Tiger

Step 5

Draw the ears.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 6

Draw the whole shape of the face.

How to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a Tiger

Step 7

Outline the paws.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 8

Draw the forequarters.

How to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a Tiger

Step 9

Draw the hindquarters and the torso.

How to Draw a Tiger

6. How to Draw a Tiger’s Stripes

Step 1

Before you draw the stripes, it’s better to sketch them lightly first to see how they all work together. First, sketch the pattern on the head.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 2

If the sketch looks good, darken it.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 3

Do the same with the rest of the body. Try to accentuate the 3D form of it with curved lines.

How to Draw a TigerHow to Draw a Tiger

Step 4

Finally, give strong, dark outline to the tiger to make the drawing pop.

How to Draw a Tiger

Step 5

Optionally, you can shade the tiger in a simple way to make it more 3D.

How to Draw a Tiger

Beautiful!

What a cute kitty! If you want to draw other animals with the same method, you’ll love these tutorials as well:

  • How to Draw a Tiger
    Drawing
    How to Draw a Bear
    Monika Zagrobelna

     

  • How to Draw a Tiger
    Drawing
    How to Draw a Deer Step by Step
    Monika Zagrobelna

     

  • How to Draw a Tiger
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    How to Draw a Fox Step by Step
    Monika Zagrobelna

     

And if you want to deepen your knowledge about drawing instead of simply following the steps, you can also check these out:

  • How to Draw a Tiger
    Animals
    How to Draw Animal Eyes
    Monika Zagrobelna

     

  • How to Draw a Tiger
    Animals
    How to Draw an Octopus Step by Step
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How to Draw a Tiger