Whales have very simple body structures, which makes it difficult to produce dynamic and interesting drawings of these mammals. You must include species specific details to make your illustration come to life. Pay close attention to the proportions of body parts, limb placement, size and colouration. Photographs of whales can be helpful, but movie clips provide a clearer picture of their movement, flexibility, posture and weight in and out of the water. Check environmental websites, such the National Parks Conversation Association (NPCA) website for whale-related media.
Skill level:Moderately Easy
Things you need
1 Draw an oval to form the body of the whale near the head, where most of the bulk is located.
2 Draw a carrot-shaped triangle as the tail, place the base of the triangle on top of the oval so that it overlaps the rear third of the oval. Curve the triangle so that it forms an upward or downward sweeping tail. Proportion the tail so that it is in line with the species of whale. For example, killer whales have a short, broad tail and gently sloped body, while sperm whales have a distinctive rear half with a long tail.
3 Draw lines to span the space between the body and tail, and smooth the shape of the body.
4 Draw the beak of the whale; some whales have square beaks while others have sharply pointed beaks. Detail the position of the mouth and shape of the lower jaw. For example, sperm whales have narrow, pencil-like lower jaws and square heads.
5 Draw the flukes, which are the whale's giant tail fins, by placing two triangles on the tip of the tail. Vary the depth of the notch between the fins' length and width for different species. Angle the flukes up or down based on the position of the tail. Upward sweeping tails have upward sweeping flukes unless the whale is turning or changing direction.
6 Add a triangular dorsal fin on the back of the whale near where the body meets the tail. Pay attention to the shape, size and placement of the dorsal fin. Toothed whales have large, high dorsal fins, while baleen whales have small dorsal fins further down the back.
7 Draw flippers near the front of the body at either side of the whale. Position the fins based on the angle of the whale's body; both flippers may not be visible from a side view.
8 Sketch a small round or ovular eye near the front third of the body.
9 Colour the whale adding details such as barnacles, cuts, nicks, deformities and colour patterns. Add shadowing based on the environment and background - if the whale is underwater, highlights and shadow will form a striated or mottled pattern.
Tips and warnings
Fins and flukes may curl at the tip.
Not all whales are smooth. Add texture to the skin