Before we delve into the process of drawing a butterfly, let’s take a moment to appreciate these magnificent creatures. Butterflies, like all insects, possess a segmented exoskeleton, a three-part body consisting of the head, thorax, and abdomen, three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, two antennae, and two pairs of scaly wings. It is the wings of butterflies that captivate us the most and inspire us to draw and color them.
If you prefer practicing on paper rather than following the butterfly drawing steps on this page, we offer a printable step-by-step guide for easy and fast butterfly drawing. You can download it here.
Understanding Butterfly Wings
The wings of a butterfly are its most dramatic and visually appealing feature. Composed of an incredibly thin and semi-transparent material called chitin, the wings also exhibit intricate vein-like structures. The vibrant colors and patterns that adorn the wings come from layers of minuscule scales. Unlike fish scales, these scales resemble delicate, short hairs, which play a crucial role in protecting the wings and providing insulation.
Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Draw a Butterfly
Step 1 – Starting Your Butterfly Wings Drawing
Begin by sketching the outline of both forewings symmetrically. Remember to apply light pressure if using a pencil, as these initial lines may require adjustments later. The forewings, located closer to the butterfly’s head, have a triangular shape.
Step 2 – Adding Hindwings
Proceed by drawing the outlines of the hindwings, making them slightly smaller in size. This will give you a general layout of a butterfly’s wings. The hindwings, positioned closer to the tail, resemble fans or seashells.
Step 3 – Drawing the Butterfly’s Body
Draw the butterfly’s body by starting with the central part called the thorax. The forewings and hindwings attach to the thorax, so position it in the middle where all the wings converge. Add a small circle on top for the head and draw the abdomen below the thorax.
Step 4 – Adding Details
Now, incorporate the finer details of the butterfly. Draw two eyes on the head and add two straight antennae. While curving the antennae, ensure they remain relatively straight. Next, draw horizontal section dividers on the abdomen to define its structure. Your butterfly is gradually taking shape!
Step 5 – Refining the Wing Shapes
At this stage, you can apply full pencil pressure to create the final shapes of the butterfly’s wings. Ensure that the outlines are well-defined and clean.
Step 6 – Adding Wing Patterns
Drawing the wing patterns poses a few challenges. It is best to start from the inner part of the hindwings near the abdomen and create the large cell in the upper part. Add other cells gradually, remembering that each butterfly has unique patterns. Don’t be overly concerned with precision.
Step 7 – Fine-Tuning the Forewing Pattern
Drawing the pattern on the forewings is relatively easier. You will notice a distinct large cell on the top and 3-4 horizontal ones. Don’t forget to add thin veins to each cell.
Step 8 – Enhancing the Wing Details
Darken the spaces between the cells to bring more definition and depth to the wings.
Step 9 – Finishing Touches
Complete your butterfly’s wings by adding any final touches and refining the overall shape.
Step 10 – Adding Colors
Color your butterfly using pencils, watercolors, or inks. While the hindwings are often lighter and the forewings can be more reddish, feel free to experiment with any colors you prefer, especially if you’re not aiming for a typical American Monarch Butterfly.
Remember, the scales on the top of a butterfly’s wings tend to be vibrant, while those on the underside are more patterned to aid camouflage.
Other Butterfly Drawing Methods
Apart from the step-by-step tutorial outlined above, here are a few other methods you can explore:
Check Out More Drawing Tutorials
If you enjoyed our butterfly drawing tutorial, we invite you to explore other drawing guides:
- How to create a nice drawing of a tiger for beginners
- Drawing a deer in 10 steps
- Drawing a shark in 9 easy steps
- Easy step-by-step cute puppy drawing
- How to draw a rose step-by-step guide for beginners
Now that you have learned how to draw a monarch butterfly, practice a few times to refine your skills and achieve better results!
Recommended Art Supplies for Your Butterfly Drawings
To bring your butterfly drawings to life, we suggest using the following art supplies:
- Drawing pencils
- Drawing pad
- Real Brush Pens (a truly remarkable tool!) or Professional Watercolor Pencils (also highly recommended)
Remember, experimentation and personal expression are key to unleashing your artistic potential. Happy drawing!