Deer are renowned for their serene disposition and graceful movement. It’s no wonder that many artists choose them as their favorite subjects to draw. If capturing the quiet elegance of a deer seems daunting, fret not. Just like with any new endeavor, mastering the basics and continuous practice will yield the best results.
In this comprehensive step-by-step tutorial, we will guide you through the process of drawing a deer, including its enviable antlers. All you need to get started is some basic drawing supplies, paper, and a positive attitude. So, let’s dive in and learn how to draw a deer together!
Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with Deer Anatomy
Before you begin drawing, it’s crucial to spend time acquainting yourself with the anatomy of deer. While they are hooved animals like horses, there are notable differences when it comes to drawing deer. Pay attention to their smaller heads and slender bodies. Additionally, it’s helpful to choose a specific subspecies of deer to portray and gather reference photos for guidance.
In this tutorial, we will focus on drawing a male white-tailed deer, also known as a Virginia deer.
Step 2: Start with the Head
Commence by lightly sketching a small circle on your paper. This circle will serve as the deer’s head.
Step 3: Add the Neck and Snout
Next, include a rectangular-shaped snout to the side of the circle, and a thick rectangular neck extending downward at a slight angle.
Step 4: Construct the Body
Now, it’s time to build the body of the deer. Sketch two large circles—the first one for the chest, overlapping with the neck significantly since the deer will be looking over its shoulder. Draw the second circle for the hindquarters, a little distance away from the first. Ensure that these circles are level with each other.
Connect the circles to form the body of the deer. The back line should dip slightly where it meets the shoulders, and the belly line should curve beneath the chest.
Step 5: Sketch the Legs
With the body in place, add legs to the deer. Use long, rectangular shapes for the forelegs, marking the joints of the knees and ankles with small circles. Then, draw the nearest hind leg with a trumpet-like shape for the thigh, making sure the widest part meets the body. Add a circle at the knee joint and sketch a thinner rectangle at an angle, culminating in another circle. Draw the far hind leg in the same manner, but bend it closer to the front legs.
Step 6: Add Hooves and Ears
After drawing the legs, include the deer’s hooves. Lightly sketch trapezoid-like shapes at the bottom of each leg.
Proceed upwards and draw large, petal-like ears on top of the deer’s head. If you like, you can also add an eye at the center-top of the head.
Step 7: Refine the Face
Now that you have the deer’s basic shapes, it’s time to gradually refine it. Begin with the head and carve out a slightly narrower snout from the initial shape. Ensure that the nose protrudes slightly over the mouth. Add a nostril and depict a fold over the almond-shaped eye. Erase any remaining guidelines around the head.
Step 8: Define the Body
Next, give more definition to the body. Refine the line connecting the neck to the chest, ensuring it protrudes halfway from the legs. Similarly, refine the lines of the back and stomach. Erase any remaining guidelines in the body.
Step 9: Refine the Legs
Lastly, refine the legs. Connect the shapes you sketched earlier to form strong and angular legs. At this stage, add an extra toe just above each of the four hooves. Erase any remaining guidelines until you have a clean outline of the deer.
Step 10: Add the Antlers
If you wish to draw a fawn, you can stop here. However, if you want to draw an adult male deer, also known as a stag, it’s time to add a pair of antlers at the head. The shape and size of antlers vary depending on the deer’s age and the time of year. In this tutorial, we will add two medium-sized antlers. Start between the ears and create branch-like shapes that crown above the deer’s head.
Step 11: Sketch a Background
As your deer drawing nears completion, give it a suitable environment. Deer are commonly found in forests or meadows, so draw an appropriate landscape of your choice to complete the illustration.
Step 12: Ink the Drawing
Finally, go over your drawing in ink. Use a pen of your preference and trace over the pencil lines carefully. To avoid smudging, place a spare piece of paper under your hand while inking. Afterward, add stippling to the deer’s fur to give it texture.
Once you finish inking, you can either add color to the composition or leave it as a striking black and white illustration of a male deer in a snowy forest!
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