How to

SketchBook Original: How to Draw Wolves


Wolves are magnificent creatures, both wild and enigmatic. While we can easily identify them in real life, drawing them from memory can be quite challenging. In this tutorial, I will provide you with all the information you need to draw realistic wolves. From understanding their anatomy and fur direction to capturing the essence of their expressions, this guide will enable you to create stunning wolf drawings.


General Wolf Anatomy

To draw wolves accurately, it is essential to understand their basic anatomy. By familiarizing yourself with their skeletal structure and proportions, you will be able to create a correct wolf silhouette every time. Pay attention to their long legs, extended “hands,” and relatively short “feet.” Additionally, note their narrow chest and how their forelegs are often kept close together, with the paws slightly splayed outward. The hind legs are typically “cow-hocked,” with the paws turned slightly outward as well.

The head is usually kept no higher than shown here.

Notice how their paws are often cow-hocked — splayed out.

How to Draw a Wolf Step By Step

To start drawing a wolf, begin with a long, rounded rectangle for the body. Then, elongate the front to create a thick, fluffy neck. Keep in mind not to position the tip of the neck too high over the body. Add the legs, making sure to capture their length accurately. Proceed by drawing the long muzzle and the defining cheek. Include the ears and the tail, ensuring that the tail reaches the heels and is kept mostly straight with a subtle curl. Continue by adding the paws and detailing the legs. Finally, complete the silhouette by adding a mane and a shoulder cape.

Step 1: Begin with a long, rounded rectangle for the body.

Step 2: Elongate the neck to create a thick, fluffy neck.

Step 3: Add the legs, paying attention to their length.

Step 4: Draw the long muzzle and the defining cheek.

Step 5: Include the ears and the tail. Ensure the tail is straight with a subtle curl.

Step 6: Add the paws and detail the legs.

Step 7: Detail the paws and the legs.

Step 8: Draw a bean-like shoulder and a half-circle-like thigh.

Step 9: Add body volume to the legs, smoothly connecting the paws to the shoulder and thigh.

Step 10: Finish the silhouette by adding a mane and a shoulder cape.

How to Draw Wolf Paws

Wolf paws exhibit distinctive characteristics, with long middle fingers/toes that are much longer than the ones on the outside. The claws are non-retractable, hence they should not appear too sharp. Similar to felines, front paws possess a dew claw (resembling a thumb) and a pisiform pad (a protruding bone on the other side of the wrist). On the other hand, hind paws have only four toes and lack dew claws.


To draw wolf paws, begin by drawing general lines that indicate their position. These lines should be based on the underlying skeletal structure. Next, divide each paw into two sections—the padded part and the bony part. Wolves are digitrade animals, meaning they walk on their fingers and toes. Visualize this concept to create a realistic pose. Keep in mind that the forepaws are often larger than the hind ones. Finally, draw the fingers and toes by imagining them as small sacks filled with something heavy. Reveal the bottom of each paw and add a larger “sack” on the back. Complete the paws by including a slightly curved claw to each finger and toe. Remember to maintain their bluntness. Finish by covering the pads with fur, and remember that wolf paws are generally depicted as elongated rather than flat.

Step 1: Begin with general lines indicating the position of the paws.

Step 2: Divide each paw into the padded and bony sections.

Step 3: Draw the fingers and toes.

Step 4: Reveal the bottom of each paw and add a larger “sack” on the back.

Step 5: Add a slightly curved claw to each finger and toe. Remember to keep them blunt.

Step 6: Finish by covering the pads with fur.

How to Draw a Wolf Head: Front, Profile & in Perspective

To accurately depict a realistic wolf head, familiarize yourself with more than just their long muzzles and pointed ears. Follow the step-by-step process below to achieve the desired result.

  1. Start by drawing a line to represent the direction of the muzzle and another line to indicate the position of the eyes.


  1. Add the tip of the muzzle, ensuring you consider perspective.


  1. Close the shape of the muzzle with a round line.


  1. Draw the rest of the skull by imagining a large, flattened sphere attached to the muzzle.


  1. Illustrate the actual muzzle using a sack-like form. Remember that the muzzle should be longer and narrower than that of cats.


  1. Divide the muzzle into three sections, with the upper third further divided in half. Although precise measurements are not necessary, remember that the top line should be considerably far from the tip of the muzzle.


  1. Add large panda-like patches where the eyes will be positioned. Subtly connect these patches to the muzzle.


  1. Create the eye sockets using a simple curved line.


  1. Add the forehead.


  1. Place the eyes within the triangular areas.


  1. Include features within the eyes.


  1. Draw the nose and lips. Remember to make the nose relatively large. Observe the thinness of the chin.


  1. Depict the ears, noting that they are not actually pointed. Instead, they are long and rounded.


  1. At this point, your wolf should already resemble a wolf, particularly in its summer coat. To create a more classic look, add the mane.


  1. Embellish the drawing by adding details. The eyes, in particular, should feature a dark outline and be covered at the top with “eyelashes.” Remember to make the pupils round.


  1. Achieve the characteristic “almond shape” of the eyes by adding a dark outline.


  1. Accentuate the areas around the eyes with fur. These patches are essential in creating a distinct wolf gaze, similar to the importance of eyebrows in humans.


  1. Depict the nose as relatively flat at the front, with prominent holes and a wide back.


  1. Remember to include whiskers. Additionally, position the corners of the lips near eye level.


  1. When depicting fur, use the guide provided. While a wolf’s fur may seem intricate, following these rules consistently will help you easily remember the pattern.


  1. To emphasize essential areas, such as the eyes, use darker lines. This will enhance the wolf’s characteristic proud look and prevent it from resembling a curious dog.


Wolf Expressions

Wolves are social animals, relying on facial expressions to communicate with their packmates. To make your wolf drawings more lifelike, incorporate these expressions.


  1. Normal state: Observe the positioning of the jaw joint and the way the mouth covers the teeth.

  2. Relaxed state: This expression can indicate relaxation or nervousness, often resembling a “smile.” Note the jaw joint and the wide, bumpy lower lip that partially covers the lower teeth.

  3. Relaxed open mouth: Wolves may open their mouths in a relaxed manner, such as when they are eating. This gesture should reflect the loose skin of the mouth covering the upper teeth.

  4. Howling wolf: Imagine this expression as a wolf’s “duck face.” The lips are contracted to create a small passage for the air.

  5. Angry or intimidating wolf: Although the jaws are closed, this expression reveals teeth by lifting the loose skin of the mouth (including the nose). The upper gums may be visible, particularly towards the front. Pay attention to the wide-open eyes.

  6. Angry state with an open mouth: Compare this expression to the previous one.

It is important to note that an angry state can quickly transition into a fearful state by positioning the ears backward.

How to Draw Wolf Fur

While feline drawings often feature a unified skin, wolf illustrations require careful attention to fur direction. Although it may seem complex initially, understanding the fundamental rules will make the process more manageable.



When drawing fur, it is not necessary to depict every strand individually. Instead, use these rules to create outlines of the critical areas, such as the neck mane, shoulder cape, “butt cape,” and bushy tail. You can stylize the rest of the fur according to your preference. By outlining the most important areas, you may not need to draw the remaining fur at all.


Remember that wolves may appear less furry during the summer, resembling German Shepherds. While you can still depict areas of fur, use subtler lines.


Wolf Colors

Wolves display various color variations, but they generally adhere to a specific coloration rule. The underside typically appears bright, white, or creamy. In the middle, there is a medium-colored area, transitioning to a dark top. The dark top often features a highly saturated region just below it. When drawing the face, these colors can accentuate the facial features outlined earlier. The tail usually has a darker tip, and there is typically a patch of dark hair in the upper half due to the presence of the precaudal gland. Regardless of the overall pelt coloration, the nose, paw pads, and claws should always be dark. Wolf eyes usually appear yellow, brown, or orange, with dark blue eyes reserved for pups.


Here are a few popular color variations. While the Arctic Wolf is predominantly white, other variations offer more room for modification. However, it is crucial to adhere to the general rules described above. Keep in mind that wolf pups are always born dark and without any markings.


By altering the contrast of colors, you can create numerous color variations.


Common Mistakes

While it is not necessary to draw realistic wolves every time, it is essential to be intentional rather than ignorant when stylizing them. Below is an analysis of common mistakes found in wolf drawings. While each mistake can be incorporated into your drawings for specific purposes, make sure they are intentional. Let’s examine them one by one:

  1. Too short muzzle: Long muzzles are a crucial feature of canines.
  2. Too big eyes: Oversized eyes make the animal appear smaller.
  3. Pointed ears
  4. Unnaturally high head positioning
  5. Too short body
  6. Pointed, curled tail
  7. Too wide chest
  8. Overly muscular legs
  9. Sharp claws
  10. Round paws
  11. Excessively long feet: This feature is typical of hoofed animals.


In summary, drawing wolves requires a keen understanding of their anatomy, fur direction, and coloration. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you will be able to create stunning and accurate wolf drawings. Remember to utilize these techniques intentionally, incorporating your own unique style while maintaining realism. So, grab your sketchbook and start capturing the beauty of wolves on paper!

Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

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