Sunday, 24 May 2015

How To Draw: Beetles

Insects are everywhere at this time of year and among them are beetles. There are so many species of beetle that it would take years to draw them all, but drawing them out in the field can help in identifying them later on. Beetles come in so many shapes and sizes, so can be quite interesting to draw. The method in drawing them can be used for other insects too.

Stage One
We will start off with a ground beetle. The structure of any insect is made up of three parts; the head, thorax and abdomen. The head and thorax are circles, while the abdomen is an oval.

Stage Two

I redefine the shape a little bit of my beetle's body and add in details like the eyes, jaws and carapace structure. The antenae are simple lines and the abdomen is devided in two as they are wing cases. The six legs of most beetles come in three segments; a thick, shorter part attached to the body, attached to that is a longer part that is of medium thickness and attached to that is like a thin 'foot' of variable lengths.

Stage Three

Draw over the pencil lines in pen and rub them out afterwards. Be careful when drawing round the legs and antenae. I have also added a few hairs and spurs to parts of the legs.

Stage Four

 Colour your beetle in. Mine is a green tiger beetle and it is green with yellow spots and jaws and red legs. Over the green and red areas, I very, very lightly shade in with a pen for texture.

Stage One

My next beetle is a national favourite, the ladybird (or ladybug if you are American). The three parts are more rounded for a ladybird than it was for a ground beetle. The head is also much smaller.

Stage Two

The legs of a ladybird are shorter than that of the green tiger beetle and are much bulky in thickness. Mark out the shapes for the white patches and add in the antenae and mouth parts. I have also drawn a blade of grass for it to climb on.

Stage Three

 Draw over in pen and shade in the black areas of the head, thorax and legs. A blade of grass up close has many hairs on it, so using the pen, I create lots of little lines for them. You've probably noticed that I haven't added in the spots yet. From experience, I have found if you colour over the ink of the spots, there is a good chance that the ink will run and ruin the smooth and vibrant colour of the wingcases. Best to do them last.
Stage Four

The colouring stage is mostly focused on the red wingcases. Lay it on as thick as possible. For the spots, count them and work out where each goes and which size they all are. Use a pen and create a black spot as bold as you can. The legs can be brown or black, but the invasive harlequin ladybirds have orange legs.

Drawing Stage

 My last beetle for today is the UK's largest and most impressive, the stag beetle. It is also one I have yet to see in the wild, but drawing one will have to do for now. The body shape of a stag beetle is the same as a ground beetle's but much larger. Only the males have antlers and to draw them, draw two rectangles and within them, draw the curves and spikes. The legs are longer than the ground beetle's, but are drawn pretty much the same way. Draw over detail such as the eye, antenae and the edging at the base of the head and abdomen.

Pen Stage

After drawing over the outline in pen, shade the beetle in. Shade lightly for the abdomen and antlers and a little darker for the head and thorax. The head of a stag beetle is rather squared by lumps and bumps, shade boldly for these edges to show up. All the legs are black. And yes, I did move one of the legs down a bit.

Colouring Stage

Colour your stag beetle in. The antlers are red, the head and thorax are black with yellow edgings and the abdomen is a mix of brown, red and black with a light shading from my pen. My stag beetle is ready to fight for a mate!

As I said before, there are hundreds of species of beetle out there to draw and a lot of them can be found in your garden or local park. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and draw them! If you have any suggestions of what you want me to draw next time, please comment below. Until next time, keep drawing!


  1. A very enjoyable and inspirational post. I shall have to get my sketch pad and pencils out and have a go! Very good drawings. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Thank you! I will do more How To Draw posts in the near future. Do you have any suggestions for what I should draw next time?