Saturday, 20 June 2015

How To Draw: Dragonflies and Damselflies

Dragonflies are probably Britain's second popular group of insects after butterflies. They are so dynamic in the air and are rather wonderful creatures to look at. In this How To Draw, I show you how you can draw these remarkable minibeasts as well as their smaller cousins, the damselflies.

Stage One
To draw the basic shape of a dragonfly, you need a circle for the head, an oval for the thorax and a test tube-shape for the abdomen. You don't need to worry about the wings at this stage, just mark out where each one goes with a line.

Stage Two
From now on, I will focus with one section at a time. I find dividing the dragonfly up helps so you can concintrate one tricky section before moving onto the next. I begin with the head and thorax. Draw two circular shapes for the eyes with space in between and then add a semi-circle on top with a line down the middle for the jaws. For the thorax, work out the pattern and work way down from top to bottom. I have divided the central area of the thorax with four circular shapes as these are the bases of the wings.

Stage Three

Now, I draw over what I have marked out in pencil with a pen. Take good care when shading around the spots and add the top pair of legs in.

Stage Four

The abdomen is next and this is where it gets a little tricky. From the base of the thorax, make a line down the middle of the abdomen. You can improve the general shape of the abdomen too. Using a photo or living subject, work out how the pattern goes and count the many times it is repeated. Once you have done that, you can group each set of spots and stripes of the pattern together and you can divide your dragonfly's abdomen up. For example, my hairy dragonfly had a set of spots and stripes that got repeated 8 times, so I divided my drawing's abdomen into roughly 8 parts.

Stage Five

With a pen, draw round the outline shape first before you start on the pattern. Start from the top and work down, making the pattern smaller and smaller as you go. In my hairy dragonfly's pattern, the pattern went; line, line, two sqaures, line, line, two sqaures with the areas inbetween being black. You need to keep close attention to the pattern as it can change half way down or include something really tiny in it.

Stage Six

With one tricky part done, it is time for the next, the wings. From the base of each wing on the thorax, draw in a basic wing-shape four times. Be aware though, the top two are slightly different to the bottom two.

Stage Seven
Using a pen, begin to draw over. Start with one of the top wings first before moving to the bottom wing underneath it. Work your way from the top end closest to the body, beginning with two structural lines which meet at the top centre of the wing. From there, draw line radiating from these lines and then lightly add lines between them, crossing over them. Be very careful as a single line that is too heavily marked can ruin the drawing a little. No pressure! For the bottom wings, there is a line that down to the centre of the wing and stops. Once you have finished, rub out the pencil marks.

Stage Eight
Finally, colour in your dragonfly. Use the lightest colour first, in my case yellow. Then blue and lastly brown. I then went over the brown with a black pen to darken it a bit.

Stage One

Damselflies are smaller than dragonflies and always land with their wings closed unlike a dragonfly which land with wings open. To draw a damselfly, you need a circle for a head, an oval for the thorax and a long, thin 'carrot'-shape for the abdomen.

Stage Two

Now add in the details. Shade in the lines of the pattern, draw in the legs and the wings.

Stage Three

Draw over in pen and use the same technique I have used to create the wings.
Stage Four

Then finally colour in. And thats it. As you can see Damselflies are slightly easier to draw than dragonflies.

I hope this has helped you in drawing these brilliant insects next time you are watching them from your pond? Until next time, keep drawing!!

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