Monday, 15 June 2015

How To Draw: Freshwater Fish

Thanks to this year's Springwatch, one a group of animals have become quite popular lately. Fish are more than something to catch with a rod or net. They come in many shapes and sizes, some beautiful and some are ugly, but they all have their charm in some way or another. I have been admiring the fish in my local river recently and though I might not know much about them, I thought they would make great subjects for this week's How To Draw. Let us start without doubt the star of Springwatch 2015, the stickleback.

Stage One
Spineless Simon the male stickleback has caught the imagination of the British public, making the newspapers and even having his own Twitter account. I won't be drawing Spineless Si himself, but I will be drawing one of his rivals. I have two methods to draw fish. I will show you how to draw in my usual method first, which can help with fish movements. Create a circle for the head, an oval for the body and a smaller circle for the tail.

Stage Two
Now refine the body, building the fish's shape and structure over the shapes that you drew in Stage One. The mouth is like a D in bubbleletter form and the eye needs to be a large circle with the pupil inside it. A fish has several types of fin all over it's body, all of which are triangular and squared shapes and this includes the tail. A stickleback has three spines on it's back for protection against predators, these are simple triangles.

Stage Three
Draw over the lines in pen and lightly shade and speckle the body in. Draw a circle round the pupil of the eye and shade in the inside of the mouth. Carefully and lightly create lines inside the fins and tail.

Stage Four
Male Sticklebacks are colourful to attract mates to lay eggs in his nest chamber. Colour the outer eye blue first. Then give a light layer of orange all over, but more so over the lower half of the fish. After that, shade over the lower half in red and the inside of the mouth a heavier layer of red. Finally, lightly shade the upper half grey and your male stickleback is done. If you want to do a female, she is brown all over.

Stage One

Another method you can use when drawing fish is this one. Start from the bottom at the tail end, then go up towards the head and back round, crossing over the line and ending at the top part of the tail. You can adjust to whatever the size and shape depending on the fish you are drawing.

Stage Two

You can then bridge over the cross you made at the tail and add in the fins and other details that your fish has. I am drawing a salmon which have a hooked mouth and a light covering of spots all over.

Stage Three

Now draw over in pen and shade in appropriately. For scales, make a series of lines creating a grid in pencil. Then, with a pen, create a series of 'C'-shaped marks along the grid. Or if you want to, just make a horrizontal and vertical scribble both ways, the lazy way out.

Stage Four

Colour in your fish. I used green, yellow and grey for the head and back and a light layer of pink and brown for the underside of my salmon. I used a different black pen which was prone to smudging to go over some parts like the eye and I deliberately smudged in the tip of the top fin ever so slightly. Just be very careful, as smudging can ruin the drawing and make a mess on your finger.

Rough Drawing Stage
 Eels may look like snakes, but they are fish. To draw them, create a circle for the head and then make a series of ovals that curve half way down the body. After that, refine the shape of yor eel.

Pen Stage

Add the details like the eye, gill and fin. An eel has one long fin that goes all the way along it's back to the tip of it's tail and round the underside of it's body. Start drawing it at where it curves. Create a triangle from the top of it's back and then trail two lines from it down to it's tail. You need to draw a line along the bottom of the tail for the lower part of the tail fin too. Draw over in pen and shade in the upper half of the body.

Colouring Stage

Finish off by colouring in your eel brown, black and/or grey. The upper half is darker than the underside. The tail fin is also lighter in colour. And that is it. Your eel is complete.

Hope you have enjoyed drawing fish this week. I also hope that it has opened your eyes to these aquatic animals and will make you spend a little more time watching them from the side of a river. Maybe one day, I will get to swim with some in the wild. That has always been a dream of mine. Until next week, keep drawing!

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