Tuesday, 14 July 2015

How To Draw: Dolphins

Dolphins are one of the most loved marine animals. Their playful nature and intelligence makes them appealling to us. My time with them while I was in Cornwall has to be one of those unforgetable experiences that will stay with me for a long time. Drawing them can be tricky, especially when they are performing aerobatics in the air. Their bodies can appear as if they have changed shape and in this How To Draw, I will be drawing two bottle-nosed dolphins to demonstrate at least two postures they can make while leaping.

Stage One
To begin with, create a series of rough ovals to mark the general shape of your dolphin. Play around with the shapes until you have the body shape you are happy with. This should help get every flexing movement of your dolphin's body during the next stage.

Stage Two
Here is where it gets tricky. Using the basic shapes, draw in the main outlines. For the dolphin on the left, it helps to start at the top of the head and draw a curving line down to the tail and add a triangular shape on top of the line around the centre for the dorsal fins. Do a similar line starting from the tail and make your way back to the head and add two triangles for the pectoral fins. The shape should look like a banana, narrow at the tail and wider towards the head. For the beak, begin at the top line and draw a faint line towards where I have placed its eye and draw a line for the mouth and round back to where you started. Then you can draw the lower half of its beak, connecting to the line for the underside of its body.  The tail flukes are two triangles back to back of each other.

The second dolphin is full of curves as it flexes its body during the leap. Using the basic shapes as a guide, I can draw the general shape well enough. It is then about adjusting the outline until you are satisfied with it. I was still not happy with my drawing at this stage, but it is all right as I can adjust further in pen later.

Stage Three
Be as steady as you can when you draw over the outline and if you do make a mistake when adjusting the lines that you weren't happy with, don't worry about it too much (as long as it isn't too obvious and sticks out of the drawing like an extra accidental leg, there is a way to fix it).

Stage Four

It is time to flesh out your dolphins. Before you use any colour, use your pen and shade in. I began at the dolphin's right pectoral fin (the one that is poking out from the far side of the body), where I have shaded in heavily by scribbling  back and forth in a technique known as crosshatching.

Lighter parts of the body come in various shades and are created by scribbling lightly and while the ink is still wet, using a finger, I gently smudge it along the body. Be careful when smudging, use the finger to direct the ink. A rubber can help mop up any smudge mark that go over the edges of your drawing, but only when freshly wet.

I then go over with a light layer of grey pencil crayon for dark areas and light highlights of yellow for the beak and other lighter patches. The splashes were created by simply scribbling light marks to represent water spray. Shade the tail flukes in after you add the droplets around the tail. Finally, colour the sea around the spray a dark layer of blue mixed in with scribbles of pen and apply the blue as lightly and as less as possible in the splash areas.

There you have it, two leaping dolphins. You can draw other species of dolphin and in other postures using this guide but adjusting the differences to the way you want them to be. I hope you enjoy drawing as much as I do and there will be another How To Draw soon. Good luck with your drawings!

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