How To Draw A Dolphin

It is strange. When started to I draw a dolphin I’ve got similar feeling like when I was drawing an elephant.

No doubt that both animals are highly intelligent. There is some special aura around them, even if you just draw them on a paper.


Some people still have tendency to compare dolphins with sharks although we all consciously understand that dolphins are totally different species.

My guess is that this is caused by similarity in shapes of dorsal fin and pectoral fins (AKA: pectoral flippers)

If you could see only the tails of both; dolphin and shark, the difference would become clear immediately.

Shark’s tail fin (AKA: caudal fin) is shaped vertically while dolphin’s tail fin (AKA: tail fluke) is horizontal.

When shark swims below the water level you can easily see both dorsal and caudal fins at the same time.

Dolphins can show only dorsal fin if they swim right below the water level. Horizontal tail fluke remains under the water level.

Today we will draw a dolphin in one of its most natural - jumping pose.

Before you begin to draw this jumping dolphin take a little time and observe your object.

Here You Go, Start To Draw A Dolphin


click the image to enlarge

Comparing to the previous exercises of shark drawing. or fish drawing., dolphin drawing is a bit different.

I picked this jumping bended body position purposely, to make the drawing process a little bit difficult and thus a good drawing exercise.

click the image to enlarge

Hold your pencil loose or tilted and sketch the approximate outline contour of dolphin’s body.

click the image to enlarge

Sketch the fins in the following order: Start with the dorsal fin if possible and sketch the pectoral flippers as last.

I recommend this sequence because it helps you to capture best total balance when you draw a dolphin.

Observe well the length of dolphin’s distinctive beak. Compare the length of the beak to the head.

Pay a little more attention to this important detail. We are drawing a bottlenose dolphin.

click the image to enlarge

As every animal has its feature, what makes dolphin look like a dolphin is mainly its rounded head, distinctive beak and a smiling expression.

We can call it the dolphin’s face. If you work diligently on this one detail, the rest of the dolphin drawing will be very easy.

On the contrary, if you cannot capture well the face expression, your dolphin drawing despite your great effort will not resemble much to a dolphin.

It is perfectly OK if you practice drawing only the head on a separate paper first.

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Do not mind about the extra little time it takes. If you are serious about to learn how to draw a dolphin, this will be a very good investment.

click the image to enlarge

Draw sharper pencil line over the initial body contours marking out the finalized shape.

Gradually begin erase all unnecessary and excess pencil cluster.

Draw clear pencil line but not too strong in case you need to make some corrections that you will probably do. Outline the mouth opening and draw the eye.

Pay special attention to capture good balance of eyes and mouth. Now you have your dolphin drawing virtually ready.

The following is coloring.

click the image to enlarge

Hold your graphite pencil tilted and cover gently the body in grey. The opposite side pectoral flipper is dark (in the shade).

Mark out the blowhole on dolphin’s head. Keep that in mind when you draw a dolphin or whale, because these animals have blowholes.

click the image to enlarge

You can use also grey colored pencil over the graphite pencil. It will create a good texture.

click the image to enlarge

Finally you can also add some – only very little and gentle touch – blue color over the basic grey layer.

Be careful when you shade the dolphin with blue color not to over saturate it.

Make a color-mixing test first on a separate paper or on the margin of your drawing sheet.

Blue color should be really just a delicate surface finish. Almost invisible.

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