What butterfly drawings really are about? At first sight, they may look like only a pair of opened wings and I think that might be the point. The wings.
When you learn the basic patterns of butterfly wings, you can say you’ve learned how to draw a butterfly. That’s it and that is all you need to know.
Basically, every butterfly has 2 fore wings and 2 hind wings, which structure resembles a stained-glass pattern. Once you’ve mastered the proportion balance between fore wings and hind wings, you can draw your own fantasy butterflies.
Many butterfly symbols, illustrations, etc are created this way. A silhouette of these artworks often has nothing in common with real butterflies at all, yet they are still beautiful.
The patterns, which look like a frame, are in fact the veins that nourish the butterfly’s wings. Did you know that recent studies find that hind wings help make butterflies (and moths) quick turns during the flight to escape or evade predators? It is fantastic how Mother Nature takes detailed care of these beautiful colored creatures.
If you catch butterflies, please take special care of their wings! They are too fragile and once they are broken, they cannot repair themselves and the butterfly will be unable to survive. So, when you first attempt to make butterfly drawings, please do not worry about the exactness so much.
I cannot help but repeat this almost on every page, that you are a human, not a camera. Be easy about it. You can never make a drawing perfect ;-) The easiest way is to draw one with opened wings, so that you can clearly see the size, the pattern and it is easy to copy.
OK, so let’s draw the butterfly on the larger image on top of this page. Click on the image to open it in a new tab or window and then observe the details of the pencil strokes. Ignore the wings description this time.
The drawing may appear to be pretty detailed if you look at it on the smaller image, but if you zoom it up, you will see that I did not care too much about the delicacy of the pencil strokes.
Click on the images and they will enlarge in a new tab or window. Print it out and simply copy it. If you cannot copy it, then get yourself a tracing paper and simply trace it on the tracing paper.
Outline first the basic shape of the wings, the outer line, and the “mosaic” on the wings. That will give you a basic idea of where you will follow up with detailed pencil work.
Keep your drawing rather rough (not exact) because you can later get some creative ideas of your own. It really works that way!
When you are ready with the basic wing frame you can start to create the pattern. Begin to shade from those parts that are the darkest.
I started from the upper half on the left fore-wing. Click on the image so that you can see better in detail how I shade each part on the wings.
You will easily notice that even on these simple butterfly pencil drawings, I used only three shade tones. Basically, that is sufficient to complete a simple drawing.
When you have ready the left half of the butterfly drawing, I would recommend you fold the paper in the middle of the butterfly body – along the body and flip the ready wing on the opposite side.
Then press the paper by your nails and “embed” the graphite pattern on the right side so that you will get a “print” of the left-wing on the right side. This ensures that both sides – both wings will be equal, as you see in the image above.
Then you simply “fill up” the right-wing by pencil and voila (!), you’re done. It is pretty much like a kind of coloring page. The difference is that you use only a pencil.