How to draw Pikachu

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A staple of the Nintendo merchandising machine, Pikachu is a fantastic subject for beginner artists. It's small, it's simple, it doesn't worry much about realistic anatomy, and it's easy to twist into a ton of cool poses. Find out how below.

Step 1: Pose

Always begin your drawings with a quick wireframe sketch of the pose. Note the major joints with circles if you intend to flex the body or just want an easy reference point for where limbs begin. Pikachu barely has legs, so you can create two long ovals for its feet at the base of its body.

Step 2: Rough outline

Once the wireframe is done, draw in a sketchy version of Pikachu's bulk. It's a slightly portly pokémon, with most of its weight in the tummy. Use simple shapes, primarily ovals, to make up the majority of the body, as well as stacked rectangles for the tail. Note the lack of shoulders in the arms - they're more or less just extensions of the body.

Step 3: Face

Pikachu's got a lot of personality in that beaming face. Very simple: an inverted triangle for the nose, two beady eyes flanking and slightly rising above the nose, and a cat's mouth underneath. When open Pikachu's mouth looks a lot like a police officer's badge. Pikachu also has big red cheeks on either side of the face, but if you're going to tweak the head's shape you can leave those until the end.

Step 4: Ears

Pikachu's ears are thin, slightly-pointed ovals. Very easy to draw, just don't make them too thick. Many of Pikachu's expressions use the ears, so adjust their height accordingly. If it's mad, they drop into a straight line. If it's happy or interested, they perk right up. Quizzical expressions bring one ear up and leave the other down. Neutral is roughly what you see here.

Step 5: Hands

Pikachu's hands / paws are much, much easier than those found on most creatures, as they're not much more than tiny spikes protruding from the end of its arms. The top finger, the thumb, should have a small half-circle attached to the end of it for gripping objects.

Step 6: Feet

Pikachu's feet are flat, blobby ovals sticking out from under its body. Round them off with three more half-ovals to form the toes.

Step 7: Tail

Pikachu's tail is in the form of a thunderbolt, and it's really the only part of the body with abrupt, sharp edges. If you want to use a ruler on any part of Pikachu's body, this is where to do it. The tail is similar to the ears in that it can indicate Pikachu's mood depending on its positioning, though to a lesser degree.

Step 8: Cleaning

Attach all these parts and you've got a Pikachu. Clean up any sketch lines you needed to complete the drawing and round off most of the sharp corners.

Optional: Colour

Why not? Pikachu's not quite Pikachu if it's not yellow. Use this drawing, or the drawing at the top of the page, for colour references. Most Pokémon lack highlights, though you can add them in for greater depth.

Going beyond

Once you've gotten used to drawing Pikachu in a neutral pose, you can easily give it a more action-oriented stance. Pikachu typically run on all fours, similar to a small dog, and with the right expression you can prepare your Pikachu for battle. Pikachu's also simple enough that it's very easy to adopt it to a different drawing style and still look just as good, if not better, as the original thing. Have fun!

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skperdon profile image

skperdon 17 months ago from Canada

Interesting hub Matt Bird. Pikachu always makes me happy.

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