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Dolphin drawings in four easy steps

Updated on June 28, 2009

Dolphin drawings are beautiful because dolphins are truly amazing and fascinating animals. They have always enthralled human imagination because of their natural elegance and also due to the feeling of freedom they convey.

Dolphin can be an intimidating subject because it might seem difficult to capture their elegance on paper, however if basic drawing rules are applied, drawing dolphin is not difficult at all and might be a fantastic drawing exercise.

In the following tutorial you will learn to draw a dolphin from the side which is a first important step to be able to subsequently draw these animals from different angles.

Step 1

The body of a dolphin is a series of circles

Trace a slightly arched line like in the picture and draw five circles to define the boundaries of the dolphin body.

As you can see the first circle on the left is smaller than the body circles (it's where the head will be) and the last two are even smaller than that. Defining the perfect shape of the dolphin body will be just drawing a closed line around all of the circles.

Did you know that Dolphins, along with whales and porpoises, are descendants of terrestrial mammals? The ancestors of the modern day dolphins entered the water roughly fifty million years ago!

Step 2

Drawing the shape of the body

Draw a line that goes around the circles and try to be as smooth as you can! One of the secret to great dolphin drawings is to create a body contour which is very smooth and where all lines flaw gently from one form to the other.

Divide the first circle in half, as shown, and close the body shape into the dolphin mouth. The dolphin mouth has almost the shape of a cone. The rim of the mouth starts approximately from the center of the circle.

"Dolphins have a streamlined fusiform body, adapted for fast swimming. The tail fin, called the fluke, is used for propulsion, while the pectoral fins together with the entire tail section provide directional control. The dorsal fin provides stability while swimming".

Dolphins occasionally leap above the water surface, sometimes performing acrobatic figures. Scientists are not always quite certain about the purpose of this behavior.

Step 3

Adding body feature

now it is time to get rid of the circles, they have served their purpose and can now leave us be!

It is time to add the features that make the dolphin so recognizable, I am talking of the fins and the eyes positioned behind the mouth angles.

First of all divide the body in half from top to bottom. This line will intersect the body profile in two points. At the top this point will be the starting position of the dorsal fin. At the bottom, this line will be a guide for the ending position of the pectoral fins.

Draw a line horizontally now that start at the level of the mouth. Exactly where the mouth ends. This line will define the bottom half of the dolphin body, the part that is normally white or clearer than the upper portion (which is light blue).

Finally draw the fins using these guides trying to give them a very smooth shape. Position the eye near to the mouth corner, like in the above image.

"Dolphins are often regarded as one of Earth's most intelligent animals. The individuals communicate using a variety of clicks, whistles and other vocalizations. They also use ultrasonic sounds for echolocation. Dolphins also show cultural behavior, something long believed to be a quality unique to humans."

Some dolphins, teach their young to use tools. The dolphins break sponges off and cover their snouts with them thus protecting their snouts while foraging.

Step 4

refining your dolphin drawing

Keep adding small detail as you go on with the drawing of your dolphin. Add the tail, which is horizontal and not vertical like in sharks, emphasize the division between the lower body and the upper body, take care of the fin curvature making sure the lines of the fins seamlessly merge with the line of the body.

And there you have it, a beautiful dolphin drawing!

Fell free to comment the tutorial or contact us for questions.

Visit The Drawing Factory for more!


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    • profile image

      Mariem 2 years ago

      Your links posted for the Dolphin PDF raeedrs don't work. I'm currently using an android tablet and I have no way of reading or downloading pdfs (essential for school).I like this browser better than the rest of them, but if it does not support viewing and saving pdfs, then it is borderline useless for what I need it for.

    • profile image

      Scooby doo 4 years ago


    • profile image

      adeline 4 years ago

      i'm only 8 and tried to draw it and when idid ti today i made this picture is beatiful oh ,and i'm in third grade.

      i love dolphin's i always wanted to touch one.

    • profile image

      Chloe 5 years ago

      Thanks, this was really helpful! :)

    • profile image

      karla 5 years ago

      That was so cool!! I just learned how to draw a dolphin.

    • profile image

      Hannah 5 years ago

      Great instructions! I just learned how to draw a dolphin

    • PADDYBOY60 profile image

      PADDYBOY60 5 years ago from Centreville Michigan

      That was cool! I drew one within a couple of days! Just kidding. More like three minutes. Very cool instructions. Thanks.

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      Lilac 6 years ago

      Nice! I practice dolphins everyday! xD

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      Wolves_Forever 6 years ago

      Awesome dolphin! Never thought I could ever draw such a dolphin! Thnx for the picture!!!! :D :D :D

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      EXTREME_Dolphin_Lover 6 years ago

      I tried to follow the instructions but u see, I learn by looking and drawing, not by following instructions. I was lucky to find such a wonderful drawing of a dolphin and draw it with HUGE success! Thnx for posting a great picture!

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      Shelbey  6 years ago

      Mine was epic thx

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      haley 6 years ago

      my dolphin looked like crap maybe i should stick to abstract drawings

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      lilie 6 years ago

      it was ok

    • profile image

      Caity 6 years ago

      wow, its amazing!

    • profile image

      bob 6 years ago


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      caitywooo 6 years ago

      this is an amazin way 2 draw dolphins, i used 2 b crap, now im much better!!!


    • profile image

      rachel  6 years ago

      nice way to draw a dophin.thanks because i really needed to know how to draw dophin.

    • profile image

      starreviewer 6 years ago from CT, USA

      nice way to draw a dolphin. thanks.

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      jumila 7 years ago

      nice but not too nice there for camaraas and i doonr noo

    • rvsource profile image

      rvsource 7 years ago

      Nice hub using circles and lines of reference. I would just draw this creature free hand, but your points are well taken and can be used for more difficult challenges.

      It's always fun to read other artists instructional blogs. I have many myself on my hubpages.

      thanks again


    • Vampire crazy profile image

      Vampire crazy 7 years ago

      These are good instructions! I made a dolphin, too!

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      blabla 7 years ago

      nice dolphin