For me, a deer is the symbol of autumn—the time when the males of this timid species turn into the real kings of the forest, with a crown of antlers on their heads. Of all the deer species, my favorite is the red deer—not as big as a moose, but more regal looking.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to draw such a deer step by step: from the sketch, torso, legs, and details of the head to a pair of beautiful antlers.
This is a simple tutorial about how to draw a deer. If you want to learn more about deer anatomy and various species, you'll be interested in the tutorial below:
1. How to Sketch a Deer
The biggest problem with drawing real things is that it's very easy to lose proportions. To avoid such a mistake, we need to plan the body before adding any details. Such a plan should be sketched lightly, so that you can fix anything after you finish it.
Draw a rectangle. This will be the torso of our deer.
Measure the distance to the ground. It should be slightly longer than the width of the torso.
Find the points where the limbs start.
Sketch the limbs.
To add a realistic form of the chest, add a circle to the lower left corner of the rectangle.
Add an oval to the front of the rectangle. This is the simplified form of the rotated neck.
Sketch the neck.
Add the head on top of the neck.
Add the muzzle to the head.
Add the direction of the ears...
... and their general shape.
Sketch the antlers step by step:
2. How to Draw the Legs of a Deer
Once you have the sketch, take a good look at it and see if you got the proportions correct. If not, this is the last moment to fix them!
The forequarters of many animals can be drawn with a "6" shape, which includes both the shoulder area and the shoulder blade. Draw it for both front legs.
Sketch the top of the shoulder blade.
Close the whole shoulder area.
Sketch the hips.
Add a circle in the knee area.
The main muscle mass of the thigh can be created by outlining the knee, the hip joint, and the back of the hip.
Add the rest of the thigh by connecting the big muscle mass to the other end of the hip.
Mark the wrist/ankle area at around 60% of the limb's length.
Mark the hoof at about one-third of the length below the wrist/ankle.
Draw the circle in the joint right above each hoof. It should be quite small.
Sketch a general shape of the hoof. This trick can be useful for drawing horses as well.
Draw the simplified shapes of the joints. The lower legs of hoofed animals are not very muscular, so the form of the bones should be accentuated instead.
Add muscle forms to the forearms and calves.
Draw the characteristic space under the Achilles tendon.
Outline the whole legs. Keep the parts below the wrist/ankle thinner than the ones above.
Finish the shape of the hooves.
Deer are even-toed ungulates, and they have four toes—two make the actual hoof, and two are hanging in the back.
3. How to Draw the Head and Antlers of a Deer
Divide the head into thirds.
Attach two ovals to the sides, within the middle third.
Draw a smaller oval inside, close to the outer edge of the bigger one.
Draw a line at about a third of the mouth.
Outline the chin and the nose.
Add the nose holes.
Outline the whole head.
Draw two circles to create a base for the ears.
Connect the ears to the head by outlining their base.
Add circles for the base of the antlers.
Mark all the points where you want the antlers to branch out.
Sketch the "branches".
Add a circle at every branching. This will help you achieve the right thickness of the antlers.
Outline the antlers.
4. How to Draw the Torso of a Deer
Cross the neck with a line to find its width.
Outline the neck, creating a diamond shape for the mane.
Add more layers to the mane.
The spine of the deer reaches higher than the shoulder blade. Sketch the characteristic "hump" made by it.
Finish the neck.
Outline the whole torso.
Add the details.
5. How to Finish a Drawing of a Deer
The sketch is finished, so now we can add the final lines. If you're drawing traditionally, it's good to use a darker tool now (for example, an ink liner will nicely cover the pencil strokes), or to place a new sheet of paper on the sketch and draw the final lines on it.
Sketch the bulging "eyebrows" of the deer.
Draw the eyes with all the details.
Draw the nose.
Outline the whole head. Not all lines should be outlined continuously—sketch them with short lines to simulate hair.
Outline the ears. The darkness inside will make them look fluffy.
Outline the antlers and add some texture to them.
Outline the mane.
Outline the whole body.
You can add some details to accentuate the anatomy of the deer.
Darken the eyes, nose, and hooves.
Finally, you can outline the whole animal with a darker stroke, and shade it in a simple way using hatching.
Did you like this tutorial? You may also enjoy other animal-themed tutorials of ours:
- DrawingHow to Draw an Elephant Step by Step
- DrawingHow to Draw a Horse Step by Step
- DrawingHow to Draw a Wolf Step by Step
- DrawingHow to Draw a Monkey Step by Step
Or you may want to check out other deer-related tutorials:
- DrawingHow to Draw Animals: Deer - Species and Anatomy
- Photo ManipulationHow to Create a Fantasy Flaming Deer With Adobe Photoshop
- SceneryHow to Create a Mysterious Forest Scene With Adobe Photoshop
- DrawingHow to Draw Creatively Using Photo References
- ChristmasHow to Design a Christmas Deer Construction Kit in Adobe Illustrator