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Artwork created by Lucia Heffernan

How To Draw Animals: 50 Free Tutorial Videos To Help You Learn Step-By-Step

Resources Written by McKella Sawyer Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you(learn more)

Animals are one of the most popular subjects for artists regardless of medium.

Granted there are some related books on drawing animals but these aren’t always enough. Sometimes video tutorials just work better.

Check out these awesome videos to learn how to draw all kinds of animals and get some valuable practice in drawing textures like fur, hair, scales, skin, feathers, and a lot more.

This guide breaks up into categories for different animals so just scroll along until you find what you like!

Farm Animals & Pets


This real time video shows you how to draw a cow using simple, basic shapes and easy shading techniques.

Add this one to your beginner practice playlist and pay special attention to the notes about using pencil pressure to control value.

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This tutorial uses simple circles to create the form of a pig and shows a simple line technique to draw the joints of the legs. In the end this makes them look a lot more realistic.

It also provides great practice with smooth shading. Excellent video for beginners.

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Learn to draw a horse profile portrait using basic shapes like circles, triangles, and trapezoids.

If you check out this tutorial you’ll see it also takes a close look at the features and structure of a horse’s face and ears while providing guidance on placing facial features.

This tutorial is a little more advanced so you may want to warm up with some of the simpler videos before attempting this. But if you love horses then you’ll find immense value here!

Or you might even like our list of books on drawing your favorite equidae animals.

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Kitty Cat

Are you a cat lover through & through?

Then you’ll really love this vid on drawing a realistic, very detailed cat portrait.

It offers a closer look at drawing animal eyes and whiskers among other features of your feline friends.

This is a pretty in-depth tutorial so make sure you’re comfortable with some basic drawing before jumping into this one.

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German Shepherd

Switching mediums here, this tutorial shows you how to sketch a German Shepard in pen and ink.

First by creating a light pencil sketch that you can draw on with pen after you have the basic form. Then by going into detail and creating the finished work.

This video goes over some pen and ink techniques that are very different from shading with a pencil because unlike graphite, ink doesn’t blend. It goes on dark no matter how much pressure you use.

You’ll definitely want to put this on your list if you’re interested in pen drawing!

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This alpaca itself is quite simple to draw. But the real star of this video is the color choices.

This fun colored pencil tutorial is a good exercise in color because it shows you how to use unexpected and even counterintuitive colors for shading. The shading & highlights used here bring a dynamic look to the finished animal drawing.

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Warning: high cuteness factor.

This is a timelapse video with narration so it might be helpful to just watch this one before attempting on your own. This also introduces a new texture not common in too many animals: spines.

But if you’re a hedgehog lover then you’ll really enjoy this video.

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Bunny Rabbit

Right away you’ll notice this is a longer video. But it’s not as sped up as the others so it’s easier to follow along with, even as a beginner.

For a change in technique this artist uses grids to set up shapes and perspective for a realistic rabbit face. Then uses gouache(watercolor’s more opaque cousin) to add highlights for a finished rendering.

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This awesome tutorial will show you how to draw a scorpion the easy way.

Think about it: a scorpion’s body is segmented, which means it’s made of basic shapes that are easy to see and separate on the page. You’ll also learn some bonus facts about scorpion anatomy along the way!

Now the artist keeps the values fairly dark but you can also make this your own by adding some extra highlights with an eraser for a shinier look.

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Wild Animals


Here’s a fun tutorial focusing on the king of the jungle.

The artist uses a simple proportion grid to draw the lion face in pencil, complete with striking eyes and realistic mane hair.

You’ll also see a few different techniques for adding highlights such as using white acrylic paint on top of the pencil to add whiskers, and creating highlights with an eraser.

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Our long-necked friend is easy to draw and he’s so fun!

Here’s a quick beginner-friendly tutorial for drawing a full-body giraffe in pencil.

The artist breaks down the form into basic shapes in this video tut. This is a great video to start with if you’re new to drawing animals. The hardest part is probably drawing the spots!

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Continuing with African savannah animals, this is a captioned tutorial similar to the giraffe video that also starts with basic shapes.

Follow along, pause after each step to catch up, and you’ll have a realistic zebra drawing in no time.

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Panda Bear

This sped-up demonstration of a panda portrait goes fast. So make sure to pause as you follow along.

This one’s a little trickier too so don’t be afraid it watch it a few times and even do a few practice drawings to perfect these skills. The key to mastery is repetition and that goes double for drawing new animals.

The fur in this drawing is especially impressive so make sure to watch the artist closely while the fur is being rendered.

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This narration-free speed drawing of a chimp might not be the easiest video to follow along with as a newbie.

But it’s still helpful to watch how this all comes together, how the artist draws hair & eyes, and how to render a fun chimp of your own.

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If you can’t get enough of this simple drawing series then you’ll love this tutorial for drawing a realistic hippo.

The end result is actually pretty great so it’s a nice starting point for newer artists.

Feel free to pause, go back, and rewatch as you follow along.

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Watch this video to learn how to draw a happy cartoonish koala sitting in a tree.

Koalas are mostly made of circles(which contributes greatly to their cuteness) and this makes them fairly simple to draw.

Use this tutorial to practice and warm up for some of the more challenging animal videos in this list.

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Let’s visit Australia for a moment and draw a lovable local: the kangaroo.

One thing you might notice a lot in these videos is that most of the artists draw their initial sketch very lightly with very little pencil pressure.

Watch how the artist in this video goes from light pressure to heavy pressure to build up the values in this kangaroo.

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Are you getting good at drawing basic shapes like circles? Good.

Because you’re going to need those skills to draw this simple camel in pencil.

One of the best parts about these tutorials, especially the ones in this series, is that you’ll start to notice patterns in your drawings.

You’ll get really good at quickly drawing animal eyes, or knowing how to space your basic shapes, or how to shade rounded forms without even having to think about it.

This camel is great practice for all of those things! And it’s one of the best animals to practice if you’re using the Drawabox lessons.

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This animal tutorial is a little different because the artist doesn’t really set up the form with simple shapes.

Rather they jump right into drawing the face and go from there. It might make this challenging for beginners, but intermediate-to-advanced artists should have no trouble.

You’ll see some different materials in this video like blending sticks and a mechanical pencil instead of a traditional wooden pencil. These aren’t covered in our recommended materials list but you can give these a try to mix things up.

This video is also helpful for learning to draw short, thick hair(like what you’d find on a rodent) while still showing a lot of form and subtle values.

The artist presents great alternatives to drawing hard outlines for more of a 3D and naturally-lit appearance.

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For a fun change in materials this artist uses watercolors and colored pencils to give this wolf portrait a whimsical look.

This video is a non-intimidating intro to mixed media and a good opportunity to play with beautiful colors that don’t have to be realistic. Sometimes the fun colors that feel ridiculous at first can feel more true and exciting to the work you want to create.

So the artist shares some great tips for drawing wolves with a few bonus tips thrown in for drawing fur—with colored pencils specifically.

She also includes some insight on drawing mistakes a lot of artists make, experienced artists included.

This piece is great practice for studying proportions and setting up guidelines for drawing any kind of animal face.

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This fun & simple tutorial shows you how to draw a creature that’s scores very high on the cuteness scale: a ring-tailed lemur.

Just note the video is very beginner friendly and easy to follow so it works as a quick project for when you want to practice but still need to build up some confidence.

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One technique for drawing shapes is to draw several lines and erase the ones you don’t need.

Think of quickly moving your pencil in a circular pattern several times to get a sketchy circle. You can usually erase some of the extra lines and get a pretty good circle in the end.

You’ll find this exact technique used in this tutorial to build shapes for this rhino drawing. You can leave this drawing rough and sketchy or smooth it out for a more refined look.

And for a fun twist this artist uses a lot of techniques you’d normally find in pen drawings, such as cross-hatching, even though he’s using pencil.

These techniques have a softer look in graphite so you might want to give it a try. You know, just for fun.

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Whether it’s Christmas or mid summer, it’s always a good time to draw reindeer.

This artist uses a few different mediums to draw a lovable reindeer including charcoal and pastel. This tutorial also shows off the gummy eraser which is a moldable eraser that every artist should try using in their traditional work.

It might not be the easiest project for beginners but it’s a beautiful animal that’s not hard to figure out once you get the hang of drawing the shapes.

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Enjoy this short demonstration for a refresher on drawing fur, and just to take a look at another artist’s technique on a fun animal.

The video is sped up and very short so it’s probably not the easiest to follow along with. But it still demonstrates solid artistic techniques.

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Sea Creatures


Have fun drawing this slightly cartoonish great white shark in charcoal pencil and graphite!

This is a great tutorial for beginners and especially so if you’re a sea lover.

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Koi Fish

Enjoy this demonstration a beautifully stylized koi fish on toned paper using graphite and colored pencil.

As the artist puts it: this drawing is very similar to a tattoo design.

This is more of a process video than a tutorial because the artist don’t really explain how he’s doing what he’s doing, but rather discusses the structure of the fish.

The techniques and shapes are fairly simple to follow if you have experience with drawing. So an intermediate artist shouldn’t have any trouble replicating these steps.

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The octopus is a very technical animal to draw but also really fun.

And why not? They’re awesome and very unique looking.

If you want to get in on the octopus trend this super simple tutorial will show you how to whip up a cool octopus pencil drawing in no time.

This artist leaves the values fairly dark and sketchy, but you can even take this a step further with blending, erasing to create highlights, or adding a little color with colored pencils or pastels.

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Watch this simple tutorial and learn how to draw a gorgeous sea turtle from scratch.

Though the artist kind of wings it instead of setting up a form with simple shapes, turtles have simple bodies which makes them easy to draw.

You can keep this clean and simple or follow along to add spots, textures, and shading for a water environment.

This is great practice is using lines to create curved forms like the ridges on the turtle’s shell. Overall a very nice tutorial for any skill level.

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Humpback Whale

Now here’s a fun and very easy project for beginners.

You could easily customize this whale drawing with even more shading, colors, even watercolors, or just leave it clean and simple.

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For such simple organisms, jellyfish can be tricky to draw.

Watch this narrated demonstration of drawing a jellyfish and notice how the artist renders the different textures from the smoothness of the bell to the folds and curls of the arms.

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Thanks to the very simple shape of the walrus this is a pretty easy project to get started with.

It’s also good practice in shading to create form so that your walrus looks three dimensional instead of just shading a flat value.

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Here’s a cool speedpainting demo rather than a full tutorial, although still worth watching in my book.

I’ll say this video is great for observing how the artist uses light lines to find the shape and then layers darker lines on top to sharpen the form.

Observing techniques like this is a great way to get them into your brain for when you’re ready to try them yourself!

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Said to be the most intelligent mammals, dolphins are some really beautiful creatures to bring into your artwork.

Though their shape is fairly simple, dolphins are deceptively tricky to draw. This artist does a good job of explaining some of the more complicated parts and how to create a natural-looking angle for a dolphin that’s jumping out of the water.

Whether you wanna create realistic dolphins or draw some SpongeBob-style cartoony characters, either way this tutorial is worth a watch.

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Whooo doesn’t love owls? (I know, sorry)

Well this video will show you how to draw a great horned owl starting with a base drawing in colored pencil and coloring it in with Copic markers or brush pens.

From start to finish you’ll have a gorgeous drawing with some really beautiful effects that can apply to all your future artwork.

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If you’ve ever been to the zoo then you’ve seen penguins. Everybody loves penguins.

And this beginner friendly tutorial shows you step-by-step how to draw a simple emperor penguin using circles, ovals, and other basic shapes.

Since it’s very simple to draw this is a good practice project for when you’re just getting started, short on time, or if you just want to draw a cute penguin. Which is totally legit.

The video also includes instructions for a adding a simple Antarctic background which gives the piece a more complete look.

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The artist here doesn’t provide narration but it’s pretty simple to see what’s going on.

You might want to just watch this once through before attempting though.

Working with color usually requires a lot of layering(especially when you’re using translucent media like colored pencil or watercolor) and you might have to use colors that feel counterintuitive.

It’s helpful to see how this artist selects and layers colored pencils to create a drawing of a type of bird that isn’t all that colorful, but is still dynamic.

It’s also a helpful to look at drawing simple feathers which is a completely different ball game from drawing hair or skin.

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Drawing birds in flight is challenging due to the angles of the wings (if you get this wrong it messes up the whole drawing) and the flight feathers which are the large wing feathers that allow birds to fly.

But this video eliminates a lot of excessive detail in the Canadian goose and mostly focuses on the shape of the wings and feathers.

This is excellent practice before diving into more challenging bird projects.

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This eagle portrait demo is a more challenging tutorial because the artist doesn’t set up shapes or guidelines, but freehands most of the drawing.

However it’s a close look at drawing eyes and feathers, plus a great use of highlighting with a blending stick and eraser.

The artist uses an interesting technique for drawing feathers using an eraser to drag the graphite across the page to create texture.

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Have fun with this easy tutorial for drawing a very simple ostrich.

You’ll use simple shapes and guidelines to get angles and lines down before creating the forms on your own.

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Drawing feathers can be a challenge but this is a great example of implied texture, or drawing just a few of the most important feathers to indicate the presence of many.

Isn’t it cool how our brains can fill in the rest? Easy to follow, very nice for beginners.

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This piece provides more great practice in drawing feathers, this time with the element of color from colored pencils.

Parrots are generally difficult animals to draw so this is fantastic practice for anyone.

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Reptiles & Amphibians


Hop on over to this video(I’ll stop now) and learn to draw a little froggy!

This is a really great lesson in shading because you really need it to show the smooth form of the frog. And the final result is just impeccable.

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Extinct animals still have a place on our list!

This tutorial walks you through sketching an awesome T-Rex in a cool sketchbook style.

This is a good demonstration of creating implied texture in pencil without having to draw every single scale, vein, and muscle, which is a massively important skill in drawing.

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Komodo Dragon

This tutorial can show you how to draw the largest living lizard, which is good practice in drawing details related to animal anatomy.

You may not know much about Komodo Dragons but they are lovable creatures to draw.

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This fun tutorial for drawing a baby alligator gives us a detailed look at the different sizes and shapes of scales on alligators’ heads.

The artist uses a mechanical pencil for this video and demonstrates the use of many different leads.

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If you want more practice drawing scales of different shapes and sizes then this snake portrait is the perfect project.

Make sure to pause the video as you follow along and recreate this piece. The video goes fast so you may need time to catch up.

Stick to black and white or keep following to add color with colored pencils! You can also stop with the snake or keep going to add the colored background.

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If you’re up for something really different watch this video to take a whack at drawing this unusual animal with a ballpoint pen.

Axolotls are sea creatures but also reptiles so they’re a fun mix for animal lovers.

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Try out this video for a quick drawing of a little chameleon, complete with the iconic curled tail.

You may know of Pascal from Tangled and he’s one of our top Disney characters to draw. Well you can take this video and bring it into your practice work to draw your very own chameleon character.

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…And The Platypus

This video teaches you to draw an animal that belongs in its very own section of this list.

It’s a weird creature so the shapes may seem odd. But keep at it and you’ll surely nail it down.

All of these videos are useful and if you have patience you can recreate these drawings all by yourself. Or you can try switching up your mediums, adding or subtracting color, or adding backgrounds!

Work your way through this list and you’ll be a pro at drawing all kinds of animals in no time.

Check Out The Tutorial

Author: McKella Sawyer

McKella is an artist and freelance writer from Salt Lake City, Utah. When she isn't painting or writing for clients she loves to write fiction, travel, and explore the mountains near her home either on foot, horseback, or a mountain bike. You can view her art on Etsy and her writing services at