How to Draw Animals on Totem Poles

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Draw Animals on Totem Poles
Draw Animals on Totem Poles (Image: Illustrations by Andrew DeWitt)

Totem poles are intricately decorated spiritual symbols of the northwestern Native American tribes. Drawing a totem pole can seem daunting at first, but if you use a basic frame made of simple geometric shapes, drawing a totem pole can be done with relative ease.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Black ink pen
  • Kneaded eraser

Draw a vertical line down the center of the page. Add two curved horizontal lines to the side of the vertical line.

Draw an oval with a flat top and the start of the vertical line. Draw two parallel lines around the vertical guideline. Add wings with curved lines under the curved horizontal lines.

Draw the details on the bird section of the totem pole. Add a beak with a rectangle on the top oval. Add the eyebrows with two rectangles on each side of the top of the oval. Add the eyes with two ovals. Create the eye mask on the bird with rectangle that is curved on the bottom edges.

Add a curved line inside each wing. Create the legs of the bird with two oblong ovals. Add the feet with three small oblong, thin ovals for the claws.

Draw the bear section of the totem pole under the bird. Draw the eyes and eye mask as you did before with the bird. Add nostrils with curved teardrop shapes. Draw the lips with two sets of horizontal parallel lines. Add the middle teeth of the bear with four small rectangles in between the teeth.

Add the fangs with triangles. Add the side teeth with two rectangles on each side of the mouth. Draw the hands with two parallel lines that tilt up diagonally. Add three circular lumps for fingers on the end of the hands.

Detail the totem poles with decorative designs. Add small ovals with circles inside them to the upper wings. Create the feathers on the bird by drawing vertical lines extending down from the middle curved line in the wings. Draw two crescent shapes on each side of the bird's chest. Add scales to the claws with six curved U-shaped lines on each foot. Add ears to the bear with two diagonal rectangles coming out from the top sides of the bear's head. Add two small circles to each cheek of the bear.

Ink the entire drawing. Let the ink dry and erase all of the pencil. Darken in the eye on the bird and the bear. Add two horizontal ovals to the belly of the bird. Round off the feathers on the birds wings by making the rectangles come to a point.

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