How to Draw a Tiger

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To draw a tiger, begin with the eyes to anchor the face, add in the nose, muzzle and ears, and sketch in the details that bring it to life. Study photographs of tigers to accurate represent the animal with a demonstration from a professional cartoonist and illustrator with this free video on drawing.

Part of the Video Series: Drawing & Illustration Lessons
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Video Transcript

Alright folks in this clip we're going to teach you how to draw a tiger. Not an easy thing to do cause there's a lot of detail, so let's just dive right in. I'm going to start off by giving the eyes an anchor. Now this tiger is going to end up being somewhat cartoonized, but there'll be bits of realism to it as well. So that's the eye right there, so we're going to come in and give him some light pupils and then the actual iris of the eye itself. Now you can choose to make your tiger look fearsome or relatively tame it's completely up to you. But if you look at a regular tiger they way their eyes look, there is something somewhat scary about them. I'm going to give the forehead somewhere to go from there. So after that we're going to work our way downward and we're going to go down to give the nose somewhere to go. That will be the next big part. We're going to draw the nostrils, sort of like a triangular shape. That will work well for the nose. Then once you've committed to a shape, just kind of reinforce it then. And then come down here and draw the middle part and right up along the sides. That's the top of his mouth. We're going to go ahead and add details later, but right now we're just trying to outline the face. So now that we've established where his mouth is, really kind of reinforce the bottom there, and come down and give him a chin, or her, on the kind of tiger you want. So let's go in and give a chin like that. Alright, so now we've got the face pretty well in hand. What I would do next is come up and draw the top of his head, so you kind of know where it's going to go. And tiger's seem to have somewhat of a flat head, so you don't need to draw much of an angle to it. And then just kind of come up here and like give two points for the ears. Now I found the ears of kind of the hardest thing to capture with wild animals because whether you realize it or not, a lot of them have very distinct ears. And you might end up looking at these ears that you've drawn and think, "Wow, Ok, those don't exactly quite look a tiger's ears." Like I think I can see right away that it looks a little too pointy, but we can make it work for the sake of our drawing. Now tiger's also have kind of the hair that jets out from their face a little bit more so, then say, a lion. A lion's probably just comes down and draw it right along like this. Whereas a tiger, we'll give him some cheekbones, but he has kind of a bushy smaller mane than a lion would have all the way around his face. Now what I would do is, is would come in and I would kind of establish the outer line of that. Just like that. So now we have the foundation for the tiger face. Reinforce all your lines as much as possible. Particularly the eyes, cause they are always the anchor of any drawing that you do, any character, any living thing. So now we've got a really good foundation for the tiger's face. Now what I would do from this point, is you can obviously get as detailed as you want but I would start drawing in the stripes which are not the easiest thing do, believe me. What I would recommend doing actually, is getting a photograph of a real live tiger and kind of explore the way the stripes kind of come in to play on a real tiger. Because they are definitely..there's certain symmetry to it, but at the same time there's actually a lot of variety in there. They don't necessarily have the same stripes in the exact same place on their face. They have them in the most random spots you can think of actually. But definitely kind of just work your way up and down the face. Kind of establish, like certain lines that stay consistent throughout and then just kind of build off of those. Like so. And again, this is going to take a while. Drawing a tiger is sort of a big undertaking. We're kind of skimming through it rather quickly. But if you really want to get it and make this look like a really, you know, believable drawing of a tiger, you're going to want to take a little bit of time to craft the finer details of this cat. Because that's what really will sell it, in terms of believability. A couple of important lines, I would say, are to follow the cheekbones down past the eyes. A lot of tiger's have this and it's sort of like a defining character trait, I would say. The lines that kind of circle face, if you will. They have several. They have kind of a few that jet out a little bit and what I would do is draw them kind of like a squiggly line, like this, so it looks like the fur kind of goes in line with the outer fur. Give yourself a starting line, like that, and then kind of draw them in like so. Just like that. And I would draw a big outer one. And it again keeps in line with the outer fur there. Just like this. Yea, now obviously there's a whole lot more to a tiger than just the face, but that would take quite a long time to do. So what I would recommend doing is start with the face and work your way from there. Once you've got a firm grasp on how to draw a tiger's face, then tackle the body. But I would say half the battle would be getting the face looking believable. But once you've done that, you are well on your way to drawing one of the most complicated creatures in the animal kingdom. The tiger.


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