Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating a Stunning Tiger Drawing

Table of contents
The Tiger You’ll Be Drawing A Picture of the Tiger You'll Be Drawing

You've found the right place if you're trying to figure out how to sketch a tiger. This tutorial will teach you how to draw a tiger, and it's appropriate for artists of all skill levels.

Here's a preview of what you'll find out about in the manual

The first step of the tutorial shows you how to make a rough outline of a tiger. After that, you can start adding more details to your tiger, focusing on the fur and markings on the animal's body and the expression on its face.

You can quickly and easily skip to the section that is most relevant to you if you're only interested in learning about a specific step. Simply refer to the dynamic table below:

An overview of the entire process

First, we'll give you a rundown of the entire procedure to give you an idea of what to expect.

Instructions for a Complex Image: A Tiger

Pay close attention to the way your initial guidelines establish the framework for your drawing. Don't worry, we'll be explaining everything in great detail. At this point, you should only use it to get a feel for how your drawing will develop.

Realistic Tiger Drawing Instructions

If you're looking for some drawing advice before you get started, we've got some great resources for you. The following methods will help you draw a realistic tiger:

  1. Consider the slant of the back, if you will. These rules will be useful to you now.
  2. Focus a lot of energy on your eyes. Accuracy in portraying their form, placement, and size will aid in capturing the power of your subject.  
  3. The stripes aren't simply straight lines, so keep that in mind. Take a look at the tutorial's sample drawings to see how the tiger's stripes follow the shape of its body. You should make an effort to mimic that look in your artwork.

To begin, sketch the boundaries of your Tiger.

First, we'll sketch out some guidelines for our tiger. Using the guidelines provided, we will begin to sketch the tiger's body, face, and features in this first section. Before you start adding in the details, think about the tiger's overall form and placement to guarantee an accurate drawing.

In the first step, sketch out a sizable oval.

To begin your tiger drawing, make a large oval that is tilted slightly to the right. You should draw the oval so that it is upright (like an egg).  

Be sure to work toward making this shape as seamless as possible. Don't give up if it takes a few tries before you get it right. For inspiration on what kind of form you should be attempting, please refer to the image below.  

In time, this standard will evolve into the tiger's belly.

Create the Outlines of Your Tiger's Body

Second, sketch a tiny circle.

Draw a tiny circle next to the oval in the left-hand margin.   

Keep in mind that this circle is an extension of the previous one, so you should give it the same attention to smoothness and uniformity as you did before. But don't stress out over making a perfectly round circle. Make use of this circle as a starting point for the tiger's back in your tiger diagram.

These guidelines are only temporary, so don't worry if they make your final drawing look sloppy. A later step will involve erasing them, but for now they serve to aid in the drawing's structure.

Put Pen to Paper and Outline Your Tiger's Back

Third, sketch an elongated oval.

Making a long, skinny oval is the next step in the design process. Place the oval you just drew in Step 3 between the two other shapes you drew in Steps 1 and 2.

The oval needs to be upright, with sharp peaks at both ends. The highest point must be aligned with the leftmost, smaller circle.

Use this oval as a guide when sketching the tiger's body to ensure that the form is well-structured.

Fourth, make three parallel lines.

If you follow these three rules, you'll have a good foundation on which to build your tiger's body. If you draw lines between the shapes you've already drawn, you'll be able to better make out the tiger's head and shoulders.

You should strive for the shape shown below, but it's okay if it doesn't turn out perfectly the first time. The lines' primary function is to aid in achieving accurate proportions and shape.

First, connect the small circle on the left with a curved line. Start the line halfway down the left side of the circle. To reach the large oval, the line must first descend through its center and then curve downwards along its length. If you draw a line from the top left corner of the oval to the spot where it should end below the oval, you'll be in the right place.

Then, proceed to the next line, which will function as the tiger's back. Follow the picture below as a guide, and draw a line that extends to the right from the small circle's arc.

The third rule for this stage is to locate the center of the small circle's base. Just like in the image, you'll want to draw a sweeping line around it.

The Fifth Step: Make Two Circles

Draw two smaller circles at the large oval's base. The ideal placement for these is on either side of the oval with a small overlap in the middle. The space between the two smaller circles should also be minimal.

You can think of these circles as guides for the tiger's paws. These, along with the rest of the guidelines, will be erased in the final step of this tutorial, so don't fret over their potential impact on your final drawing.

Look at the two pictures down below to get a feel for how big these circles need to be:

Connect the upper torso to the knee joint in Step 6.

Draw a soft curved line from the left side of the large oval to the right side of the smaller circle, as shown in the image. It joins the tiger's torso to the area above its knee.

Construct the leg guidelines in Step 7.

Following the instructions in this step will ensure that your tiger is properly formed and situated. Since precision is required, a ruler should be employed when drawing these lines.  

The first ray is drawn from the middle of the long, skinny oval. From there, extend a long straight line through the oval and into the area beneath the lower half of the body. This string is going to be the tiger's front left leg, so it needs to be quite long.

To continue, begin at the base of your vertical line and draw a horizontal line in a leftward direction. Your horizontal line should be roughly half as long as your vertical line.

Outline Some Requirements For The Returning Legs

The front legs (shown on the right side of your diagram) will now be worked on in a similar fashion. To do this, simply draw a line from the right oval to the left side of the right smaller circle. This is the point where the right small circle meets the tiger's middle. Carry on this line until it intersects with the left leg guidelines.  

Put in two parallel lines now Align the first line with the horizontal line at the base of the final vertical line. Place the second, slightly longer line directly beneath the first, preexisting horizontal line.

See the picture below for some help with the proper placement of these lines:

Outline The Two Leading Legs

Next, make a set of leg lines for the front of the creature.

It's time to sketch out the contours of the legs at this point. There is a small kink in the middle of each of these composition lines, a flat section at the bottom (for the paw) and a slight incline at the top.  

Drawing the tiger's left front leg is the first step. It's best to begin at the top of the small left circle (where the leg socket is located) and lightly sketch a line going down.  

Make a loop at the bottom of the small circle's base. A more natural form for the leg can be achieved with this bend in the line. Keep drawing a downward line until you reach the bottom of the guidelines (which you drew in the previous step). At last, sketch out a foot using a few scribbled lines.  

Trace the tiger's left front paw

Simply mirror the first front leg's line when drawing the second one. That's why we're going to draw a line that bottoms out at the rightmost small circle. Note that the higher line on the guidelines from the previous step should serve as the placement for the foot of the right front leg.

If you're unsure of how this should appear, please see the attached image.

Trace the right front leg of the tiger.

Step Nine: Outline the Back Legs

We'll begin with the right hind leg. Draw a line starting just below the circle on the tiger's left side of the body. Make a squiggly line for the tiger's leg and finish it off with a loop halfway down (this will be the animal's knee). And finally, draw the foot atop the horizontal guideline you made earlier.  

Trace the back leg of the tiger.

Let's sketch out the left hind thigh now. Follow the steps again, but this time begin the line at a point below midbody, parallel to the tiger's underbelly.

Being the most distant from the viewer, this leg will be shorter to convey distance.

Make a sketch of the left rear legs.

Tenth, sketch the tiger's tail.

The tiger's tail is the next guiding line to be drawn.  

Place the beginning of this line slightly above the center of the left circle (the tiger's back). It needs to follow the curve of the circle so that the tiger's body appears to be uninterrupted.  

Take care to sketch this line lightly and give it a slight curve at the end.

Carve The Tail Of The Tiger

Twelfth, sketch a circle for the tiger's face.

The tiger's head will go in the center of the next circle we draw.  

Place this circle so that its lower half rests on top of the tiger's chest guidelines. Make sure the head is about as wide as the previous, large oval you drew.  

Please make this circle as round and proportional as you can. It's okay if you have to try this a few times.

If you want to make sure your tiger's proportions are about right, compare your sketch to the one below.

Carve the Head of a Tiger

Drawing the Knees (12th Step)

The tiger's knees will be outlined in this step. To accomplish this, draw a small circle atop the crook you made in each leg. Next, sketch a rough rectangle below the circle, extending downward until it meets the tiger's feet.  

Always keep in mind that the outcome is unaffected by these recommendations. These rules are meant to serve only as general recommendations.  

Look at the picture below for a visual representation of how these knee guidelines should appear.

To the Knees of the Tiger

13. Complete the leg lines.

Join the tiger's hips and shoulders together using the dotted lines. Just draw some gentle curves to accomplish this.

Have a look at our diagram down below if you need some more help.

Trace the tiger's upper legs

14th Step: Outline the paws.

In this section, we'll practice drawing the tiger's paws.

Get a rough sketch of these paws looking like the one down below. If you need help placing them, the horizontal lines are there for you.  

To finish, give each paw a set of toes and imagine where they would be placed if you were looking down at a real tiger.

Do a Tiger's Paws Cartoon

15th Step: Make four concentric circles on the tail.

In this step, we'll give the tail a little more definition.  

For this, let's draw four concentric circles at various points along the tail line. There should be one of these at the tiger's tail's beginning, near the spine. There should be a tiny void between the other three circles, which should be placed near the tail's tip.  

Again, these are just guides that will be erased once you're done with your drawing.

Put together Four Tiny Circles

Here we go to Step 16 where we'll be drawing the lines for the back and the stomach.

Now we'll draw three lines to represent the back and stomach. You should bend and shape these lines in accordance with the rules you established in the preceding steps.  

Using the small circle at the tip of the tiger's tail as a starting point, draw a line for the first step. The next step is to sling this across your shoulder and lug it up the tiger's spine until you reach the top of its head.  

Keep going until you reach the tiger's belly. To do this, start at the tiger's back left leg and draw a curved line underneath its body to where it emerges near the front right paw. If you extend this line far enough, it will hit your right front thigh. As shown below, complete this step by drawing a short curved line from the tiger's hind leg up to the line you just drew.

Represent the Back and Stomach of a Tiger

Step 17: Outline the facial features.

After placing the tiger's head inside the circle, draw a line directly through its middle.

Create the tiger's face by drawing a vertical line.

Line out the facial features (Step 18): eyes, ears, and nose

Mark out the future locations of the tiger's eyes, ears, and nose on your face guidelines.  

Six horizontal lines are drawn to accomplish this. These will serve as guides for outlining the upper and lower lids, nose, and mouth. For a visual representation of the placement and spacing of these rules, see the accompanying diagram.

Prepare The Outline Of The Tiger's Face

The tiger's head, symbolized by a straight line at the top of the circle, You can use this information to adjust the ear placement instructions further on in the tutorial.

Construct The Outline Of The Tiger's Face

Step 19: Draw a rough outline of the tiger's face.

If you want to finish the guidelines for your tiger's face, draw a hexagon inside the circle you just drew.

From the top guideline you drew in the previous step, draw a hexagon. A line should be drawn at the bottom of the hexagon to represent the tiger's chin, and the line should connect to two points on either side of the circle (these will be the ears).

Specify The Tiger's Featured Outline

Learning the Face of a Tiger

We'll start by sketching out the tiger's face. We'll take it in stages.

First, sketch out some ears.

First, we'll sketch out the ear canals. Both of these should begin on the top line of the hexagon.  

Please refer to the image below for a demonstration of how the ears should curve slightly more than simple semicircles.

Have Fun With Tiger Ears!

Second, sketch the form of the tiger's head.

Next, draw a rough outline of the head. To do this, start at the base of the tiger's ears and draw two lines downward to the face's outermost hexagonal points.   

As shown below, the curved guideline that you drew earlier should serve as a template for these two lines.

Outline the tiger's head and color it in.

Step 3: Sketch the bottom jaw and teeth

As we move forward, the tiger's mouth will be our primary area of focus.  

Starting at the base of the hexagon, draw a curved line. The bottom of the tiger's mouth can be formed like this. This arced line's width should correspond to that of the line at the base of the hexagon. The lower jaw of a tiger should have a realistic shape, so it should curve slightly on both ends.  

Step 4: Complete the mouth and nose details.

Details for the upper portion of the nose and the mouth will be added now. Create a horizontal oval in the hexagon's base first. Place this oval so that the tiger's three lower facial lines meet in the middle.  

If you need clarification on any of these details, please refer to the picture.  

The Tiger's Mouth Must Be Drawn

Then, we'll plunge right in at the nose of the tiger. Putting this in the exact center of the oval you drew is what we're going for. Within the oval you drew, make use of the first and second guidelines.

Use the space between these two lines to sketch the nose's crescent shape. It's best to begin the nose at the left end of the top line, then follow a sharp curve down, and end up at the right end of the top line.  

To complete the crescent, draw a second curve. For this upper line to match the other curve, it must begin at its origin. The arc will be less severe, but the distance between the top guideline and the nose should still be noticeable.  

A picture of a nose can be found below for reference if you need it.

A Tiger's Nose Must Be Drawn

Five, refine the eye design by including more subtle details.

The tiger's face will take on more form as we add this step's structure. Begin by sketching two light curved guidelines, one on either side of the nose, that continue up through the top horizontal lines. There should be a slight slant between each of these lines, creating space between them.

Put the tiger's eyes where you want them with the help of these lines.

Next, make two tiny circles. Each circle should rest on the top horizontal guideline in the tiger's face, at the very top of the guidelines you just drew.

A Picture Of A Tiger's Eyes

The actual eyes can be drawn now. Use the space between the two horizontal guidelines as a guide as you draw. Next, measure the arc of the nose guidelines to establish the ocular elevation.

Snap A Picture Of The Tiger's Eyes

Sixth, sketch out a mouth and nose.

Our tiger's guidelines and general structure have been our primary concerns thus far. At this stage, we'll begin to concentrate on drawing the tiger's nose and other small features.

Make use of the crescent-shaped outline you drew earlier as a guide.

The nose, meanwhile, should be roughly the same shape but with an indentation for the nostrils. See below for an illustration of adding two small curved lines inside the nose, parallel to the indent.

Carve The Nose Of A Tiger

Next, we'll make a curved line for the tiger's mouth. Just follow the example down here! Draw a line that extends below the oval in the middle, converges at a point, and then curves back up to the oval in one continuous stroke. Draw the right side of the mouth in a mirror image of the left, and carry on with the line to finish the mouth.

The tiger's upper jaw can be represented by making a small indentation in the oval you just drew.

Trace the open maw of the tiger.

To complete the tiger's upper jaw, place a few bright dots near the bottom of the oval. You can expect to see the whiskers outlined here.

Fill in the whiskers with a few dots.

Seventh, add some fur to the ear lobes.

To finish off the tiger's face, we'll be sketching in some fur along the jawline, chin, and ears.

First, we'll put the finishing touches on the tiger's ears and skull. To achieve this effect, make furry markings along the outer ear and ear crease. If you want your fur to look realistic, draw it in varying lengths. Avoid keeping the fur around the ears in a single, continuous line; instead, use fine fur markings to create an ear outline.

Next, add the tiger's short mane across its forehead, as shown below.

To Complete The Tiger's Ears

Your tiger's face will be sketched next, using the same technique of sketching fur to form an outline.

Make a Tiger's Mask out of Fur.

The tiger's lower face and ears will be the next areas to receive fur. Decide where to draw this fur using the hexagon as a guide.

Next, add some fur to the tiger's mouth with a quick sketch.

Add some shadows to the inside of the tiger's mouth, and you're done! Put some dark shading in the space between the tiger's mouth outline and the circle that represents its nose. Make a small indentation in the circle's shading along the center of the face.

Carve a Jaw for the Tiger

Last but not least, fill in the top of the tiger's mouth with fur. Create the fur by drawing lines around the perimeter of the circle.

Draw fur along the mouth starting at a point below the nose and eye guidelines and continuing until you reach the opposite corner of the face.

Method 8: Put the finishing touches on the eyes and nose

Initially, you should focus on the nose. Attempt to give your nose a curved shape that emphasizes its depth, as shown below.

To Become The Nose Of A Tiger, Simply Draw It

Next, flesh out the eyes as shown below.

You can also add some thin lines around the eye at this point.

Observe The Tiger's Eyes

You can move on to the rest of the tiger's face stripes once the smaller ones around the eyes are finished.

Nineth, complete the tiger's face.

The final touches to the tiger's face will be added in this stage.

Your vertical guideline at the top of the head is central, and the rest of the stripes are short and radial.

The side stripes are broader and more rounded so that they can act as semicircles that ripple outward from the cheeks and jaw. But these shouldn't be smooth, unbroken lines; rather, they should be broken up into thinner lines and points of varying thickness. In case you need a visual, please see the attached file.

Make The Tiger's Face Have Stripes

After that, we'll put on the whiskers. Draw long sweeping lines that curve downwards, starting from the little dots you drew earlier. There shouldn't be any two whiskers that are the same length or thickness. Think about how real whiskers would look as you draw them.

Finally, sketch some fluffy spots of fur onto the tiger's face to finish off your drawing.

Embrace the facial hair trend.

Now that the tiger's face is complete, we can focus on the rest of its body.

The Tiger's Anatomy: How to Draw It

Beginning with the tiger's back, draw fur.

We'll be discussing the tiger's physical makeup in this part.

Begin by sketching some rough hairs along the tiger's back. From the left side of the tiger's face, this swath of fur should travel down to the curved end of the animal's tail.

Put Some Fur On That Tiger!

Construct the tail in Step 2.

When drawing the tiger's tail, follow the same path you used to draw the body.

Keep in mind the preceding instruction and avoid simply drawing a single straight line. Add a gentle touch by outlining the tail with tiny tufts of fur.

Carve a Tiger's Nose

Third, sketch out the rear legs.

Draw the tiger's hind legs following the guidelines you made in Step 1.

It all begins with your left rear leg. Create a tuft of fur at the thigh's peak and blend it into a single line down the leg's length. Trace a curved line around the tiger's knee and halt above the foot.

How to Draw the Tiger's Hind Legs

The right hind leg follows, and it is treated exactly like the left. Don't forget to depict the leg's upper portion, as shown below, which is obscured by the other leg.

The Tiger's Back Legs Must Be Drawn

The fourth step is to sketch the abdomen.

We'll be using the same method of sketching soft fur lines for the stomach as we did up top.

Carefully adhere to the outline you drew for the belly, and keep adding fur spots until you reach the front left leg. The area of the tiger's belly between its front legs needs a few lines of fur added to it now.

How to Draw a Tiger's Stomach

Draw the front legs in Step 5.

It's time to sketch out the tiger's front paws now.

Put your focus on your right leg to begin. Your body's right oval guide should be the starting point for the line. Following the contours you've already drawn, this line will proceed downward until it reaches the foot.

Towards the top of the line depicting the inner leg, add a few furry splotches.

Please illustrate the front legs of the tiger.

Methods very similar to those used on the right leg are needed for the left. The inner top of the leg, like the other one, needs some fur spots.

Then, stick to the steps until you get to the bottom.

Trace the front legs of the tiger.

Sixth, stuff the chest with fur.

The next step is to give the tiger's chest some definition.

To begin, draw a straight line from the right side of the chest all the way down and across the top of the right thigh. Thin white fur should be scattered along this line.

Next, draw a pair of stripes that begin at the right side of the tiger's neck and travel down its body to its chest.

Roughly sketch fur that curves and ripples from the chin. Don't forget to leave a space between each row of fur and keep going until you reach the top of the legs. To add realism to your drawing, draw the fur in varying lengths and thicknesses, as in the previous steps.

Seventh, sketch the paws.

This section will teach you how to draw the paws in great detail, beginning with the two front paws. Stick to the rules you've already established. To make the feet appear even more real, shade in the spaces in between them.

You should also add some extra fur spots to the front legs.

Carve Out Your Paws

The same procedure applies to the rear paws.

Suggest a picture of your back paws being drawn.

Eighth, fill in any blanks with relevant information.

At this point, your tiger will begin to take on a life of its own. Now comes the exciting conclusion: applying the tiger stripes! First, we'll draw the body stripes, which are narrower and will go all the way around the tiger. These should reach from the tiger's back down its legs.

Every one of the tiger's stripes ought to follow the contours of its body. Here's an example of how the stripes should be slightly undulating and each a different shape:

Take note of how each stripe begins as a pinpoint and grows progressively thicker as it progresses. In the final stages of the stripe's formation, it thickens again to a pinpoint.

Incorporate the Tiger's Stripes

The thinner stripes will be replaced by the thicker ones shown below. Making use of a method analogous to that which was employed for the narrower stripes will yield the desired result.

The primary distinction here is that thicker shading (instead of fine, straight lines) will be used to create the next layer of stripes.

Toss in some tiger stripes

Spot the tiger's chest, legs, tail, and body with tiny black markers to finish this step. Create this effect by lightly sketching lines in between the stripes at various locations across your tiger.

Fur tufts can be added.

Phase 9: Wipe out the rules

With care, we can now rub out the guidelines by erasing the shapes and lines that serve as the foundation for our drawing.

The Tiger You’ll Be Drawing Take Off The Drawing's Limits

Look over your drawing one last time to see if anything needs to be tweaked.

Draw a Tiger Now That You've Finished

Congratulations Wow, that tiger in the jungle you just drew is beautiful!  

All done with this detailed tiger drawing tutorial! Creating your tiger was a lot of fun, and we hope you had as much as we did! Check out our other drawing guides if you'd like to learn how to draw even more stunning creatures.

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