The gentle giant of the ocean. Learn how to draw your very own whale shark with these step-by-step instructions. Stay tuned for more tutorials!

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Step 1 – Base shapes

The first part of this tutorial is to get some solid shapes that can be used as a base for the whale shark. The head is a simple oval and the body is a bent cone shape. finally, the tail is a V. To begin drawing these shapes you will need to decide what type of pose you will draw your whale shark in. I would recommend a simple side view or a 2/3rds view similar to this.

Step 2 – Rough sketch

Step 2 is a very rough sketch, This sketch should not look pretty, the only purpose of this sketch is to figure out where the body parts will go. you may need to draw this 10 times before you get it right. Whale sharks’ mouths curve up slightly at the ends which makes them seem as if they are smiling so it is fun to draw them like this.

Step 3 – Refining the lines

It’s now time to draw the final outlines. The main body parts are done with a thicker line and the smaller details are done with thinner lines. Whale sharks’ skin appears quite smooth so I have done no creases in the skin or blemishes, this will all be done with colour.

Step 4 – Colour

These amazing fish have 2 main colours, The darkish blue of the body and a white/grey for the underbelly and spots. You can be experimental with the colours and amount of spots but I found that bigger spots made the fish cuter.

Step 5 – Shadows

I have added very little shadow to this illustration, only very basic lines to the lower parts of the body. I think that the simple lines keep the illustration looking flat but still helps it to pop from the page (does that make sense)?

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Prefer to work from paper? Download the tutorial below!