how to sketch an eagle

How to Sketch an Eagle

Step 1.

As always we will begin by making some basic guides and shapes to form a workable frame concept for the eagle we are about to sketch. Start by drawing a circle for the head and then draw a cone like shape for the eagle's beak. Lastly, add a neck line that is slightly arched a bit.

Step 2.

We will tackle sketching out the beak first. Now when drawing the beak of an eagle you have to keep in mind that these birds are massive in every which way possible. They are incredibly bold, and have a lot of detailed characteristics to their genetic make-up. Begin sketching out the claw shaped beak and be sure to make the tip of the beak very defined and pointed.

Step 3.

Next, begin sketching out the bottom part of the bill which is also known as the lower mandible. Unlike the upper mandible, the bottom cups into the top part of the beak. The lining for the bottom mandible should also begin the neck process like so. Cap off the front part of the upper mandible from the face and or head with a separation line. Add a nostril hole, and then sketch in some detailing around the crease of the mouth at the corner of the face.

Step 4.

Eagles have round, dark large eyes. Their upper brow is a very broad, and well defined aspect of their face. Sketch out the lining to form the eagle's brow, not eyebrow, and then sketch in the shape of the eye. Begin darkening the area in the front of the eye like so, and then move to the bill once more to sketch in some detailing which will define this animals face.

Step 5.

Now it is time to start the sketching process of getting the head and some of the chest added. Start at the top part of the bill, and then begin sketching the forehead, back of the head, and then the back of the eagle's neck. Starting from the bottom of the lower mandible, you will continue what you started in the previous step and begin sketching out the rest of the neck as well as some of the bold chest. The lining should be in a sketched fashion and because of this the lining should come out looking like feathers. Color in the eyeball or pupil, and then add that glare as well.

Step 6.

This is basically what the sketched drawing of an eagle looks like. Before we get started with the shading aspect of the sketch, I'd like to point out the direction of the light source that we will be basing the definition on. The light source will be coming from a north west direction, which means light will flow downward onto the eagles face as the arrows show.

Step 7.

Lightly shade in your eagle drawing completely like you see here. This is what I like to call the "primer" coat of penciling before detailing and definition starts.

Step 8.

This is an example of the stroke of shading and how it looks as it transforms from a very light stroke, to a very dark, and bold stroke.

Step 9.

Next, we're going to shade the parts of the beak which require certain areas of shadows. The most important regions to shade the beak are the tip, nostril, and the lower corner where the two connect. I like to set a sort of frame line before I shadow, and sketch downwards to create a gradient effect. Make sure you have an eraser handy to blotch out parts of white to make the drawing pop. The whole point of the primer we added earlier was to add a light coat of shading to be able to embed lighter details with the eraser.

Step 10.

Here's a simple technique used when I shade the dark parts of the drawing. 1. labels the common way to shade. I use this more commonly and trail from 'light to dark'. The closer the base of the shadow, the darkest it will be. 2. Is a basic technique used called 'crosshatching'. It allows you to cover more white space and also, add dimension if you use it right. Use these two techs carefully and try not to over shade your drawing.

Step 11.

Here's basic progress steps on how I did the eye. Notice how I had a light coat first, then a darker coat, and finally, erased certain parts of the eye to get that lovely 'sheen'.

Step 12.

Then, slowly building in my shadows and adding depth to the head with sharp feathers. As I move along, I'm also erasing away with varied strokes, hairs on top of the shadows. This will make the head pop and seem more realistic.

Step 13.

I go ahead and add more highlights and shadows. Take your time, and try to restrain from rushing. The last thing you want to do is rush.

Step 14.

Here, I lightly erased a few parts of the head, and smudged it outwards as much as I can to get an evenly distributed effect. I go ahead and add a very light coat of shadow to the lower base of the head.

Step 15.

Then, using a watercolor brush, I carefully shade from the base of the eagle darkest, and work upwards with subtle grays to make the head pop even more. Notice how the setting seems more intriguing and dimensional?

Step 16.

With a few detailed tweaks, you should have something like this. I hope you had fun with this tutorial as much as I did. Stay tuned for more awesome lessons in the future, just like this! If you want something in the similar style, please leave a comment below. Have fun

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Uploaded: March 23, 2012
Artist: Dawn
Difficulty: Intermediate  Intermediate Skill Level
Steps: 16
Updated: March 23, 2012
P.O.V: Side
Favourited: 33 times
Artist comments

I've been having a lot of fun with sketching some fantastic animals and fantasy creatures lately so I wanted to upload a tutorial that I worked on this morning called how to sketch an eagle. Sketching is something that I am no pro at, but since I have been wanting to expand my capabilities with sketch drawing, I will be working on some new concepts in sketch format on different animals, people, and even maybe some buildings. The eagle came out to my satisfaction but I wish I could have done a better job. Striving for the very best is something that I try and do when it comes to creating new things. I think I mentioned this many times before about how much I love drawing birds. The eagle is one of my all time favorite bird species, so making a sketched version on one was pretty important to me. I would have liked to have sketched out an entire body or maybe even one in flight, but because my sketch drawing abilities are not as good as I'd like them to be, it's back to practicing, practicing, and more practicing. Included with the lesson is some tip steps that explain the shading process when sketching. Again, I am no pro so keep in mind that some of these techniques are new to me. Anyways, I do hope you enjoy this tutorial on sketching an eagle. I will return soon because there are still two more tutorials that need to go up. Adios and happy flying!