How to Draw a Realistic Shark

Artist: JTM93 / August 4, 2013

Step 1.

Begin with an elongated tear drop shape – the pointed end will serve as the tip of the shark’s spine and the rounded end will by the tip of the head. Note how the tear drop is sitting at a slight angle with the bottom segment sitting parallel to    

Step 2.

In this step we draw four of the five main fins. These are quite straightforward to draw; the only difficulty lies in making sure they are placed correctly and are the right size. The tail fins are easy to place as they are drawn at the tip of the ta   

Step 3.

Erase some of the lines where the fins attach to the body. Now add the upper edge of the right side fin – this fin is pretty much in line with the perspective of the drawing so we won’t really see that much of it. It should start in roughly the s   

Step 4.

Finish the right side fin by drawing the trailing edge as shown. Notice how there is a weird hook-like shape at the one end of it – I know it looks strange at the moment, but when we start shading it will make sense. Next, you need to add a small f   

Step 5.

First, add the small fin at the bottom of the shark that I missed in the last step. Now the outline of the drawing is complete and we can start the shading. The base layer of shading is quite a ragged process as you can see, but there is a specific m   

Step 6.

Shade a base layer for the rest of the shark’s body, as shown. Note how there is a thin band of lighter shading that runs down the top of the spine, and a section of the lower tail fin that is lighter than the rest.

Step 7.

Now we can smooth out the shading using cotton pads or tissues. If you aren’t familiar with this technique, it involves using a small bunch of the material and rubbing the graphite with it in small circular motions or left-right-left-right motions.   

Step 8.

Now we begin the second layer of shading. This time we want to make certain sections darker so use a 4B pencil. The dorsal fin should be made completely dark, whilst the section of highlight in the tail fins should remain lighter. The right side fin    

Step 9.

Smooth out the shading from the previous step using cotton pads/tissues. You must ensure there are no small eraser shavings on the paper or the cotton pad/tissue before you start blending or else you will erase thin lines all over the shading. Also,    

Step 10.

Continue to darken certain sections of the image and smooth it out with cotton pads/tissues. In this step I started to shade the tip of the nose/head and continued to define the shape of the fins. See how I have also been smudging graphite over the o   

Step 11.

In this step we will erase the unsightly ‘overflow’ of shading described in the previous step without erasing the part of the drawing you want to keep. This is quite easy with the shark as most of the drawing’s borders are straight lines. You w   

Step 12.

Develop the area surrounding the eye. You want to make this area very dark and the border between the top of the eye socket structure and the top of the head to be quite distinct. Also note how the shading wraps around the eye (see the enlarged inset   

Step 13.

As you darken the rest of the shark, it becomes pretty clear that the white sections of the face are too light. Here we very lightly shade over these areas and blend them. It’s better to do this gradually rather than make the area too dark (trying    

Step 14.

Darken the lines of the mouth. Note how there are two lines – one of the lower jaw and one of the upper – which sort of overlap.

Step 15.

Four things happen in this step. Firstly, the leading edge of the right side fin (top left image inset) is drawn – note how there are two thin bands of highlights along either side of the dark band. Secondly, another small tail fin is added to the    

Step 16.

Finish shading the gills and the area just above it. Note the two streaks of highlights in this area (shade the area first and then use your eraser to create the highlights). Finally, don’t forget to darken the pupil of the eye!

Step 17.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial on how to draw a realistic shark and found it helpful. If you have read through this tutorial and don’t think you can pull it off completely, I would still strongly encourage you to attempt the drawing anyway t   

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Artist: JTM93
Date Added: August 4, 2013
Steps: 17
Favorited: 2 (view)
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Tags: how to draw sharks, shark drawings, shark drawing, shark sketch
Description: Welcome to this tutorial on how to draw a realistic shark. The shark in question is a Caribbean Reef Shark, but the techniques explained in this tutorial will be applicable to any shark drawing. This is an excellent tutorial to attempt if you want to develop your shading skills – the majority of the drawing involves layering shading and you don’t have to draw any complicated textures or intricate details. To complete this drawing you will need HB-4B pencils, an eraser, sharpener, smooth paper (I used A4 printer paper), cotton pads/tissues and Q-tips.