How to Draw a Realistic Owl Step by Step

How to Draw a Realistic Owl by pencil with this how-to video and step-by-step drawing instructions. Bird drawing for beginners and everyone.

How to Draw a Realistic Owl

Please see the drawing tutorial in the video below

  Claire Milligan Art

You can refer to the simple step-by-step drawing guide below

Step 1

Start by drawing two ellipses as shown.

Step 2

Now we can start sketching the Owl. Using the ellipses as a guide, add the details as shown. Remember that the elliptical guides will be removed at a later stage.

Step 3

Add more borders, again making sure to keep them bright and not dent the paper.

Step 4

Now that we have a good understanding of the Owl’s shape, we can start shading. As you work on each part of the drawing, erase the guides so that they are translucent and then start shading that area. Make sure you don’t delete all the guides at once, but only in the area you’re working with – the guides in the surrounding area will help you visualize the Owl’s shape. Use paper towels or tips to smooth out your shading.

Step 5

Now we can start adding details to the feathers. Create an oval outline around some shaded areas like I did to create separate feathers. Make sure you look at reference images when drawing yourself to help you draw a lifelike down jacket.

Step 6

Now we add less defined feathers to fill in some gaps on the wings. Shade the small oval halves with the pointed ends in rows, almost like scales, in the white space like I did.

Step 7

Now add darker details to add more contrast to the drawing. This also makes the feathers appear more three-dimensional. Again, if you are drawing from another reference picture, be sure to carefully note the position of the shadows to ensure that your drawing looks natural.

Step 8

Continue adding details. Make sure the fur doesn’t look too fine. Add scuffs to the feathers and plumage to make them look more realistic – but don’t put too much pressure, or you risk making an irreparable mistake.

Step 9

Owls have dense fur around the legs/down front of the chest. This requires a different technique for drawing fur – check out my tutorial on “How to Draw a Realistic Tiger” for fur drawing tips.

Drawing, sketching supplies and Painting you may need:

  1. Assorted Color Sharpie Permanent Markers
  2. Glitter metallic paint pens sparkle water-based marker pen
  3. White sharpie extra fine paint markers pack oil based
  4. mixed media sketchbook drawing pad
  5. Sharpie permanent markers ultimate cosmic color collection
  6. Crayons for kids and everyone
  7. Prismacolor premier colored pencils
  8. Watercolor pens for painting
  9. Acrylic colour set for painting
  10. Paper for drawing and Painting


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