How to Draw Dolphins in 9 Easy Steps

how to draw dolphins


Dolphins are super cute, very loved creatures for a number of reasons, including their graceful shape and their intelligence. If you like dolphins, there’s a good chance that some time or another, you have wanted to sketch one – but they are not easy to draw by any means!

We’ve put together some tips on how to draw dolphins to help you out.

You Will Need:

  • A pencil and pencil sharpener
  • One sheet of plain paper
  • An eraser
  • A ruler

Step 1: Divide Your Paper Up Into Four Sections

Grab your ruler and find the center of the paper. Put a mark there, and then use it to draw a faint horizontal line and a faint vertical line. You have now got some guides that will help you with the size and angle of the dolphin.

You don’t have to use guidelines if you would rather not, but they are very helpful and can easily be erased when you have finished the drawing.

Step 2: Draw The Dolphin’s Back

Put your pencil on your horizontal line, in the middle of the left-hand side of the paper. You are then going to draw a smooth curve across to the same point on the right-hand side of the paper.

This should give you a simple line for the dolphin’s back, with the highest point of the curve being in the center of the paper, a little over three-quarters of the way up the page. You can always erase and make adjustments if it takes a few tries to get this right.

Step 3: Draw The Lower Curve

Next, let’s add the dolphin’s lower half. This is going to echo the shape you have just drawn, but it will narrow at the right-hand side to make the tail, which is much thinner than the rest of the dolphin’s body.

Put your pencil approximately level with the left-hand point where your first curve started, and draw a similar, slightly flatter curve. This should come to its peak at your horizontal line, around the midpoint of the paper, and then start to pull toward the first curve to make a narrow point for the tail.

Step 4: Draw The Head And Nose

You should now have a basic body shape. Make some adjustments if you aren’t happy with it, but don’t worry too much; you can always go back to it once you’ve filled in some of the other parts.

The nose can be a bit tricky. You should put the tip of your pencil against the left-hand edge of the upper curve you drew, and continue that curve down a short distance to form the dolphin’s forehead.

Next, curve your line outward a little way to create a long, thin nose, and then sweep around and join this onto your lower curve in a smooth line. Dolphins don’t really have a defined neck, so this line can be pretty much continuous and doesn’t need any creases or other definitions.

Step 5: Add The Tail

The tail is also quite hard to draw and may take several attempts. Try drawing one half first, and then copy it on the other side.

Put your pencil tip at the end of your lower curve, and start to draw a sweep that goes back toward the center of the paper, widening the dolphin’s tail. 

This should then curve around to form a “u” shape at the bottom, before flattening out into a wide curve that leads to approximately the mid-way point between the dolphin’s back and belly lines.

This is the first half of the tail. Have a look at some dolphin tails online if you are struggling to capture the exact shape you want.

Draw the other half in roughly the same way. It can afford to be at a slightly different angle or even slightly wider or shorter, as this will just look like the variety of perspectives, so don’t worry about getting it perfect.

Step 6: Add Fins

Your dolphin needs fins, so go back to the center of your paper. Using the central cross as an approximate guide, sketch a fin in place. This should point back toward the dolphin’s tail and should have a flat curve at the top, overlapping with the dolphin’s stomach – since the fin attaches to the side of the body.

Once you are happy with your first fin, draw a second one a little further forward, this time stopping at the line of the dolphin’s belly, as this is behind the dolphin’s body. You may want to make this fin a little shorter.

Step 7: Add The Dorsal Fin

At the top of the dolphin’s body, place the tip of your pencil on your vertical axis. Draw backward from this point, sketching a cute, rounded fin that is a little bigger than the flippers you have already added.

Step 8: Draw The Face

Your dolphin still needs a face, so pencil in a small, round eye about halfway between the belly and back arcs, and then draw a long line on the lower half of your dolphin’s nose. You can make it smile by adding a curve at the top of this.

Dolphins often have paler undersides, so you may also want to sketch a line along the dolphin’s belly to indicate this.

Step 9: Erase And Add Final Details

Erase any lines you are unhappy with, including your guidelines; you’ve finished with those. You can add waves, other fish, or make your dolphin look like it’s leaping out of the water by including a surface line and some little water droplets.


You’ve now got a beautiful and cute dolphin swimming through the sea or leaping through the air. You can use this basic design to add a whole pod of dolphins, scaling up or down, and you can also color or ink your dolphins to give them a finished feeling.

Keep practicing, using photographs as references as well as this guide, to improve your dolphin’s shape, and make sure you take pride in your efforts. Dolphins aren’t easy to draw, so don’t be displeased if you don’t get it right the first time; just keep trying!

Written by Joanne Gonzales

Joanne Gonzales has a passion for getting creative. Whether she is making personalized DIY gifts or taking part in larger arts and crafts projects, she puts her all into making new and beautiful things.

She lives with a group of close friends and believes in the natural way of life. Joanne has built an outdoor arts and crafts gallery that overlooks the countryside in her hometown, which is where all of her creations come to life.

Art started off as a hobby, but over time Joanne has mastered her skills and sold some of her favorite pieces. She works full time as a florist and has done for many years. It helps keep her creative juices flowing and she hopes to one day open her own florist shop with a twist.


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