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How to draw a zebra's head. Step-by-step drawing tutorial.

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

This zebra drawing is an example of an image of the contrast between black and white. It is important in this case not to flatten the image of the zebra's head as it is often difficult to convey depth in such drawings.

How to draw a zebra's head. Step-by-step drawing tutorial.

Step 1. Outline the shape and position of the zebra's head.

Carefully draw with the HB pencil the shapes that make up the zebra's head - the forehead, the sides of the head, and other anatomical features, using straight lines as much as possible. Add auxiliary lines to properly position the ears, eyes, and nostrils.

The simplification of the basic shapes, resembling rectangular blocks, will ultimately determine the shades of black stripes on the skin.

How to draw a zebra's head. Step-by-step drawing tutorial. Step 1.  Outline the shape and position of the zebra's head.

Step 2. Soften the auxiliary lines to bring our drawing closer to reality.

Using the auxiliary lines carefully go over the straight lines of the shapes, transforming them into light and precise outer contours. Soften the rectangles and cylinders that make up the head. This will be our roadmap for shading the shapes.

How to draw a zebra's head. Step-by-step drawing tutorial. Step 2. Soften the auxiliary lines to bring our drawing closer to reality.

Step 3. Draw additional contours on the zebra's head.

Draw additional contours to clearly understand which planes and volumes will be light, medium, or dark. Some people prefer to skip this step and it is OK if you have drawn horses' heads in the past. However, this step is great to visualize the different surfaces and angles. Once you imagine the source of light in your drawing, these auxiliary lines will help correctly shade each surface. Having completely dealt with these contours, decide where to place the shaping dark areas.

How to draw a zebra's head. Step-by-step drawing tutorial. Step 3. Draw additional contours on the zebra's head.

Step 4. Draw the contours of the black zebra stripes. Shade the zebra's head.

Before shading, draw the contours of the black stripes on the skin. Then, lightly shade the surfaces that were laid out in the previous steps.

How to draw a zebra's head. Step-by-step drawing tutorial. Step 4. Draw the contours of the black zebra stripes. Shade the zebra's head.

Step 5. Reflecting the transmission of hue change.

Study the lines, contours, and arrows in this drawing. A bright light source brightens dark stripes that are hit by direct light, the same stripes become darker when they are further away from the light due to bending. Also, notice how the reflected light brightens the underside of the head. By capturing these changes in hue, you can accurately convey the basic shape of your subject.

How to draw a zebra's head. Step-by-step drawing tutorial. Step 5. Reflecting the transmission of hue change.

Step 6. Complete the zebra head drawing.

Correctly put the changing shades of black in the stripes to show a structure that was previously only outlined by the contour lines. Artists refer to this principle as "local shadow": as light and shadow hit the shapes and the black stripes overlapping them, the black stripes appear lighter or darker, depending on this. This successive change in tone shows form and volume.

To further add volume to our drawing add a darker background.

How to draw a zebra's head. Step-by-step drawing tutorial. Step 6. Complete the zebra head drawing.

Source: 'Understanding Values (Drawing Made Easy)' by Ken Goldman

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