Prickly Perfection: 15 Beautiful Cactus Drawing Ideas + Easy Tutorials

by John Griffith

Cacti have captivated me with their beauty for years now. So, it’s not surprising that I ended up with a small army of cacti on my windowsill. I simply love to marvel at their Stoic beauty. Each cactus, from the small pincushion to the towering saguaro, has its charm. And since I’m trying to get back into drawing, and I’ve been looking for inspiration, I thought, “Why not draw some of my little prickly plant friends?”  If you are also in need of some inspo, or you want to learn how to draw a cactus, then you are in the right place! Today, I’ll share with you some amazing cactus drawing ideas and easy to follow tutorials.

Transform your green friends into art

Amazing Cactus Drawing Ideas

When it comes to the realm of botanical art, this prickly plant stands out thanks to its paradoxical blend of simplicity and complexity. These plants are a part of the family Cactaceae and are famous for their unique ability to thrive in harsh environments. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, so there is a cactus for every taste. Fun fact: According to The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, a leading authority on desert flora, cacti have no problem preforming photosynthesis through their green stems. This compensates for the lack of leaves. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, notes that the cactus have become super popular in horticulture and indoor gardening thanks to their striking appearance and low maintenance needs. All of these things make the cactus plant absolutely unique! These plants deserve a lot of love, so let’s show them some by drawing them.

Jump into a world where each spine tells a story

Dancing cacti

These cacti sway to a rhythm only they can hear. This drawing encourages you to unleash your inner artist and bend these desert plants in fun, dynamic poses. Full of vibrant colors, this drawing captures the essence of movement within a drawing. These cacti come alive on the paper.

These cacti will dance off the page

Realistic cactus

The challenge of realism is one that many artists strive to conquer. This digital drawing captures the cactus’ texture perfectly. Here the focus is on the details that make a cactus unique: the sharp spikes, the stunning gradients of green, and the rugged beauty of its form.

Dive into detail

Under the moon

This drawing presents us with a magical scene. Here, various cacti stand in full beauty under a full golden moon. The contrast of the bright moon against the intricate outlines of the cacti creates a scene that is mesmerizing. This drawing is both serene and dramatic.

Sketch a serene desert night, where cacti whisper under a golden moon

Indoor garden

Cacti are a big part of many indoor gardens. This drawing beautifully captures a mini home garden with an adorable cactus in a pot, a succulent, and a little vase. It’s a cozy yet vibrant scene that makes me romanticize the little prickly plants I have at home.

Cozy up with your indoor oasis

Watercolor design

If you like playing around with watercolors, then this drawing is the perfect inspo for you. Watercolors and cacti are a match made in heaven! The fluidity of this paint style manages to perfectly capture the subtle variations of a cactus’ color. Here, golden flowers add some contrast to the green cactus.

Paint cacti that are as vibrant as life itself

Desert view

This is a minimalistic interpretation of a beautiful desert view. A simple, yet captivating drawing. The focus here is mainly on simplicity and elegance. Each line helps to tell the story of this little piece of desert life.

Simplify to amplify


Nature will thrive no matter what. This is exactly what is depicted in this cool drawing. Here, a cactus is growing from a skull under the moon. It speaks of life emerging from death, of resilience, and of beauty in unexpected places.

Sketch a story of resilience and unexpected beauty

Retro cactus

Channel the past with a retro-inspired watercolor drawing of a cactus. Think of muted reds and greens, creating a piece that feels both nostalgic and fresh. This drawing captures the essences of the cactus but with a cool nod to the past.

Mix past hues and cactus cues for a throwback that feels fresh

Peculiar pot

Who said a cactus can’t grow in something unconventional? This beautiful cactus growing in a paper bag is the perfect example. This concept plays with the unexpected, encouraging you to think outside the pot. The drawing is made with markers, which helps create a vibrant mix of contrasts and textures.

Creativity knows no pot limits

Cuteness overload

We love a cute cactus! This cheerful little guy puts a cartoon twist on this prickly plant. This idea adds a touch of whimsy and personality to your art, transforming the cactus into a character of its own. Look, he is waving at us!

Draw a cactus so cute, it’ll wave right back at you

Best friends

Each cactus has its own unique set of features which make it beautiful. Some are tall, some are small. Some are hairy, some are spiky. But they all manage to live together in harmony. This colorful assembly of funky pots celebrates diversity and friendship between these different cacti.

Celebrate cacti diversity with these cute plants


Ouch! This beautiful drawing of an extremely spiky cactus beautifully emphasizes the texture and detail of the plant. This idea challenges you to delve into the intricate beauty of the cactus’ most defining feature: its spikes.

The beauty of a cactus lies in its prickly details

How To Draw a Cactus

Drawing your very own cactus is a super fun project. Since cacti come in a variety of shapes and sizes, you have the great opportunity to explore different forms and textures. This makes cacti an amazing plant to draw for both seasoned artists and beginners. Once you’ve got the basics down, you can start experimenting and adding on to your cacti. For example, you can add flowers, a pot, or more detailed spikes. There are many ways to improve or enhance your drawing, as well as your skills. Today, I will share with you some of my favorite simple tutorials when it comes to drawing a cactus. So, grab a pencil and let’s start drawing.

Grab your tools and let the desert muse guide your hand

Cactus Plant Drawing For Beginners

Drawing a cactus can be a fun and creative activity. No matter if you are drawing a prickly pear with its distinctive pads or the towering Saguaro with its arms reaching skyward. Today, I will take you through every step of this simple guide from artist @AmilDraws, so you can see how to draw a cactus in no time.

Step 1: Sketch the Main Body

Start by drawing the central part of the cactus. It should be slightly rounded and wider at the top. This shape is similar to the pads of a prickly pear cactus or a Saguaro cactus. This will form the foundation of your cactus.


how to draw a cactus start shaping the cactus


Step 2: Add the Arms

Next, you need to add a small arm on each side of the cactus. Make sure you position one arm just a tiny bit higher than the other. This will help to create a natural, asymmetrical look to the plant. The arms should gently curve upwards. This curve is classic for a Saguaro cactus.

Step 3: Draw the Top of the Pot

Directly beneath your cactus, sketch the top of the pot. Imagine the pot is hugging the base of the cactus snugly. Draw a curved line that mirrors the base of your cactus but extends slightly on both sides to indicate the rim of the pot.

Step 4: Sketch the Lower Part of the Pot

After you draw the top part of the pot, it’s time to draw the rest of it. From the edges of the top part you just drew, extend lines downward to from the sides of the pot. You can change the shape of the pot depending on what you prefer. But a simple rounded or slightly tapered bottom works well. Finally, connect these lines with a curved line at the bottom. This will complete the pot.

Step 5: Add Texture to the Cactus

Now it’s time to turn your attention to the plant once again. Add lines to both the central part and the arms of the cactus. The vertical lines should be running down its length, as it will give the plant a ribbed texture. Make sure to keep the lines light and spaced out for a subtle effect.

Step 6: Draw the Spikes

No cactus is complete without its iconic spikes. So, it’s time to give your cacti some spikes. Draw small rectangles or tiny pointy triangles along the edges of the lines you just drew, as well as on the edges of the cactus. Scatter these spikes across the body of your cactus. Make sure the placement and angle vary for a more natural look.

Step 7: Color Your Cactus

Once you’re satisfied with your sketch, it’s time to add color. Choose shades of green for the cactus body, adding lighter greens or yellows to the edges for a sun-kissed effect. The pot can be any color you like – terracotta oranges, deep blues, or even patterned designs can add character. For the spikes, use light yellows or whites.

Easy Cactus Drawing

The Saguaro cactus is known for its tall, tree-like structure and iconic arms. It is an emblematic symbol of the American Southwest that not only captivates the eye but also ignites the imagination. Its distinct shape offers a blend of simplicity and complexity that is both accessible to beginners and challenging for advanced artists. This makes it a cool and easy project to try out! Simply follow these steps from Azz Easy Drawing to create your own Saguaro cactus illustration.

easy cactus drawing cactus base


Step 1: Sketch the Base

Start by drawing the base of your cactus. Imagine a tall, slightly curved cylinder. This will be the main body of your Saguaro. The top of this shape should curve gently, mimicking the natural growth of the cactus.

Step 2: Add the Arms

Now, let’s give your cactus some character by adding arms. Saguaros are famous for their arms that can grow in various directions. Draw several arms at different heights along the sides of the main body. Remember, no two Saguaro cacti are the same, so feel free to get creative with the number and positioning of the arms. You can even add smaller arms branching off the larger ones for a more detailed look.

Step 3: Outline with a Black Pen

Once you’re happy with your sketch, take a black pen, marker or fine liner and carefully trace over your pencil lines. This step will define the shape of your cactus and prepare it for further detailing. After outlining, you can gently erase any remaining pencil marks for a cleaner look.

Step 4: Add Lines for Texture

Next, add vertical lines along the body and arms of your cactus. These lines represent the ridges of the Saguaro and give it texture. The lines don’t have to be perfectly straight or evenly spaced. The slight variations will make your drawing more lifelike.

Step 5: Sketch in the Spikes

For the spikes, add small lines protruding from the ridges you just drew. Saguaros have clusters of spikes, so place these little lines close to each other. They can be short and simple dashes, spaced out along the vertical lines you’ve drawn for texture.

Step 6: Draw the Ground

To anchor your cactus, draw the ground around its base. This can be as simple as a curved line to represent the horizon or more detailed with rocks and desert plants to create a scene. The ground gives context to your Saguaro, showing it standing tall in its natural habitat. If you like, you can also color in

Drawing cacti is a great way to connect with nature and work on your drawing skills. Through this collection of cactus drawing ideas and tutorials, I hope to inspire both new and experienced artists to explore the beauty cacti offer. Whether you prefer to sketch, paint, or digitally create your prickly beauties, there are plenty of ways to express yourself. When drawing these beautiful plants, you are not just capturing their appearance, but you are rather interpreting their essence. So, have fun while you draw and don’t stop working on your art!

Let each thorn inspire you

John Griffith

John Griffith is a young, passionate journalist. Writing has been John’s hobby ever since he was a boy. He has worked in some of the UK’s most successful news portals over the course of his professional career but found his forever home at Archzine.