Whale Drawing: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide & Inspiring Ideas

by John Griffith

The ocean has always had a particular place in my heart. Its enormous, crashing waves have enchanted me ever since I was a young boy. However, its beauty isn’t the only thing that has captivated me about the sea. Its majestic inhabitants have also piqued my interest throughout the years, especially whales. And my interest in these gentle giants of the deep has inspired me to start sketching them. Capturing these magnificent creatures on paper is not only satisfying but also a delightful challenge for artists of all levels. If you want to learn how to draw a whale or need some whale drawing ideas for inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. So, come on, let’s get drawing!

Dive into the art of drawing whales with a splash of creativity

Understanding Whales: The Foundation of Your Art

Whales are some of the most majestic mammals in the marine world. These mammals belong to the Cetacea order. This order includes more than 80 species, ranging from the massive blue whale to the energetic humpback. Ocean inhabitants such as these can be found all around the world’s oceans. They thrive from the icy waters of the Arctic and Antarctic to the tropical seas. Dr. Sylvia Earle, a well-known marine biologist, often emphasizes the importance of understanding marine life. This understanding enhances our appreciation and depiction of it in various forms of expression, including art. Whales are some of the coolest stuff to draw due to their varied forms and sizes. Plus, you can portray movement and emotion through them.

Get your flippers on the basics of these majestic sea creatures

Inspiring Whale Drawing Ideas

Whales, with their dramatic forms and majestic beauty, offer endless inspiration for artists. But not only are the whales compelling subjects, but the environment in which they reside—the ocean—is just as beautiful to draw. The dramatic atmosphere of a stormy sea or the interplay of light and shadow below the water’s surface are both opportunities you can delve into. You can convey the immense beauty of the ocean and its creatures through any medium you like. Whether you prefer using watercolors, pens, or pencils, there are plenty of ways you can bring your masterpiece to life. Be creative, and let the artist within you shine. Here, I will share with you some wonderful whale drawing ideas for inspiration for your next project.

Explore the deep blue for artistic inspiration

Night swim

The tranquil beauty of watching black and white orcas swim smoothly through a deep blue ocean lit only by the moon and stars is sure to enchant you. In this breathtaking sight, the moonlight sea creates a captivating contrast with the serene elegance of these awe-inspiring creatures as they swim through the peaceful nighttime waves.

Sketch the serene dance of orcas under the moonlight

Sea garden

Marvel at a surreal underwater scene as pink flowers entwine with gray whales. This watercolor painting shows the graceful giants dancing in a graceful ballet, with flowery details that make you feel at one with nature as you look down into the ocean.

Paint a tranquil scene of whales among floral wonders

Golden touch

Keep an eye out for a solitary whale as it swims towards a golden half moon in the distance, through shimmering waters. A celestial moment of grace and awe is captured in this watercolor masterpiece, which merges the majesty of the whale with the otherworldly beauty of the moon.

Draw a whale chasing the shimmer of a golden moon

Colorful dream

A big whale and its little buddy swim above a colorful reef in this lively aquatic scene. Under the moonlight’s gentle glow, the picture comes to life, a beautiful tapestry of hues and forms that showcases the ocean’s diverse ecosystem in a magical dreamlike setting.

Illustrate a vibrant underwater spectacle with playful whales

Catching a wave

Watch in awe as an orca whale gracefully navigates the ocean’s waves, its striking black and white markings standing out against the perfectly circular wave pattern that encircles it. Captured in a moment of absolute harmony with the sea, this dynamic music honors the orca’s incredible agility and gracefulness.

Capture the elegance of an orca riding the ocean’s rhythm

Children’s book magic

Take a trip to a fantastical realm fit for a kid’s wildest dreams. An amiable whale decked up in vibrant flowers and a hint of pink graces this delightful painting, bringing to mind the carefree and wholesome tales featured in children’s books.

Create a whimsical whale fit for a fairy tale


As this humpback whale sways through the starry night sky, it will take you on a fantastical adventure. As the whale’s outline drifts serenely amid the stars in this otherworldly image, you can relax and marvel at the enormity of the sky while also losing track of time on land.

Let your art soar among the stars with a floating whale

How To Draw a Whale: A Simple Tutorial

Drawing animals is a super fun experience. Drawing an elephant, cat, or whale is a rewarding experience, especially when you break it down into simple, manageable steps. Here’s an easy, straightforward tutorial from Mister Brush to help you sketch a friendly whale:

Step 1: Start with the Head

Begin by drawing a wide ‘C’ shape on your paper. This will serve as the basic outline for your whale’s head. Make sure the curve is smooth and wide enough to represent the head’s large, rounded structure, typical of many whale species.

Step 2: Add the Fin

At the bottom of your ‘C’ shape, attach a small fin. This fin should be positioned roughly along the curve at the end. The fin adds detail to your whale and helps to balance the composition of your drawing.

Step 3: Draw the Eye and Smile

Inside the ‘C’ shape, closer to the top, draw a small circle for the eye. Within this circle, add a smaller, filled-in circle for the pupil to bring life to your whale. Just above the eye, sketch a slight arch to serve as the eyebrow, giving your whale a friendly expression. Below the eye and towards the open end of the ‘C’, draw a gentle upward curve to create a smiling mouth. This will give your whale a cheerful demeanor.

Step 4: Sketch the Body

Continuing from the ends of the ‘C’, extend two lines back to form the body. These lines should taper slightly towards each other as they extend backward, mirroring the natural tapering of a whale’s body. Ensure the body narrows as it goes towards the tail but remains substantial enough to reflect the whale’s massive size.

Step 5: Add the Tail

At the end of the narrowing body, sketch a forked tail with pointed tips. Make sure the tail is symmetrical and proportionate to the rest of the body. The tail is an essential feature of your whale, so take your time to get the shape and positioning right.

Step 6: Blowhole

On the top of the whale’s head, just behind the fin, draw a small oval for the blowhole. This detail is crucial for realism, as it’s a distinctive feature of whales. From the oval, extend a couple of curved lines upwards to represent water spouting out, adding an active and dynamic element to your drawing. Now that your drawing is complete, you can add color if you choose. Consider using various shades of blue and gray to reflect the natural coloring of many whales.

Whales are stunning creatures that deserve to be the subject of your art. I’ve had a blast experimenting with drawing these creatures, so I hope you do too. I hope you found this article useful. Now you can go grab your pencils and let your creative juices flow into your whale drawing. Never forget that with every stroke, you improve not only your abilities but also your bond with these gentle giants of the sea. I urge you to keep playing with various styles and mediums, to keep exploring your artistic side. Drawing is more than just creating shapes. It’s also about expressing your own viewpoint and enthusiasm. So, let the beauty of the ocean spur you on to unlimited creative expression. Have fun with your drawings!

Unleash your creativity and let the whales guide your artistic journey

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.