A Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing an Adorable Owl – Draw Like a Pro!

  • By: Michael Smith
  • Date: September 12, 2023
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Today we will learn how to draw an owl. Owls are quite interesting creatures. They have an unusual color of feathers and big eyes – this fact should interest you as an artist. Let`s have a look at beautiful pictures of these birds and learn how to draw an owl.

Reference Owl Pictures

If you want to depict something beautiful and realistic, you should find an appropriate nature to avoid blunders. Let`s look at the photos like examples and get inspiration.

These photos show how beautiful the feathers of these birds are decorated by nature.
And here are the great drawings of owls:

Materials for Painting

In order to get a good sketch. It is enough to have a sheet of paper, graphite pencil, and a desire to paint. Your work will be more interesting if you use:

  • graphite pencils;
  • paper for sketches;
  • and add several strokes with colored pencils.

If you know how to use ink and pen, you can create a very beautiful drawing of an owl. Also, you can get a good effect if you color the patterns on feathers with a black felt pen.

How to Draw an Owl Step by Step

The big amount of owl`s feathers hide the structure features of this bird. The silhouette of an owl can be inscribed into quite simple shapes.

Let`s complicate our task a little bit, try to depict an owl at several angles, and learn how to paint its portrait, legs, wings, and feathers.

owls drawing in pencil

Direction Shape and Silhouette

You should start from the line, which will designate the direction of the bird`s body and its pose, and mark the silhouette with a simple geometric shape.

Do not neglect the line — it will help to create a symmetrical drawing of an owl and the bird`s body will keep the balance. Build the shape starting from the line.

After we have located the bird on a sheet of paper, we should improve the image a bit and make the silhouette and the parts of the body clearer. Let`s improve the shape of the head, wings, tail and add legs.


The main distinctive features of the owls in comparison with other species of birds are the big round eyes, small flat but sharp nib. To mark the eyes and a nib properly, you should draw a vertical line bisecting the head. Then mark the scopes for eyes with two horizontal lines.

The axes to place the eyes and beak
  • The eyes are very eloquent with big pupils. They are almost round and are located at quite a big distance from each other. Almost all the species of these birds have a distinctive halo of feathers around their eyes; they are marked with a beautiful pattern or color. Portraits of different owls
  • The hooked nib is slightly below the center of the eyes.  It is often hidden among the feathers and we can see only its tip. Actually, the nib is quite big and an owl can open it wide and swallow even the whole mouse.
  • Now we are coming over to the next stage of our lesson on how to paint an owl and are going to paint an owl`s head. The ears on the head are often painted — it is one more distinctive feature of these birds. There are the long sensitive feathers over the external ears. These feathery ears help to hear well and pinpoint the source of noise. Exceptionally keen hearing and sharp sight help this species of birds hunt at the night.
  • The neck is very short. It is not visible and it seems as if there is no neck at all. However, this part of the body is very movable. The owls can turn their heads by 180 degrees or more.


The claws and paws

It is quite easy to depict claws, especially if you are painting an owl sitting on a branch. Usually, we see only three front claws, the middle one is a bit bigger than the others. Actually, there are four claws — the one is protruded back and helps the bird catch and hold the take.

Wings and Tail

So let`s come over to the next stage of our lesson on how to draw a realistic owl and draw wings and tails.

how to draw an owl

The tail is very similar to a fan: all the feathers are of the same shape and size and are neatly colored. The wings do not have any special features except the beautiful patterns; there are the biggest and strongest feathers on the tips and the small – on the corpus.


Most often they are painted in brown and grey colors to match the color of the trees where they live. The white snowy owls live in the North surrounded by snow, the reddish barn owls – among the houses, and the grey-brown owls live in forests.

Regardless of species and habitats, the feathers of all the birds are painted with very beautiful and interesting patterned spots. It will be much easier to show these patterns if you manage to understand and follow the rhythm of the ornament.

Video tutorial – How to Draw a Cute Owl

All the above-mentioned explanations are shown in a short video-lesson on how to draw an owl step by step.

I hope you have liked this lesson on how to draw a simple owl and you have created good sketches of birds. If you have a desire to draw a painting of birds with oil, you can watch the following video-tutorials:

  • How to draw a peacock

Leave your comments and send photos of your works.

I wish you good luck and new successes in your creative work!


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