If you’re wondering how to draw a tiger then you came to the right place. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a complete beginner or an expert at drawing animals, this guide will show you how to draw a tiger and is suitable for all levels.
What you will learn in this guide
The tutorial starts with explaining how to draw guidlines for your tiger sketch. Once this is done you will add more details to each part of your tiger with particaluar attention to each part of the tiger’s body and the tiger’s face in particular.
If you would like to learn more about a particular step, you can easily jump to the section that is most helpful for you. Just use the interactive table below:
- A Quick Preview of All Steps
- How to Draw a Tiger Realistically
- Let’s Get Started: Draw The Guidelines for your Tiger Sketch
- How to Draw a Tiger’s Face
- How to Draw a Tiger’s Body
- Your Tiger Drawing is Complete
A quick preview of all steps
To start, we’ll take you through a preview of the entire process to show you the steps that you’ll be going through.
Take particular note of how the guidelines that you draw first lay the foundations for your drawing. Don’t worry – we’ll be taking you through each step in far more detail. It’s just useful at this stage to get a sense of how your drawing will gradually come to life.
How to Draw a Tiger Realistically
Before you begin your drawing, we’ve got a few top tips and tricks for you to use in your drawing. By using these techniques, you can ensure that your tiger drawing will look realistic as well:
- Look at the angle of the back, and think about this carefully. Your guidelines will help you here.
- Spend plenty of time on the eyes. Be precise with their size, shape and positioning, because this will help you to capture their intensity.
- Remember that the stripes aren’t just straight lines. Look at the example drawings in this tutorial, and see how these stripes curve around the tiger’s body. You should try to recreate this effect in your drawing.
Let’s Get Started: draw the guidelines for your Tiger Sketch
We will start our tiger drawing by creating the guidelines. In this first section, we will use guidelines to sketch the tiger’s body, face and features. Consider the shape and position of the tiger before you add in the details, because this will ensure that your drawing is as accurate as possible.
Step 1 – Draw a large oval
Start your tiger drawing by lightly sketching a large oval towards the right hand side of the page. The oval should be vertical (just as if you were sketching an upright egg).
It’s important that you try to get this shape as smooth as possible. So, don’t worry if you need to have a few attempts at it. Use the picture below as a guide to what sort of shape you should be aiming for.
This guideline will eventually become the tiger’s chest.
Step 2 – Draw a small circle
In the space on the left hand side of the page, draw a small circle next to the oval.
As with the previous step, you should try to make this circle as smooth and even as possible. However, don’t worry about trying to draw an absolutely perfect circle. This circle will be used as a guideline and this will help you sketch the tiger’s back later on in the tiger diagram.
Also, do not worry about whether or not these guidelines might make your final drawing look messy because they are only temporary. They are designed to help you when structuring the drawing and they will be erased in a later step.
Step 3 – Draw a thin oval
The next guideline to create is a long, thin oval. Position this oval in between the two other shapes that you drew in the first two steps.
The oval should be vertical, and the shape should reach a point at either end. The top point should be roughly in line with the smaller circle on the left.
This oval is designed to help you structure the shape of your tiger’s body and it will be used to guide your sketches later on.
Step 4 – Draw three lines
With these three guidelines, you will start to create the shape of your tiger’s body. These lines will connect the shapes that you have drawn, which will help you to see the beginning of the tiger’s body more clearly.
You should try to make the shape resemble the picture below but do not worry if these guidelines don’t look quite perfect yet. The main purpose of these lines is to help you get the shape and proportions right.
For the first line, draw a curved line which starts at the small circle on the left. Begin the line about one third of the way down the circle, on its left hand side. The line should curve down through the middle of the long middle oval and continue until it reaches the large oval. The line should finish in the space just below the oval’s top right hand corner.
Then move on to the second line, which will form the back of the tiger. Draw a line which starts from the curve of the small circle and moves to the right as shown in the picture below.
For the third guideline in this step, start at the centre of the bottom of the small circle. Draw a sweeping line around it in a similar way as illustrated below.
Step 5 – Draw two circles
At the base of the large oval, draw two small circles. These should be positioned on either side of the oval, with a slight overlap into the centre of the oval. There should also be a small gap in between the two small circles.
These circles will act as guidelines to form the top of the tiger’s legs. Don’t worry about these guidelines affecting the end result of your drawing, because just like the other guidelines they will be erased in the final step of this tutorial.
To give you an idea of how large these circles should be, have a look at the two images below.
Step 6 – Draw the connection between the chest and the upper leg’s socket
Connect the large oval to the small circle on the right by adding a gentle curved line as shown in the picture below. It connects the tiger’s chest to it’s upper leg’s socket.
Step 7 – Sketch guidelines for the legs
The guidelines in this step will help you to get the right shape and positioning of your tiger. They need to be accurate, so we would definitely recommend that you use a ruler for these lines.
The first line starts at the centre of the thin long oval. From that point, draw a long, straight line through the oval and into the space beneath the bottom of the body. This should be quite a long line, as it will be used to create the tiger’s front left leg.
Next, draw a horizontal line towards the left starting from the bottom of your vertical line. The lengh of your horizontal line should be about half the length of the vertical line.
Now we will do something similar for the front legs (on the right side of your drawing). Draw a line that goes through the right oval and passes through the left hand side of the right small circle. The line should go through the point where the right small circle intersects with the tiger’s torso. Continue this line until it reaches the same point as the guidlines for the left leg.
Now add two horizontal lines. The first line should be positioned at the same point as the horizontal line at the bottom of the last vertical line. The second line should be slightly longer, and be positioned underneath the other horizontal line.
If you would like a bit of guidance on how these lines should look, check out the image below.
Step 8 – Draw lines for the front legs
Now, it’s time to create the lines which will represent the shape of the legs. Each of these composition lines have a slight slope, a flat line at the bottom (where the paw will go later) and a small kink in the middle.
We will start by drawing the tiger’s left front leg. Start at the top of the small left circle (where the leg socket is positioned), and then lightly sketch a line going down.
Just below the bottom of the small circle, draw a small loop. This kink in the line will provide the leg with a more realistic shape. Continue the line going downwards, until it reaches the bottom line of the guidelines (which you drew in the last step). Finally, add a rough couple of lines to represent the foot.
For the second leg line repeat the same process, but as a mirror image of the other front leg. So, this line will start in the right small circle, and continue downwards. Take note, you should draw the foot for the right front leg at the higher line on the guidelines from the last step.
Consult the image below if you’re not sure how this should look.
Step 9 – Draw lines for the back legs
For the back legs, we will start with the right leg. Start the line just below the left hand circle on the tiger’s body. Lightly sketch a leg shape that curves down, then add a loop about three quarters on the way down (this represents the tiger’s knee). Finally draw the foot slightly above the horizontal guideline that you drew in one of the previous steps.
Now, we’ll draw the back left leg. Repeat the same process as above, but in this case start the line lower down, at a point which runs parallel to the bottom of the tiger’s stomach.
This leg will be shorter in order to create a sense of perspective, given this leg would be the furthest away from the viewer.
Step 10 – Draw a line for the tiger’s tail
The next guideline to draw is the one for the tiger’s tail.
Start this line just above the halfway point of the left circle that makes up the tiger’s back. It should curve alongside this circle, so that it looks as if it is a natural continuation of the tiger’s body.
Make sure that you delicately sketch this line, and add a little curl at the end.
Step 11 – Draw a circle for the tiger’s head
Next we draw a circle that marks the position for the tiger’s head.
Position this circle so that the lower half overlaps the guidelines that you have drawn for the tiger’s chest. The head should be roughly the same width as the large oval that you drew earlier on.
Try to ensure that this circle is drawn as smoothly and as equally proportioned as possible. Don’t worry if this takes a few attempts.
Check your drawing against the image below, to check if the proportions of your tiger are roughly correct.
Step 12 – Draw the knees
Now, we will draw the outline for the tiger’s knees. Do this by adding a small circle on top of the kink that you drew in each of the legs. Then, draw a rough rectangle underneath this circle, which extends downwards until it is just above the tiger’s feet.
It is important for you to remember that there is no need to worry about these guidelines impacting the end result. They are only designed to be rough (but very useful) guidelines.
If you’re not sure how these knee guidelines should look, have a look at the image below.
Step 13 – Finish the lines for the legs
Connect the guidelines which represent the tiger’s legs to the torso. Do this by sketching slightly curved lines.
If you’d like a bit of extra guidance, have a look at our the drawing below.
Step 14 – Draw outlines for the paws
In this step we will be looking at sketching the tiger’s paws.
Roughly sketch these paws as illustrated in the picture below. Use the horizontal lines to help with their positioning.
Now add toes to each paw, and think about how they would be positioned on the ground if you were looking at a real tiger.
Step 15 – Draw four circles on the tail
Now, we’ll add a bit more detail to the tail.
We will do this by drawing four small circles at different points along the tail line. One of these should be at the very start of the tail, at the base of the tiger’s spine. The other three circles should be positioned toward the end of the tail, with a small gap in between each of them.
Here as well, these are only guidelines, and they will be erased before you finish your drawing.
Step 16 – Draw lines for the back and stomach
In this step, we will draw three lines to create the back and stomach. These lines should be curved and shaped by considering the guidelines that you have put in place in the previous steps.
For the first line, you should draw a line that extends from the small circle at the top of the tiger’s tail. Then, carry this along the tiger’s back, until it reaches the start of the tiger’s head.
Then move on to the tiger’s stomach. Draw a curved line from the tiger’s back left leg, and carry this along the underneath of the tiger’s torso. This line should finish at the right front leg. To finish this step, add a small curved line from the tiger’s back leg, up to the previous line that you have just drawn, as illustrated below.
Step 17 – Draw a line for the face
Draw a straight line that goes through the middle of the circle that you have used to position the tiger’s head.
Step 18 – Draw lines for the eyes, ears and nose
Continue constructing your guidelines for the tiger’s face by marking lines where the eyes, ears and nose will go.
To do this we draw six horizontal lines. These will mark the top and bottom of the eyes, nose and mouth. See the drawing below to get a better sense of the positioning of these guidelines, and the distancing between them.
Then, draw a straight line at the very top of the circle which represents the tiger’s head. This will help you to position the ears further down this tutorial.
Step 19 – Add an outline for the tiger’s face
To complete the guidelines for your tiger’s face, you need to draw a hexagon within the circle that you drew previously.
Draw a hexagon that starts from the top guideline (which you drew in the previous step). This should connect to two points at either side of the circle (this is where the ears will be), then reach to the bottom of the circle, with a line drawn at the bottom of the hexagon to mark the tiger’s chin.
How to Draw a Tiger’s Face
Now we will focus on drawing the tiger’s face. We will do this in different steps:
Step 1 – Draw the ears
We will start this process by sketching the ears. These should start at either end of the top line of the hexagon.
The ears should have a bit more curve than simple semi-circles, please have a look at the example below.
Step 2 – Draw the outline of the tiger’s head
The next step is to sketch the outline of the head. You will need to draw two lines from the bottom of the tiger’s ears, down to the two outermost points of the hexagon guideline in the face.
These two lines should follow the curve of the curved guideline that you drew earlier, as illustrated below.
Step 3 – Draw the lower half of the mouth
In the next few steps, we will be focusing on the tiger’s mouth.
Firstly, you will need to draw a curved line at the bottom of the hexagon. This will form the bottom of the tiger’s mouth. This curved line should be the same width as the line at the bottom of the hexagon. It should curve slightly at either end, to form a realistic shape for the tiger’s lower jaw.
Step 4 – Finish the details of the nose and mouth
In this step, we will add details to the top half of the nose and the mouth. First, draw a horizontal oval in the lower half of the hexagon. You should position this oval so that the three lower lines on the tiger’s face are included in the middle of it.
Consult the image below if you’re uncertain of any of these points.
Then, we will be starting out on the tiger’s nose. This will be positioned within the middle of the oval that you have just drawn. Use the first and second guideline within the oval that you have just drawn.
Draw the nose by sketching a crescent shape in between these two lines. Start the nose at the left end of the top line, carry it down in a steep curve, and then finish up at the other end of the top line.
Draw a second curve to finish the crescent. This top line should start where the other curve started, and finish at the same point. It will be a less steep curve, but there should still be a slight gap between the top guideline and the top of the nose.
If you need, you can use the image below to help you with the shape of the nose.
Step 5 – Add more details to the eyes
In this step we will bring more structure to the tiger’s face. Firstly, lightly draw two curved guidelines above either end of the nose, which carry up through the top horizontal lines above. Each of these lines should have a gentle curve, so that they are slightly angling away from each other.
These lines will be used to help you position the tiger’s eyes.
Then, draw two small circles. Each circle should be placed at the very top of the guidelines that you have just drawn, and be sat on the top horizontal guideline in the tiger’s face.
Now, we can draw the eyes themselves. To help guide your drawing, use the gap between the two horizontal guidelines. Then, use the curve of the guidelines coming from the nose to help you determine the angle of each eye.
Step 6 – Draw the nose and mouth
Up until now we have focused on the guidelines and general structural of our tiger. In this step, we will start to focus on drawing the details, starting with the tiger’s nose.
Use the crescent shaped guideline, which you drew previously, to help you with this step.
The nose should be a similar shape, but with a slight indent for the nostrils. Now add two small curved lines inside the nose, which run parallel to the indent that you have created, as illustrated below.
Now we will draw a curved line to represent the tiger’s mouth. Please do this in a similar way than in the illustration below. Sketch a line that goes down below the central oval, form a point, and then create one smooth curve to bring the line back up to the oval. Continue the line to create the other side of the mouth, by drawing a mirror image of the left half of the mouth.
Then, add a small indent into the oval that you have drawn to represent the tiger’s upper jaw.
Add some light dots to the lower part of the oval that represents the tiger’s upper jaw. This is where the whiskers will be drawn.
Step 7 – Draw fur around the ears
In this step we will be adding softness to the tiger’s face, and sketching fur along the face and ears.
Firstly, we will finalize the tiger’s ears and the top of the head. Do this by drawing soft fur marks along the outside of the ears and along the base of the ears. Make sure you draw fur of a variety of different lengths to make it look realistic. Try not to keep the fur around the ears as one straight line – instead, the outline of the ear should be made up with delicate fur markings.
Now add short fur across the top of the tiger’s head, as illustrated below.
Next, we will continue using the same practice of sketching fur to create an outline for your tiger’ face.
Next, we’ll be adding fur to the lower section of the tiger’s face. Use the hexagon guideline to help you decide where to draw this fur.
Then, sketch some fur along the tiger’s mouth.
Finish the tiger’s mouth by adding shades to the inside of the tiger’s mouth. Shade the area in between the mouth line and the circle that you have drawn for the tiger’s nose. In your shading, create a slight indent into the circle, along the central line of the face.
For the final part of this step, add some fur to the top of the tiger’s mouth. Do this by sketching some fur lines along the outside of the circle guideline.
Start at a point slightly further down from the nose and eye guidelines, then continue drawing fur along the mouth until you reach the same point on the opposite side of the face.
Step 8 – Finish the eyes and nose
Start by adding more details to the nose. Try to create deep nostrils with a curved shape as illustrated below.
Then, add details to the eyes as illustrated below
At this stage, you can also add some small stripes around the eye.
Once you have completed the smaller stripes around the tiger’s eyes, you can move on to the rest of the stripes on the face.
Step 9 – Finish the tiger’s face
In this step, we will be adding the finishing touches to the tiger’s face.
The stripes at the top of the head are short and spread from the central vertical guideline that you have drawn.
The stripes on the side of the face are curved, longer and should act as semi circles rippling outward from the eyes and mouth. However, these should not be single continuous lines – they are broken up into smaller lines and points of varying thickness. See the image below for reference.
Then, we can add the whiskers. Starting from the little dots that you drew earlier, add long sweeping lines that curve downwards. Each whisker should be unique – they’re not all straight lines of exactly the same length and thickness. So, as you draw these whiskers, be mindful of how they would look in real life.
Finally, complete your tiger face drawing by lightly sketching soft spots of fur onto the tiger’s face.
Now that we finished the tiger’s face we can move our attention to the tiger’s body.
How to Draw a Tiger’s Body
Step 1 – Draw fur on the tiger’s back
In this section, we will be focusing on the tiger’s body.
Start by lightly sketching fur along the back of the tiger. This line of fur should continue along from the left of the tiger’s face until it reaches the curve of the tiger’s tail.
Step 2 – Draw the tail
For the tiger’s tail, continue along the same line of fur that you started in the previous step.
As with the step above, ensure that you don’t just draw one straight line. Outline the tail with little spots of fur, to create a soft effect.
Step 3 – Draw the back legs
Use the guidelines that you have created in previous steps to draw the tiger’s back legs.
Start with the left back leg. Draw soft fur at the very top of the leg, and then gradually transition this into a single line, following the guideline of the leg. Curve this line around the tiger’s knee joint and stop just above the foot.
Next, move on to the right back leg and repeat the same process as above. Don’t forget to draw the upper part of the leg, which you can just see from behind the other leg, as illustrated below.
Step 4 – Draw the stomach
For the stomach, we will be using the same technique of sketching soft fur lines that we have used above.
Follow the guidelines that you have drawn for the stomach, and add spots of fur until you reach the front left leg. Now add a few lines of fur to the area of the stomach that you can see in between the tiger’s two front legs.
Step 5 – Draw the front legs
Now, we will be drawing the tiger’s front legs.
Start with the right leg. The line should begin at a point half way down the right oval that you used as a guideline for the body. This line will continue down, following the guidelines that you have drawn previously, until you reach the foot.
For the inner part of the leg, add some spots of fur to the top of the line.
The left leg requires a very similar process. As with the other leg, add some spots of fur to the top part of the inner side of the leg.
Then, follow the guidelines down until you reach the foot.
Step 6 – Add fur to the chest
In this step, we’ll be adding details to the tiger’s chest.
Begin by completing the line on the right of the chest, by continuing the line above the right leg. This line should be made up of light spots of fur.
Then, add a couple of stripes that start at the right of the tiger’s neck and extend downwards into its chest.
Now lightly draw curved patches of fur that extend in ripples from the chin. Leave a gap between each line of fur and continue until you reach the top of the legs. As in previous steps, don’t be afraid to draw the fur with different lengths and thickness, as this will make your drawing look more realistic.
Step 7 – Draw the paws
Now, we will show you how to draw the details of the paws and we will start by drawing the two front paws. Follow the guidelines that you’ve created already. Add in shading between the toes to make the feet look even more lifelike.
Add extra spots of fur to the front legs as well.
Follow the same process for the back paws.
Step 8 – Add the final details
This is the point where your tiger really comes to life. In this final step we will be adding the tiger stripes. As we add the stripes, we will start by drawing the thinner stripes on the tiger’s body. These should extend across the tiger’s back and onto its legs.
Each stripe should curve along the shape of the tiger’s body. The stripes should be slightly wavy and all have their own distinct shape as illustrated below.
Notice how each stripe starts as a thin point and gradually gets thicker. It then returns to a thin point at the end of the stripe.
Now, we will be moving on to the thicker stripes as illustrated below. You can achieve this effect by using a similar technique as the one we used for the smaller stripes.
The key difference here is that you will be using a heavier layer of shading (rather than thin neat lines) to draw this next layer of stripes.
To finish this step, add some little spots of fur across the tiger’s chest, legs, tail and body. You can do this by lightly sketching little lines in between the stripes, at different points across your tiger.
Step 9 – Erase the guidelines
Now we can erase the guidelines by carefully rubbing out the structural lines and shapes in our drawing.
Finally, take one last look over your drawing, to check whether any finishing touches need to be made.
Your Tiger Drawing is Complete!
Congratulations! You’ve just drawn a stunning jungle tiger.
That’s the end of this step-by-step tiger drawing guide. We hope you enjoyed drawing your tiger as much as we did. If you want to draw more beautiful animals then you might want to check out our other drawing tutorials as well.