Learn how to draw a fish using just simple shapes - arcs, triangles and circles. Let's have some fun drawing a carp, mackerel, angelfish and puffer fish!
Our first fish is the classic shape made from two simple arcs. Adding scales will turn this fish into a cute carp!
For our second fish we only change the body shape, and instead of a lazy carp we have a speedy mackerel!
Next let’s draw a fish from triangles. Look! It turned out to be a terrific tropical triangular angelfish – a tri-angel fish, if you wish!
Finally we learn how to draw a fish from another simple shape – a circle. This one turned out to be also a sea dweller – a puffer fish. And what a very surprised one it is!
You will need: pencil, fineliner pen, colored pencils, eraser and drawing paper or sketchbook
These are the favorites we use for drawings on Let's Draw That that we love and recommend:
Disclaimer: LetsDrawThat.com participates in the Amazon Associates Program. If you purchase a product using a link on our website, we earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This is one way how you can support this website.
Love drawing? Never miss a tutorial!
How to draw a fish from two simple arcs
Our first fish is the classic shape made from two simple arcs. Here we learn how to draw the basic fish shape and add details which make the fish a fish: gills, fins and a tail.
Once we have the body drawn, we add extras such as scales – which will turn this fish into a cute carp!
How to draw a fish from two simple arcs: base sketch
Step 1: Sketch the fish body
Drawing a fish is easy. We will begin our drawing with two arches. They both start in the same spot. Then we draw one crossing the other. Just like this.
Look, we can already tell this is going to be a fish!
Step 2: Add head and fins
Now draw a curve, which will mark out the head – that is where the fish has gills.
Next let’s add the fins. A long one on the top – that is the dorsal fin. Then two fins on the belly. The larger front one goes over the body. The smaller back one sits on the edge of the body.
Finally, close the fish tail with another arc.
Step 3: Draw the eye and mouth
A few details and our fish drawing is complete: A little dot for an eye, and a sweet heart for a mouth.
Use the same simple shape to draw a shark:
How to Draw a Shark – One Simple and One Cartoon StyleLearn how to draw a shark. We draw two very different sharks – one simple with very realistic proportions, the other greatly exaggerated cartoon style.
How to draw a fish from two simple arcs: outline
Step 1: Trace the sketch
Now let’s trace our fish sketch.
Grab a soft pencil or a black colouring pencil and trace the drawing. We want a nice, thick line, so draw a bit harder with your pencil, so we can use an eraser to clean up the sketch lines later.
Step 2: Add scales and details
Let’s add a few more details. Draw lots of small half circles for scales – and our fish has become a carp!
Then few lines on the gills, to make them look better.
Another similar fish to draw:
How to Draw a Dolphin – A Simple Step-by-Step DrawingLearn how to draw a dolphin in a few easy steps. A simple way to draw a semi-realistic dolphin jumping out of water to breathe some fresh air.
How to draw a fish from two simple arcs: finished drawing
How to draw a fish from two simple arcs: finished outline drawing
Now it is time to grab your eraser and clean up the sketching.
Go lightly over the visible sketch lines and erase them. Do not worry if you happen to erase a bit of the outline – you can always draw it back!
Now you know how to draw a fish – and this one turned out to be a carp!
How to draw a fish from two simple arcs: finished drawing coloured-in
The final step is to colour in your fish.
We have decided that our carp will be green – some darker green for the body, and a lighter shade of green for the fins.
And for some fun, let’s paint that sweet heart mouth a pretty pink. And add some bubbles too! Because we can.
How to draw a different fish using the same style
Our second fish is drawn in the same way as the carp – only our initial arcs for the body will be flatter. That will make the body long and slim – and we can call this fish a mackerel! This shows you how changing the body shape will make your fish look very different – but the basic steps on how to draw a fish remain the same.
How to draw a different fish: base sketch
Step 1: Sketch the fish body
So let’s grab a pencil and get into it. We will start our drawing with two arches, similar to last time. Again they both start in the same spot, but this time we draw our lines only slightly curved. That way we get a thin, long body.
Just like before, crossing our lines one over the other creates the tail.
Step 2: Draw the fins
Even the second step is same as before:
Draw a curve, which will mark out the head. Do a dot for the eye.
Add the fins. One long dorsal fin on the top, and two fins on the belly, the larger one in the front and the smaller one in the back. This time we will draw both belly fins going over the body.
Do not forget to close the fish tail.
Draw another ocean dweller from similar shapes:
How to Draw a Whale – Cute and Cheeky Cartoon StyleLearn how to draw a whale in a few easy steps. Draw a nice cartoon-style whale with a cheeky smile and some real-life details for added interest.
How to draw a different fish: outline the drawing
Step 1: Outline the fish from sketch
Time to grab your soft pencil for the outline.
Start tracing the belly fins first. That way you will know where to split the line for the belly, so our fins look like they are on the top.
Then trace the rest of the fish and the top fin.
Step 2: Add more details
As you can see, we gave our mackerel a bit of a cartoon face, by drawing a simple nose and mouth and adding two dots for eyes.
Complete the drawing with a few lines in each fin for more detail and we are done.
Another awesome sea creature for you to draw:
How to Draw an Octopus – An Easy Octopus DrawingLearn how to draw an octopus. Step-by-step easy octopus drawing tutorial. Draw a semi-realistic-looking octopus from a simple oval and a few squiggly lines.
How to draw a different fish: finished drawing
How to draw a different fish: finished outline drawing
Time to clean up the sketch lines with an eraser and our mackerel is done!
How to draw a different fish: finished drawing coloured-in
Let’s colour it in – mackerels are silvery, with a bit of blue for the colour.
And since we gave our fish a friendly cartoon face, we can also give it a crazy blue head.
How to draw a fish from triangles
Next we learn how to draw a fish from another simple shape – triangles.
As you can see, the result is a tropical looking fish, very similar to an angelfish. Let’s call it a tri-angel fish!
How to draw a fish from triangles: base sketch
Step 1: Sketch the triangle body and tail
Let’s start our sketch with two triangles. The first, large one will be the body. The second small one will be the tail.
Place the tail triangle in the middle of the straight body line, slightly overlapping the body – same as in the picture.
Step 2: Draw the eyes and mouth
Next we will give our fish eyes and a mouth.
First we will draw an angled line to mark out our head. As you will see, we will not use it in the final drawing, but at this stage it helps us to place the eyes properly.
Staying with the triangle theme, let’s draw a triangle mouth at the pointy end of the body next.
Two triangle eyes sit on the upper side of the body, roughly half way up the head. (See how the head line is coming in handy?)
How to draw a fish from triangles: outline the drawing
Step 1: Draw the angelfish fish from the sketch
Now comes the fun part. Let’s draw the outline of our angelfish. Start with the mouth, followed by the inner eye. Next the line between the eye and mouth. Now you can add the second eye, which is partially hidden.
After that do the body. Start with the top and bottom straight line. Easy!
Now for the tricky part. As you can see, we have only used the sketch as a guideline. Draw a smooth curve from the top of the fin down and then turn tightly across into the tail curve. Same trick from the tip of the lower fin. Well done!
All that is left is to close the tail with another arc, so it has a nice pointy tips.
The final lines go from the tip of the top and bottom fins to the tail. These more or less follow our original triangle line, although we have bent them slightly as well.
Step 2: Add the stripes and detail
Time to make our tropical fish pretty!
I really liked the striped version of the angelfish. Look up “pterophyllum altum angelfish”, if you want to see what the real fish looks like.
Our version is simplified into a cartoon – so we can make the stripes look like a pretty hair. That is called an “artistic license” – when we are drawing, we can draw what we want.
Finally, add some texture lines to the fins and tail.
Ready for something more complex?
How to Draw a Seahorse With an Awesome Body PatternLearn how to draw a seahorse. A step by step tutorial to draw an awesome looking seahorse including easy to follow steps to draw the tricky body pattern!
How to draw a fish from triangles: finished drawing
How to draw a fish from triangles: finished outline drawing
And here is what our drawing looks like after we have cleaned up the sketch lines with an eraser.
A good looking tri-angle-angel fish, I say.
How to draw a fish from triangles: finished drawing coloured-in
Let’s colour in our fish.
Tropical fish can be very brightly coloured. So here I have painted mine a shiny yellow with pink fins.
What colour is yours going to be?
Oh, and did you notice? I have not coloured the body in completely. I have left a white patch in the middle. That way it looks like there is a light reflecting on our fish, so it is not looking flat. Nice simple trick, isn’t it?
How to draw a fish from circles
Now we know how to draw a fish the standard easy way and from triangles, let’s see if we can draw a fish out of another simple shape – a circle.
I think I know one fish that looks like a ball and can be drawn using circles. Let’s draw a puffed up puffer fish – and what a very surprised one this is!
How to draw a fish from circles: base sketch
Step 1: Sketch the circle for the body
Our starting sketch is very easy – just a one large circle.
This will be the body of our puffer fish.
Step 2: Add face and fins
Next we draw our fish a face. Let’s draw some more circles.
One for the mouth, with another small one a bit off center on the inside.
Two more above the mouth, for eyes. Draw them close together, even touching each other.
Then add two dots into the eyes – that will make your fish look somewhere. My fish is looking down – so I have drawn my dots on the bottom of the eyes.
Then add fins and a tail. These are the same simple two arc fins and a triangle tail we have used for our first fish drawing.
Step 3: Draw the spikes
When the puffer fish gets scared, it puffs up with lots of spikes sticking around to protect it. Let’s draw those spikes!
We draw a simple two sides of a triangle for a spike. And we want to draw about two circles full of spikes.
The trick is not to space the spikes too regularly along the circle. Draw some sticking a bit more out, and some tucked a bit more in.
Something like this.
How to draw a fish from circles: outline the drawing
Step 1: Start tracing the spikes and face
That is good enough for our sketch. Let’s take our thick pencil (or black colouring pencil) and draw the puffer fish properly.
First trace the eyes and mouth.
Then all the spikes you have drawn.
As you can see, I have not traced my spikes exactly from the sketch. Rather, I have tried to place them bit more random yet again.
That is still allowed! That is what the sketching and tracing is for!
Step 2: Draw the body and fins
Now we have all of our spikes drawn, let’s trace the outline of the body.
We trace only the parts between the spikes – that way they stick out properly.
Once we are done with the body, trace the fins and tail from the sketch.
Step 3: Add the final details
As usual, we can not skip adding the little details that make our drawing look that extra bit better.
So let’s add some texture lines to fins and tail.
And since this is a cartoon fish, let’s draw few arcs above the eyes. Now our puffer fish is really surprised with the way it puffed up!
Now for a different sea animal:
How to Draw a Turtle: Two Different WaysLearn how to draw a turtle. Start with a simple top view turtle and learn how to draw the turtle shell pattern. Next draw a nice sea turtle from an angle.
How to draw a fish from circles: finished drawing
How to draw a fish from circles: finished outline drawing
Our drawing is complete. Time to clean up and erase the sketch.
And now we know how to draw a fish from circles. What a surprised-looking puffer fish!
How to draw a fish from circles: finished drawing coloured-in
For the final step, you can colour your puffer fish.
Again, these come in many different colours, and I have decided to make mine a nice blue.
Do not forget the trick with not colouring the body entirely. If you leave out a round white patch, it will make our flat drawing pop into a puffed up ball. There! Done.