How to draw a seahorse with an awesome body pattern

Learn 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 seahorse: step-by-step drawing tutorial

Today we will learn how to draw a seahorse. Apart from that cheeky eye and a friendly small smile, this is a pretty realistic-looking seahorse. The trick to drawing an awesome looking seahorse is drawing out that rigid spiky pattern on the seahorse's body. We will show you an easy way to draw it, step by step - although some patience is required to draw the many little spikes!

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How to draw a seahorse: sketching step by step

Step 1: Sketch the head and spine

Let's start our seahorse drawing with the usual simple sketch. Draw a small oval - this will be the base shape for the head. Then draw an "S" curved line from the oval, kind of a question mark. Now we have a lively if a bit leaning seedling right there.

Step 2: Sketch the belly and the tail

Let's keep building the seahorse's body. Add a "C" curved belly. Notice where we have placed it - with the previous line it makes a nice bean shape.

Then extend the spine line down with a nice curved spiral - this will be the seahorse's tail. If the spiral is too hard for you, just draw any curved line. Seahorses expand and curl their tails to swim - so any shape is acceptably correct.

Step 3: Sketch the rest of the body

Complete the body with a short bend at the top to close the neck, joining the head to the belly. Then draw the front line for the spiral tail - notice how the tail is getting gradually narrower.

Step 4: Sketch the snout and fin

Next, draw the seahorse's nose and snout. Draw a small oval a short distance from the head, and join it to the head oval with two almost-straight lines. There are many different types of seahorses, some with short noses, some with extremely long and narrow ones - so feel free to draw the nose any length you like.

Add a little dot to mark the eye - that will do for now.

Finally, add a small dorsal fin to the lower back of the body - this is a short curve out with two straight sides closing in. (Do you remember from our frog tutorial what the convex isosceles trapezoid is? If you do, draw that shape, just with curved sides.)

Step 5: Mark vertical pattern lines on the body

Now if you are after an easy seahorse drawing, you can stop sketching here, and just outline the seahorse with some bumpy lines. But here we continue sketching the grid that will help us draw the awesome texture of the seahorse's rigid grid body.

Lightly sketch two curves that follow the shape of the body and split the body width roughly into thirds. The shorter line starts at the neck and finishes at the belly bottom. The longer line starts in the middle of the head (think spine), curves through the body and then follows the tail spiral at a close distance from the front line.

Do not worry too much about these lines being perfect - they are just guides that we will draw over with some seriously bumpy lines and erase at the end.

Step 6: Sketch the horizontal pattern lines on the body

Our next step is to add the cross-lines along the length of the body. Draw all of the lines so that they are slightly bent up and extended beyond the seahorse's spine - we will use the extra length to draw the spikes.

Start the first line just behind the eye, and then draw as many as you like across the body. Notice the pattern again - lines are further apart at the top, on the wide parts of the seahorse's body, and get closer together along the tail as it thins out.

Step 7: Add round spine ends

This is the final improvement on the pattern grid for our seahorse. Add two more short lines from the middle of the two first cross-lines.

Then draw small ovals at the end of the spikes on the head and upper back. Stop above the dorsal fin. Add one extra little oval at the start of the nose, and one under the chin.

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How to draw a seahorse: outline drawing step by step

Step 1: Start outlining the head

Now we will use that sketched grid to draw an awesome pattern outline for our seahorse. We are starting slow, so you can get the hang on drawing the convoluted squiggly line following the sketch.

The first outline starts behind the eye. Draw a line up and around the first little oval and come back to form a nice, rounded-off spike. Then keep going around the oval on the top for another spike, and down along the face and to the small spike on the nose. Finish the line by outlining the top of the nose.

It is a mouthful to describe, but the line is fairly simple - three spikes are done.

Step 2: Outline the rest of the head

Using the same technique, outline the next two of the rounded head spikes. Then draw the snout - notice the little bend-in for the mouth. Complete the head outline by drawing the chin with another bump and finish the line with a curve half-way up along the head oval.

Step 3: Draw the rounded back spikes

By now you should be proficient in outlining those rounded spikes - so draw a single squiggly line for the back, coming out, around and back for each of those small spikes with ovals.

Step 4: Draw the lower back spikes

Here is a change of pattern for you. From the lower back all the way to the tip of the tail, we will draw sharp spikes, rather than rounded ones, all along the outer back outline.

Notice how we are starting with large sharp spikes at the back and how the spikes are getting smaller as the tail narrows, turning into just small bumps at the tip of the tail.

Step 5: Draw the inner outline

Next, outline the neck, joining it to follow the second line from the left going down over the body to the inner tail spiral outline. Whenever you cross the vertical grid line, add a little spike, or a small bump onto the outline.

Step 6: Draw the remaining two ridge lines

Well, you know the drill by now: outline the remaining two ridgelines - the belly and the long mid-body one. And again, add a small spike or a bump whenever you cross the grid-line.

Step 7: Draw the horizontal ridges on the belly

With all the vertical lines drawn, it is time to draw the horizontal splits on the seahorse's body. Start with the front two columns on the body. There the ridges are just short curves. Do not join them to the vertical lines completely, the pattern will look better if you leave a small gap on each side of the short cross-line.

Step 8: Draw the horizontal ridges on the body

Horizontal cross-lines for the spine part are similar, with a little up-turn on the right, at the spine end. This looks better, as it suggests the spine line in between the spike gaps. And again, do not join the short cross-lines completely to the vertical lines, leave a small gap in between. That is it, the hard work is done!

Step 9: Add the details to complete the seahorse

Let's draw the final details. Draw the dot for the eye's pupil a touch larger and add a small circle around it to finish the eye. Then draw the dorsal fin - build it from three overlapping, rounded triangles, and add a few straight lines to mark the fin folds.

How to draw a seahorse: completed pencil outline

How to draw a seahorse: completed outline drawing

Here is the usual clean outline, after erasing the sketch lines. Congratulations, if you have made it this far, you have learned how to draw a seahorse! And a pretty good looking one, for that fact.

How to draw a seahorse: finished coloured-in drawing

How to draw a seahorse: completed coloured in drawing

The usual last step in this how to draw a seahorse tutorial is to colour in the picture. Similar to having many different shapes, seahorses come in many different colours.

Here we have chosen a nice golden yellow for the body, with some light yellow for the fin and darker orange for shading.

Finally, that green bit of grass is there just to add some extra colour and contrast to the warm yellow.

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