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How to draw a butterfly step by step easy and fast

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Before figuring out how to draw a butterfly let’s learn just a little about these beautiful flying insects.

Like all insects, they have a segmented exoskeleton, three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, and compound eyes. They also have two antennae and two pairs of scaly wings. The wings of butterflies are the most beautiful part of their bodies that most people would like to draw and color.

If you don’t want to follow butterfly drawing steps on this page and prefer practicing on paper, then you may download the “How to draw a butterfly easy and fast” printable step-by-step guide here.

step-by-step butterfly drawing tutorial with printable guide

As we have mentioned before, a butterfly’s most dramatic and beautiful anatomical features are its wings. The wings are made of an extremely thin, semi-transparent material called chitin stretched between vein-like structures.

anatomy diagram for butterfly drawing easy guide

The colors and patterns come from layers of tiny scales. You may think that they are similar to fish scales, but they’re structured more like short, tiny hairs. These scales protect the wings and provide insulation.

How to draw a butterfly step by step tutorial

Step 1 – Starting your butterfly wings drawing

We are starting to draw a butterfly by outlining both forewings symmetrically.  If you are using a pencil for your drawing, don’t apply too much pressure for the first three steps since these lines are not final and most likely be corrected later.

How to draw butterfly forewings

The forewings are closer to the butterfly’s head and are roughly triangular.

Step 2 – Adding Hindwings

Proceed by drawing outlines of two hindwings of your butterfly. Make sure to make them smaller in size.  Now you have a general layout of a butterfly’s wings.

How to draw butterfly hindwings

The hindwings are closer to the tail and are shaped like fans or seashells.

Step 3

Now it’s time to draw a butterfly’s body. Start by drawing the central part – the thorax.  Note that forewings and hindwings are attached to the thorax, so draw the thorax right in the middle where all wings come together. Then add a small circle on the top – the head – and the abdomen below the thorax.

How to draw butterfly body

Step 4

Add two eyes to the butterfly’s head and two antennae. Don’t curve antennae too much. Now draw horizontal section dividers on the abdomen of your butterfly. Your butterfly is taking its shape!

How to draw butterfly head

Step 5

Remember, we were talking about making the first outlines of the wings pretty light? At this step, you can use the full pencil pressure when drawing the final shapes of the beautiful butterfly’s wings.

How to draw butterfly wings

Step 6

This step brings a few challenges. The best way to draw cells on the hindwings would be starting from the inner part of the wings located by the abdomen. Second, do the big cell in the upper part. Add other cells afterward and don’t try to be precise – all butterflies have a bit different patterns.

draw butterfly wings pattern

Step 7

Drawing the pattern on the forewings is a little easier.  There is one distinct large cell on the top and 3-4 horizontal ones. Don’t forget to add thin veins to each cell.

draw butterfly wings pattern

Step 8

Start darkening space between cells.

draw butterfly wings cells

Step 9

Finish drawing the butterfly’s wings.

draw butterfly wings

Step 10

Coloring can be done with pencils, watercolors, or inks.  Sometimes, the hindwings are lighter and the forewings are more reddish but you may use any colors you want if you are not trying to draw a typical American Monarch Butterfly.

Finished drawing of a butterfly

Typically, the scales on the top of a butterfly’s wings are brightly colored, while the scales and the underside are patterned for camouflage.

Download “How to draw a butterfly” printable step-by-step guide here.

how to draw a butterfly step by step printable guide

Coool art supplies you might need for your butterfly drawings

Some facts about butterflies.

There are almost 18,000 butterfly species around the world. An adult butterfly has a very short life span of three to four weeks. Some butterflies, such as the North American Monarch that migrate to a warmer climate, can live as long as 7 to 8 months in one generation if counting the entire life cycle of a butterfly.

Monarch butterflies migrate to find a warmer climate and they are the only insect that migrates an average of 2,500 miles to get away from the cold.

Here are some fun facts:

  • Butterfly wings are transparent;
  • They can’t fly if they’re cold;
  • Butterflies taste with their feet;
  • They drink from mud puddles;
  • Butterflies live on an all-liquid diet;

More butterflies facts here

Other butterfly-drawing methods – “X” butterfly sketch

learn frontal and side butterfly drawing

Drawing a butterfly in 8 steps

drawing a butterfly in 8 steps
Check out more drawing tutorials:

If you like our butterfly drawing tutorial, learn how to draw a tiger, a shark, and a rose :

Now you know how to draw a monarch butterfly. Practice a few times for better results!

Don’t forget about art supplies for your butterfly drawings