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Butterfly Drawing: A Beginner’s Guide In 8 Easy Steps [Video + Illustrations]

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Get ready to learn how to draw a butterfly!​

Did you know that there are over 20,000 butterfly species in the world?

They’re delicate but can evolve into powerful crime fighters if need be. I mean, have you met Butterfly, the first black female comic book superheroine in Hell-Rider? *wink*

If you want to add a butterfly character to your comic book or you just want to learn how to draw this beautiful insect, watch this video:

We’ll share the secret to making a cool butterfly drawing the easy way in this guide for beginners!

If you prefer learning how to draw by looking at images, keep reading and you’ll discover a set of illustrations for every step!

Sketching Tools To Draw A Butterfly

While you can use whatever sketching tools you have handy, here are some of our favorites you might want to stock up on:

  • An H pencil: A hard lead is ideal for sketching because of the light trace it leaves on paper. This makes it easy to erase, but also easy to build in the later stages of your butterfly drawing.
  • An HB pencil: If you have a pencil with a medium-hard lead in your toolbox, use it to add details to your sketch and make the lines darker.
  • A B pencil: The soft lead is a good choice for shading because it leaves a super dark trace.
  • A kneaded eraser: This is our go-to eraser because it’s easy to change its shape, so you can adjust it depending on what you need to erase. Plus, you can use it to go over the darker parts of your sketch to highlight them.
  • Lightly-textured paper: The smoother the surface of the paper, the easier it is to move the pencil over its surface, so we recommend using lightly-textured paper for your butterfly drawing.

You don’t *have* to use all of these tools. If you don’t have them — that’s totally fine!

These are just our recommendations, but any pencil and paper will do!

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Easy Butterfly Drawing In 8 Steps

The easiest way to draw a butterfly is to draw its parts one by one.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to do!

1. Draw The Head, The Body And The Eyes

Recommended tool: H pencil

The first step to drawing a butterfly is to sketch its head.

Since you’ll need room to add the rest of the butterfly’s body, make sure to leave enough room below the head.

Now, draw a small circle, like this:

A custom illustrations of a circle that represents the butterfly’s head. ​
Let’s kick the tutorial off by drawing a simple circle!​

Next, add the butterfly’s body.

Make it the size of approximately four heads glued together.

Draw the body as an oval shape that widens in the middle and gradually narrows down as it reaches the bottom:

An oval shape is attached to the head, forming the base for the butterfly’s body. ​
The butterfly’s body looks like a wide oval shape.​

For the eyes, draw two oval shapes on the head.

Position them in the upper half of the head, like so:

Two oval shapes are drawn on the head, representing the eyes. ​
Now, this is starting to look like an insect!

2. Segment The Body

Recommended tool: H pencil

The butterfly’s body is divided into three sections:

  • The head
  • The thorax
  • The abdomen

Let’s segment the body so that all three parts clearly show.

For starters, put a dot in the middle of the butterfly’s body.

Then, connect the left side of the butterfly’s body to the right side, by drawing two almost half-circles and connecting them in the middle.

The upper part is the thorax and the lower is the abdomen:

The butterfly’s body is segmented in two parts — the thorax and abdomen.  
The butterfly’s body now has three parts!​

3. Draw The Antennae

Recommended tool: H pencil

Butterflies have antennae or feelers attached to their heads.

These help them smell, navigate their surroundings and tell the time of day.

To draw antennae, first, connect the eyes with an upside-down “V” share.

Then, draw thin lines next to both eyes, point them upward and then curve them, like this:

The butterfly’s antennae are placed on its head. ​
Antennae are crucial for butterflies as they help them fly in a specific direction.

4. Draw The Wings

Recommended tool: H pencil

The butterfly’s wings are comprised of two parts:

  • The upper wing or the forewing
  • The lower wing or the hindwing

First up, let’s draw the forewings.

Draw the forewings so that they start at the top of the butterfly’s body, and end near the middle of the body.

Keep the angles a little sharp, like so:

The butterfly’s forewings touch the upper and lower part of its upper body. 
The upper wings are in place!​

Start drawing the hindwings just where the upper wings angle toward the thorax.

Then, draw round lines on either side of the body and have them meet at the very bottom of the abdomen:

The butterfly’s hindwings have round angles and touch at the bottom of the butterfly’s body. ​
Look at that beauty! ​

5. Add The Wing Patterns

Recommended tool: H pencil

Now that you finished drawing the basic butterfly sketch, next comes decorating the wings and adding patterns to them!

Butterflies have gorgeous shapes and even scales on their wings (who knew?!), but we’re going to keep the patterns pretty simple and beginner-friendly.

Let’s start from the upper wings and add two small, horizontal wing shapes on either forewing:

Horizontal wing-like shapes are added to the butterfly’s forewings to decorate them. ​
Let the wing decoration begin! ​

Next, add the same wing shape to the lower wings but make it vertical, like so:

Vertical wing-like shapes are added to the butterfly’s hindwings to decorate them. ​
The same wing shape adorns the lower wings. ​

Now, let’s go back to the forewings.

Draw two lines from the middle of the upper wings and have them touch the angled side of each wing.

As you draw those two lines, make sure to follow the wings’ shape:

Lines that follow the shape of the upper wing are added to the sketch. 
Add more patterns to the upper wing. ​

Now’s the time to get groovy!

Connect the horizontal wing shapes with the curved lines you drew in the previous step using wavy strokes:

Wavy lines are added to the surface of the upper wings, making them look groovy.  
Continue adding lines to the upper wings! ​

Add the same wavy lines to the lower wings, but make them vertical, like this:

Wavy lines are added to the surface of the lower wings, making them look groovy as well. ​
Check out how rich the wing pattern is!​

6. Draw The Legs

Recommended tool: H pencil

Butterflies have three legs on either side:

  1. Foreleg
  2. Midleg
  3. Hindleg

To add the legs, simply draw three thin, small, curved lines to the sketch and attach them to the thorax:

Six thin, curved lines are attached to the thorax, depicting the butterfly’s legs.  
Butterflies have six legs! ​

7. Add Details To Your Butterfly Drawing

Recommended tool: H pencil and kneaded eraser

The basic butterfly outline is ready, but it’s time to add some details to it to make the sketch come to life.

Let’s start at the abdomen.

It needs to be striped, like a bumblebee’s:

Horizontal stripes are added to the butterfly’s abdomen. ​
Adding details to the butterfly drawing makes the sketch come to life. ​

Next, let’s make the wing lines less rigid.

Start at your butterfly’s outline, and identify the spots where the groovy lines meet the outline of the wing.

In these spots, rework the outline to make the lines wavy as well, to match the grooves.

Oh, and you can use the eraser to remove the line between the eyes:

The wing outlines look wavy and less rigid. ​
The less rigid the lines, the more natural the drawing looks. ​

Once you’re done beautifying the butterfly’s wings, go back to the antennae.

You can make them thicker at the ends so that they resemble clubs. Or, you can have some fun and bend them inwards to form spiral-like shapes.

On their head, butterflies have a proboscis and they use to eat. You can draw it as a very narrow heart with a dark line that stretches from its middle to its bottom:

The antennae are bent into spiral-like shapes the ends. ​
You’re one step away from completing your butterfly drawing! ​

8. Finalize And Shade Your Sketch

Recommended tools: HB and B pencils

To finalize your butterfly drawing, take an HB pencil or simply apply more pressure to whatever pencil you’re using, and trace over the legs.

Make them darker and more pronounced.

Then, using the B pencil, gently trace over the stripes and add slight shade to the wings around the abdomen and the thorax:

The butterfly drawing is finished. ​
That’s a wrap on your butterfly drawing!​

And that’s it, your butterfly drawing is d-o-n-e! 


Finished Learning How To Draw A Butterfly? Try These Next!

Now that you’re on a roll, how about trying some more drawing tutorials?

If you’d like to learn how to draw more animals, check out our guides on:

More tutorials!
Follow our YouTube channel for more art tutorials!

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Meet The Artist

The lead BIOWARS artist — Goncalo Lopes — created this easy-to-follow guide on butterfly drawing.

He’s the man who designed the BIOWARS characters and gave them a distinct, powerful appearance.

Aside from making tutorials and comic books, Goncalo also works on movies and TV shows. You might’ve heard of some of the projects he had participated in, such as Godzilla, Transformers, TMNT, GI-Joe and Adventure Time. Pretty impressive, huh?

Explore BIOWARS art
See how we drew our comic book protagonists!

Meet BIOWARS Characters!    

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A Recap On How To Draw A Butterfly Step-By-Step

The easiest way to draw a butterfly is to do it step-by-step:

  • Draw its head, the body and its eyes
  • Separate the thorax from the abdomen
  • Add the antennae
  • Draw the wings
  • Add the wing patterns
  • Sketch the legs
  • Add the finishing touches
  • Shade your butterfly drawing

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