Drawing an Albatross

At first glance, the albatross is pretty standard as far as bird shape goes, but there are a few details that are needed to make sure that it is recognizable as an albatross. Aside from coloration, Albatrosses have skinny wings, stubby tails, and hooked beaks. The exact color pattern is dependent on the species of albatross. The albatross pictured in the book has the color pattern associated with Laysan Albatross and Black-Browed Albatross, so to change things up I’ll use the color patterning of the royal albatross for this tutorial. The difference between the two is that the Lasan and Black-Browed patterns have the black extended between the wings, while the Royal Albatross has an entirely white back.

Step 1:

Let’s begin! Make sure whatever you’re using to draw with right now can be erased. To start, we’ll draw a circle. This is the bird’s chest. The size of this circle will determine the size of the drawing, so make sure you know the diameter of this circle because we will be using it to measure the proportions of the rest of the bird. We’ll call this size 1 unit.

Tip: if you don’t want to bother with a regular ruler or have a weird measurement, you can mark the diameter size on the edge of another piece of paper.

Step 2:

Touching this circle, we’ll shape the rest of the body by adding a circle about two thirds of the size of the first circle. This is the rear of the bird.

Step 3:

Next we’ll begin the wings. The shoulders are about 1/3 down the chest circle, and the wings are curved lines that sprout off from the shoulder point. The far wing should be about 1&1/3 units long, and the close wing should be about 2 units long. If we were drawing the bird from the top down, both sides would be 2 units long, but because this is drawn in perspective, the proportions differ.

Step 4:

The next step is to finish off the front edge of the wings. At a slight angle backwards from the curves, draw a straight line from the tip of the previous lines. Like before, the difference in length is due to perspective, and both would be two units long should we be drawing this straight from the top, because the joint is halfway down the wing.

Step 5:

Next we will add the head. Touching the chest circle, make a circle with a half unit diameter.

Step 6:

Next we begin the tail and beak. For the tail and body, connect two body circles and extend those lines 2/3 units out past the body. Connect them with a curve. For the beak, draw a small curve to create the forehead, then bring it out 1/2 unit to form the length of the beak. At the end of that line curve down sharply to bring the line even with the bottom of the head circle to form a hooked beak.

Step 7:

To continue the beak, draw a straight line from the center of the head to just above the end of the hook on the beak. Create a curve at the very end to match the top hook.

Step 8:

Complete the chin and neck by connecting all the gaps.

Step 9:

From a point 1/2 unit out from the far joint and 2/3 units from the near joint draw a line to the tip of the wing. Then from those points create a parallel curve to shape the inner wing.

Step 10:

Smooth out where the wings connect to the body.

Step 11:

Here’s where that eraser comes in handy, erase all the inner lines. Add an eye somewhere in the upper middle of the head, and if you’d like you can add some lines to show where the beak ends.

Step 12:

This is where we add the color. There’s so many species of albatross, its a good idea to search up different species to see what types of color patterns you like best.

Lastly you’ll add the shading. At this point you might decide to erase the outlines to make it less cartoonish, or keep it how it is. It depends on what style you like and what materials you’re using.

So that’s how to draw an albatross!

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