How to draw a Manta Ray

The Manta Ray is one of the oceans gentle giants, and quite beautiful. It’s got a deceptively simple shape, but isn’t as forgiving of a creature to draw as some. You might need to play around with the lines for the fins and markings a bit before they look just right, so don’t let yourself get discouraged.

Step 1:

We’ll start with the body of the Manta Ray. Draw a tear drop shape with the rounded end facing where you want the ray to face. It should be half as wide as it is long, with the widest point 3/8ths of the way down from the front. Make sure you know the length of the body, we will use it to determine proportions for the rest of the animal. We will call the length 1 unit.

Step 2:

Next we draw the spine and fins. Draw lightly and keep your eraser handy because this is the step that might need to be redone a few times. The shape should look graceful and you should be able to tell you’re looking from a slight angle.
Start by drawing a curve from the front to the back of the body, with the peak of the curve being about 1/8th of a unit to the left of the center and 1/4th of a unit down from the front.
Then draw a curve that intersects at this point and goes side to side.
For the fins, we will draw an s shape starting where the last curve intersects the sides of the body and ending near even with the tail end of the body. The near fin should end 1 unit away from the body and the far fin should end 3/4ths of a unit away from the body. Lastly, draw a short line at the tip of the face nearly perpendicular to the spine.

Step 3:

At each end of the line at the tip of the head, draw matching tiny half circles. This forms the mouth.
From the tip of each of the wings to the tip of the tail, draw a gentle curve.
Draw two parallel curvy lines to make the tail, and connect them at the very end. The tail can follow any curve so long as it is about 1 unit long and has no sharp angles.

Step 4:

Next we begin the markings. Along the spine, halfway between the intersection and the tip of the head, draw a small circle. Behind that, draw two curves that start at the same points but whose peaks are one slightly behind the other along the spine.
On each end of the C shape that forms the mouth, draw a line straight back towards the body. Then connect the outer part of the C shape to the body with another line.
The eyes will be on either end of the line that intersects the spine. One will be a circle just inside the body. The far one will be an equal sized half circle just outside the body.

Step 5:

To continue the markings, draw two curved L shapes that follow along the spine and the line between the eyes.

Step 6:

Close the left L shape with a curve, and draw an egg shape along the side of the body next to it.
Draw a curve that goes up and back down to connect the right L shape to the edge of the fin.
Lastly, draw a bubble V along the rear part of the spine. This finishes the markings.

Step 7:

Erase the spine, line between the eyes, and teardrop shape.

Step 8:

Color in the Manta Ray. The markings should be white, and it should fade to white at the tip of the wings. The body should be dark grey, and the eyes black.

Step 9:

Lastly add shading.

So that’s how you draw a Manta Ray like the one in my book!

I wanted to pick a more unique ocean animal for this page in the book, and manta rays really caught my eye because of their shape and size and how different their behavior is from the animal we normally think of as rays, the stingray. It was pretty fun to draw. I looked at a lot of reference pictures for the markings, and found that a lot of times they are asymmetrical with their spots, but yet they all seem so precise. This was probably the easiest of the aquatic animal’s pages to draw, but I’m still very proud of it. It was difficult hide the letter in the deep ocean background I placed them in, so I had to get a bit creative with this one. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this page in the book.
In other news, I’m excited to announce that my book was recently reviewed on! Be sure to check it out!

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