How to draw a Quetzal

The Quetzal is a very colorful and beautiful bird. The background on this drawing tutorial had to be purple because it is the only solid color where nothing blends into the background. This is also one of the few animals in the book that did not require any shading to look right, because the iridescent colors change based on the angle of the light. So without further ado, here’s how to draw a Quetzal.

Step 1:

We start with a circle that will be the head. Make sure you know the diameter of this circle, because we will use it to determine proportions for the rest of the bird. We will call this length 1 unit.

Step 2:

Beneath the first circle and slightly off center draw a 1 and 1/4 unit diameter circle. The top should touch the bottom of the first circle and the right side of both circles should line up, while the left side of the new circle sticks out about 1/4th unit past the right side of the first.
1 unit down from the bottom of the larger circle, lined up with the top circle, draw another 1 unit circle.

Step 3:

Connect al the circles.

Step 4:

Draw a rounded beak that is 1/4th of a unit long.
In the center of the head draw a small circle to make the eye.
About 1/4th unit away from where the neck meets the large circle, draw an S shape.
1/2 of a unit away from a point slightly below halfway between the two circles that make up the body draw a half circle.

Step 5:

At the base of the S shape draw a line straight back, then draw another S shape. Repeat until near the edge, then draw a line at a similar angle to the S shapes, and connect it to the edge with a curve back the other way.
Connect the half circle to the body.

Step 6:

Erase the interior parts of the circles, connect the legs to the body, and erase the outer tip of the bottom circle.

Step 7:

Here’s where male and female birds differ. From now on we will show the female on the left and the male on the right.
Females have a single tail that is about 2 units long.
Males have a double tail that splits about 2 units down from the body and is slightly longer than the length of the rest of the bird.

Step 8:

Now we do the coloring. The upper part of the chest is black, and there is a red spot covering most of the chest. The legs should be a light salmon color.
Females have a white spot beneath the tail and slightly darker cyan and green on their backs
Males have bright greens on their tail with only a dash of cyan near the edges.

Step 9:

Both have bright yellow beaks, and black eyes with a little white dot in them. For the female the head is grey, while the male’s colors extend all the way up.
For the female; make the area over the wings cyan(except for a dark grey part at the tip of the wings), then color the center green. Above that draw the dark grey area, drawing streaks out from the head to form a sort of Mohawk. Draw smaller streaks of light grey throughout the head.
For the male; Color the area of the wings and head cyan(except for a dark grey part at the tip of the wings), then draw a streaks of green off the top of the head, and color a green area below that, and connected to that, color the center of the wing green. Make sure where the two colors meet they are blended with streaks. On the face, draw streaks of blue.

So that’s how you draw a Quetzal!

This colorful page is quite fun to look at. My mom showed this book to one of the kids at the school where she works and told me that the kid’s reaction to the Quetzal page (as well as a few others) was to just want to touch it and say “whoa!”

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