How to Draw a Squirrel Easily: A Simple, Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


1. Gathering Materials for Drawing a Squirrel Easily

2. Breaking Down the Squirrel into Basic Shapes

3. Adding Details to Your Squirrel Drawing

4. Shading and Highlighting Your Squirrel

5. Designing a Background for Your Squirrel Drawing

Many people want to learn how to draw a squirrel easily, and this simple, step-by-step guide is perfect for beginners to get started. By following this guide, you'll be able to create a beautiful squirrel drawing in no time. So, let's gather the necessary materials and start our artistic journey together.

1. Gathering Materials for Drawing a Squirrel Easily

Before we start drawing, it's important to have the right materials on hand. This will ensure that our drawing process is smooth and enjoyable. Let's go through some of the essential materials that you'll need for drawing a squirrel easily.

Choosing the Right Pencils

Selecting the right pencils is key to achieving a well-detailed squirrel drawing. Here are a few types of pencils to consider:

  • Graphite pencils: These are the most common type of pencil and work well for beginners. Opt for a variety of hardness levels, like HB, 2B, and 4B, to achieve different effects in your drawing.
  • Colored pencils: If you'd like to add some color to your squirrel, consider using colored pencils. They can provide a more vibrant and lively appearance to your drawing.

Selecting the Perfect Paper

Choosing the right paper is just as important as selecting the right pencils. The type of paper you use can greatly impact the final outcome of your squirrel drawing. Here are some factors to consider when selecting paper:

  • Texture: Smooth paper works well for detailed drawings, while rougher textures can add an interesting effect. Experiment with different textures to find what works best for you.
  • Weight: Heavier weight paper, like drawing or watercolor paper, is more durable and can handle multiple layers of pencil without tearing.

Picking a Suitable Eraser

Having a good eraser on hand is essential for making corrections and refining your squirrel drawing. Here are a couple of eraser types to consider:

  • Kneaded eraser: This type of eraser is soft and pliable, making it perfect for gently lifting graphite or colored pencil from the paper without damaging the surface.
  • Plastic eraser: These erasers are more firm and can remove pencil marks more effectively, but be cautious not to press too hard and damage your paper.

Now that we have our materials ready, it's time to start breaking down the squirrel into basic shapes and learning how to draw a squirrel easily.

2. Breaking Down the Squirrel into Basic Shapes

Now that we have our materials, let's start learning how to draw a squirrel easily by breaking it down into basic shapes. This is a great approach for beginners because it helps you grasp the overall structure of the squirrel before diving into finer details. So, let's begin by focusing on three main shapes: the head, the body, and the tail.

Creating the Head Shape

To draw the squirrel's head, start with a simple circle or oval shape. This will serve as the base for the head and face features. Keep in mind the following tips while sketching the head:

  • Size: Make sure the head is proportional to the rest of the squirrel's body. As a rule of thumb, the head should be about one-third the size of the body.
  • Placement: Position the circle slightly to the side of where you want the body to be. This will give the appearance of the squirrel's head turning, making it look more natural and dynamic.

Once you're happy with the head shape, we can move on to forming the body shape.

Forming the Body Shape

For the body, you'll want to create an elongated oval shape that connects to the head. This will serve as the main structure of the squirrel's torso and help you position the limbs later on. While drawing the body shape, consider the following:

  • Proportions: The body should be about three times the size of the head to maintain a balanced look.
  • Direction: Remember that squirrels have a slightly curved spine, so give the oval a gentle curve to mimic this natural shape.

With the body shape in place, we can now move on to designing the tail shape, an important feature in learning how to draw a squirrel easily.

Designing the Tail Shape

The tail is a defining feature of a squirrel, so it's essential to get it right. Begin by sketching a long, curved line that extends from the base of the body. This line will determine the overall shape and direction of the tail. Next, consider these factors:

  • Thickness: Squirrels have bushy tails, so make sure to draw the tail wider at the base and gradually narrowing towards the tip.
  • Length: Generally, a squirrel's tail is about the same length as its body. Keep this in mind when determining the length of your tail shape.

Now that we have the basic shapes of our squirrel, it's time to add some details and bring our drawing to life.

3. Adding Details to Your Squirrel Drawing

With the basic shapes in place, it's time to dive into the fun part of learning how to draw a squirrel easily—adding details! In this section, we'll focus on the facial features, fur texture, and paws, turning our simple shapes into a recognizable squirrel. Let's get started!

Drawing Facial Features

First, let's work on the facial features to give our squirrel some personality. Here's what you need to do:

  • Eyes: Draw two almond-shaped eyes on the head, making sure they're evenly spaced. Add small circles inside the eyes for highlights, giving them a lively appearance.
  • Nose: Just below the eyes, draw a small, upside-down triangle to represent the squirrel's nose. Feel free to add a touch of shading for extra depth.
  • Mouth: From the bottom of the nose, draw two curved lines to create the smiling mouth. Add a tiny "V" shape at the end of each line for the squirrel's cheeks.
  • Ears: On either side of the head, sketch two curved triangles for the ears. You can add some inner lines to show the ear's structure and make it more realistic.

With the face complete, let's move on to incorporating fur texture in our squirrel drawing.

Incorporating Fur Texture

Adding fur texture might seem intimidating, but with a few simple techniques, you can make your squirrel look fluffy and lifelike. Here's how:

  • Short strokes: Use short, curved pencil strokes to mimic the appearance of fur. Start near the head and follow the body's shape, gradually making the strokes longer as you reach the tail.
  • Layering: Build up layers of short strokes to create a sense of depth and fullness in the fur. This will help your squirrel drawing look more three-dimensional.
  • Varying direction: Change the direction of your pencil strokes to match the flow of the squirrel's fur. For instance, the strokes on the tail should follow its curve, while the strokes on the body should be more horizontal.

Now that our squirrel has a furry appearance, let's focus on sketching the paws to complete the overall look.

Sketching the Paws

A squirrel's paws are an essential detail when learning how to draw a squirrel easily, as they contribute to its cute and agile appearance. To draw the paws, follow these steps:

  • Front paws: From the lower part of the body, draw two curved lines on each side to represent the arms. Add small oval shapes at the end for the paws, and sketch in tiny lines for the fingers.
  • Back paws: Similar to the front paws, draw two curved lines extending from the back of the body. Make the back paws slightly larger than the front ones, and add lines for the squirrel's toes.
  • Positioning: Consider the squirrel's pose when drawing the paws. For example, if it's sitting, the front paws can be resting on the ground or holding a nut, while the back paws are tucked underneath the body.

With the paws complete, our squirrel drawing is starting to come together! Next, let's add some shading and highlights to make it even more realistic.

4. Shading and Highlighting Your Squirrel

Now that we've added all the necessary details to our squirrel drawing, it's time to make it truly come to life with shading and highlighting techniques. Doing this will give your squirrel depth and dimension, making it look even more realistic. In this section, we'll explore different shading techniques, ways to add depth, and how to create realistic highlights when learning how to draw a squirrel easily.

Mastering Shading Techniques

Shading is all about creating the illusion of depth and dimension in your drawing. The key is to use a variety of pencil techniques to achieve different shades and textures. Here are some tips to help you master shading:

  • Pressure control: Apply varying amounts of pressure on your pencil to create different shades. Light pressure will result in softer shades, while more pressure will produce darker shades.
  • Cross-hatching: Cross-hatching is the technique of drawing overlapping lines to create areas of shadow. It's a simple and effective way to add depth to your squirrel drawing.
  • Blending: Use your finger or a blending tool to smooth out the pencil lines, creating a seamless transition between different shades.

With these shading techniques in mind, let's move on to adding depth to your squirrel drawing.

Adding Depth to the Drawing

Creating depth in your drawing is essential for making your squirrel appear more realistic. To achieve this, you'll need to consider the light source and how it affects the shading in your drawing. Here's how:

  • Light source: Determine where the light is coming from in your scene. This will help you figure out which areas of the squirrel should be lighter and which should be darker.
  • Shadows: Add shadows to the areas of the squirrel that are furthest from the light source. For example, if the light is coming from the top right, the underside of the body and tail would be darker.
  • Contrast: Enhance the contrast between the light and dark areas of your drawing. This will make the squirrel appear more three-dimensional and visually interesting.

With depth added to your squirrel drawing, let's now focus on creating realistic highlights.

Creating Realistic Highlights

Highlights are the areas of your drawing that receive the most light. They help to emphasize the shape and form of your squirrel, making it appear more realistic. Here's how to add effective highlights when learning how to draw a squirrel easily:

  • Identifying highlight areas: Look for the spots on the squirrel that would naturally catch the light, such as the top of the head, ears, and parts of the tail.
  • Light pencil strokes: Use light pencil strokes to create subtle highlights in these areas. Remember, highlights should be subtle and not overpowering.
  • Erasing technique: You can also create highlights by carefully erasing some of the pencil shading in the areas where you want to add highlights. Just be sure to do this gently, so you don't damage the paper.

By adding shading, depth, and highlights to your squirrel drawing, you'll bring it to life and make it appear more realistic. Now that your squirrel is complete, let's explore some options for designing a background to complement your drawing.

5. Designing a Background for Your Squirrel Drawing

With your squirrel drawing complete, let's take it a step further by designing a background that enhances your artwork. A well-thought-out background can help set the scene and make your squirrel drawing even more engaging. In this section, we'll explore different options for creating a nature setting, opting for a simple background, and incorporating additional elements when learning how to draw a squirrel easily.

Creating a Nature Setting

A natural environment is a fitting choice for your squirrel drawing as it reflects their typical habitat. Here are some ideas to help you create a nature setting:

  • Trees: Sketch a tree trunk or branches for your squirrel to perch on, giving it a sense of belonging in its environment.
  • Leaves: Add a scattering of leaves around the squirrel, either on the ground or hanging from branches, to create a more dynamic scene.
  • Grass: Draw grass at the base of the tree or under the squirrel, using short, varied strokes to give the impression of texture and depth.

With your nature setting in place, let's explore how a simple background can also be effective for your squirrel drawing.

Opting for a Simple Background

If you prefer a minimalist approach, a simple background can be just as impactful. This option puts the focus solely on your squirrel, making it the star of the show. Here's how to create a simple background:

  • Solid color: Choose a single color for the background, either leaving the paper blank or using a light pencil shade. This will make your squirrel stand out and draw the viewer's eye.
  • Gradient: Create a subtle gradient by using a slightly darker shade at the top of the page and gradually lightening it as you move down. This adds a touch of depth without detracting from your squirrel.

Now that we've covered both nature settings and simple backgrounds, let's consider incorporating additional elements to your squirrel drawing.

Incorporating Additional Elements

Adding extra elements to your background can help tell a story or create a more interesting scene. Here are some ideas for additional elements you can include when learning how to draw a squirrel easily:

  • Acorns: Squirrels love acorns! Sketch a few acorns near your squirrel, either on the ground or held in its paws, to add a sense of interaction and character.
  • Other animals: Consider adding other woodland creatures, such as birds or chipmunks, to create a lively, bustling environment.
  • Seasonal elements: Customize your background to reflect a specific season, like falling leaves for autumn or snow-covered branches for winter.

By choosing the right background and incorporating additional elements, you'll create a captivating and complete artwork that showcases your squirrel drawing. Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep experimenting with different options and techniques as you learn how to draw a squirrel easily. Happy drawing!

If you enjoyed learning how to draw a squirrel and want to expand your skills in drawing animals, check out the workshop 'Basic Animal Anatomy for Artists' by Viktoria. This workshop will provide you with a solid foundation in animal anatomy, helping you create more accurate and lifelike drawings of various creatures.