How to Draw a Wolf Head: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


1. Gather Your Materials

2. Start with Basic Shapes

3. Add Distinctive Wolf Features

4. Refine Details and Shading

5. Practice Tips and Techniques

Learning how to draw a wolf head can be a fun and rewarding experience, especially for beginners. In this step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through the process of drawing a wolf head from gathering your materials to refining the final details. By following these simple steps, you'll be able to create a captivating and realistic wolf head drawing that you can be proud of.

1. Gather Your Materials

Before you begin drawing, it's important to have all your materials ready and organized. In this section, we'll go over the necessary drawing tools, reference images, and workspace setup to help you create a great wolf head drawing.

Drawing Tools

Having the right tools can make a big difference in your drawing experience. Here are some basic tools you'll need:

  • Pencil: A standard HB or 2B pencil will work well for sketching and shading.
  • Eraser: A kneaded eraser is great for removing unwanted lines without damaging your paper.
  • Paper: Choose a quality drawing paper that's not too thin or too textured. Smooth, medium-weight paper is ideal.
  • Blending tools: A blending stump or a cotton swab can help you create smooth shading transitions.

Reference Images

When drawing a wolf head, it's helpful to use reference images as a guide. You can find numerous wolf photos online or in books, and it's a good idea to have a few different angles and poses to refer to while you're drawing. This will help you capture the unique features of the wolf head more accurately.

Workspace Setup

Creating a comfortable and well-lit workspace is essential for a successful drawing experience. Here are some tips for setting up your drawing area:

  • Choose a comfortable chair and a sturdy table or desk to work on.
  • Position your reference images nearby, either printed or on a device, for easy viewing.
  • Ensure your workspace is well-lit, preferably with natural light or a daylight lamp, to avoid straining your eyes.
  • Keep your drawing tools organized and within reach.

Now that you have your materials and workspace ready, let's dive into the process of learning how to draw a wolf head by starting with basic shapes.

2. Start with Basic Shapes

Now that your workspace is set up and you're ready to go, let's begin our journey on how to draw a wolf head by starting with basic shapes. This approach helps simplify the drawing process and provides a solid foundation for adding details and features later on. In this section, we'll discuss drawing a circle for the head, adding triangles for ears, and sketching guidelines.

Drawing a Circle for the Head

First, we'll start with the main shape of the wolf head—a circle. This will represent the basic structure of the head without any details. You don't need to make your circle perfect; just focus on getting a rough, even shape. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Hold your pencil lightly and draw with your whole arm, not just your wrist.
  • Make several light, loose strokes to create the circle. Don't worry about making it too clean or precise at this stage.
  • Keep in mind the size of the circle will determine the size of your wolf head, so consider how large you want your drawing to be.

With the circle in place, you've laid the foundation for your wolf head drawing. Next, let's add some ears!

Adding Triangles for Ears

Now that you have your circle, it's time to add the wolf's ears. Wolves have large, pointy ears that help them hear better in the wild. To draw the ears, we'll use triangles. Here's how:

  1. Find the top of your circle and draw two small marks on either side to indicate where the ears will be.
  2. Draw two triangles starting from the marks, making sure they're symmetrical and pointing upwards.
  3. Remember, wolf ears have a bit of a curve to them, so don't make your triangles too sharp or straight.

Great job! You've now added the basic shapes for the ears. Let's move on to sketching some guidelines to help with the placement of the wolf's features.

Sketching Guidelines

Guidelines are an important part of learning how to draw a wolf head, as they help you place the features accurately and maintain proper proportions. Here's how to add guidelines to your drawing:

  • Draw a vertical line down the center of the circle, dividing it into two equal halves. This line will help you place the eyes and nose symmetrically.
  • Next, draw a horizontal line across the middle of the circle. This line will serve as a reference for the placement of the eyes.
  • Lastly, draw another horizontal line slightly below the first one, which will help you position the nose and mouth.

With these guidelines in place, you've got a great starting point for adding the distinctive features of a wolf head. Let's move on to the next step and bring our wolf to life!

3. Add Distinctive Wolf Features

You've successfully laid the groundwork for your drawing, and now it's time to make your wolf head truly come to life. In this section, we'll focus on adding the distinctive features that make a wolf head recognizable, such as the eyes, nose, fur texture, and expression. With these key elements in place, you'll be well on your way to mastering how to draw a wolf head.

Drawing Eyes and Nose

Let's start by drawing the eyes and nose of the wolf. These features play a significant role in giving your wolf its unique character and expression. To draw the eyes:

  • Locate the horizontal guideline you drew earlier, which will serve as a reference for the eye placement.
  • Draw two almond-shaped eyes on either side of the vertical guideline, making sure they're evenly spaced and symmetrical.
  • Add a small curved line at the inner corner of each eye to represent the tear ducts. This detail adds a touch of realism to your drawing.

Now, let's move on to the nose:

  1. Find the lower horizontal guideline, which will help you position the nose accurately.
  2. Draw a small, inverted triangle at the bottom of the guideline for the nose's basic shape.
  3. Add nostrils by drawing two small, curved lines on either side of the triangle.

Great job! You've successfully added the eyes and nose to your wolf head drawing.

Creating Fur Texture

One of the most distinctive features of a wolf is its thick, shaggy fur. To capture this texture in your drawing, we'll use short, quick strokes rather than long, smooth lines. Here's how:

  • Start from the outer edges of the circle and work your way inwards, using short, jagged strokes to create the fur texture.
  • Pay attention to the direction of the fur, as it typically flows away from the face and follows the contours of the head and ears.
  • Don't worry about making the fur look perfect at this stage—we'll refine the texture and details later on.

By adding the fur texture, you're giving your wolf head drawing a more realistic and convincing appearance. Keep up the good work!

Capturing the Wolf's Expression

Finally, let's give our wolf some personality by capturing its expression. This is an important part of learning how to draw a wolf head, as it helps bring your drawing to life and makes it more engaging. Here are a few tips to help you achieve the desired expression:

  • Add eyebrows by drawing two curved lines above the eyes. This subtle detail can greatly impact the wolf's overall expression—raising the eyebrows can make the wolf appear more alert, while lowering them can create a more aggressive or intense look.
  • Draw the mouth by extending two curved lines from the bottom of the nose down to the lower part of the circle. Make sure to follow the curvature of the face, and consider adding a slight snarl or frown for a more dynamic expression.
  • Experiment with different expressions by adjusting the angles and shapes of the eyes, eyebrows, and mouth. Remember, there's no one "right" way to capture a wolf's expression—your goal is to create a drawing that feels authentic and true to your vision.

Congratulations! You've now added the distinctive features that make a wolf head instantly recognizable. Next, we'll refine the details and add shading to make your drawing even more lifelike.

4. Refine Details and Shading

Now that you've sketched out the basic elements and distinctive features of your wolf head, it's time to refine the details and add shading. This step will elevate your drawing from a simple sketch to a more polished and lifelike illustration. So, let's dive into the world of shading techniques, fur detailing, and adding those final touches that will make your wolf head drawing truly stand out.

Shading Techniques

Shading is crucial to creating depth and dimension in your drawing, giving your wolf head a more three-dimensional and realistic appearance. Before we jump into shading the wolf head, let's quickly go over some basic shading techniques:

  • Hatching: This technique involves drawing a series of parallel lines close together. The closer the lines are, the darker the shading will appear.
  • Cross-hatching: Similar to hatching, but with an additional layer of lines drawn perpendicular to the first, creating a grid-like pattern. This is great for creating even darker shades.
  • Blending: Use your finger, a blending stump, or a tissue to smudge and blend the graphite on the paper, creating smooth transitions between light and dark areas.

Now that you're familiar with these techniques, apply them to your wolf head drawing. Focus on the areas where shadows would naturally fall, such as under the chin, around the eyes, and on the underside of the ears.

Detailing the Fur

As you know, the fur is a key feature when learning how to draw a wolf head. In this step, we'll refine the fur texture by adding more detail and depth. Here are some tips to help you achieve a more realistic fur texture:

  • Focus on the direction of the fur growth, as this will help you create a more natural appearance. Remember, the fur generally flows away from the face and follows the contours of the head and ears.
  • Use a combination of short, quick strokes and longer, flowing lines to create variation in the fur length and texture. This will help to capture the wolf's shaggy appearance.
  • Pay attention to the areas where the fur is darker or denser, such as around the eyes and on the neck. Use your shading techniques to create depth and contrast in these areas.

Take your time with this step, as the fur can make or break your wolf head drawing. The more you practice, the more natural and realistic your fur texture will become.

Adding Final Touches

You're almost there! With your shading and fur details in place, it's time for those final touches that will bring your wolf head to life. Here are some suggestions to help you finish your drawing:

  • Refine the eyes by adding highlights (small white circles) to make them appear more shiny and reflective. This small detail can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your wolf head.
  • Erase any remaining guidelines or stray pencil marks. This will give your drawing a cleaner, more polished appearance.
  • Take a step back and evaluate your drawing as a whole. Make any necessary adjustments to the shading, fur texture, or other details to ensure your drawing is cohesive and well-balanced.

And there you have it! You've successfully learned how to draw a wolf head, complete with shading and detailed fur texture. But don't stop here—keep practicing and experimenting with different styles and techniques to continue improving your skills.

5. Practice Tips and Techniques

Great job on learning how to draw a wolf head! But remember, practice makes perfect. To continue improving and mastering your drawing skills, let's go over some helpful practice tips and techniques. These will not only help you perfect drawing wolf heads but also enhance your overall artistic abilities.

Warm-Up Exercises

Just like athletes warm up before a game, artists can benefit from warming up their hands and minds before diving into a drawing session. Warm-up exercises help to loosen up your hand muscles and get your creative juices flowing. Here are a couple of simple warm-up exercises you can try:

  • Loose circles: Draw a series of circles in various sizes, focusing on smooth, fluid lines. This helps to train your hand to move freely and confidently.
  • Line exercises: Practice drawing straight lines, zigzags, and wavy lines. This helps to improve your control over different types of lines, which are essential when learning how to draw a wolf head or any other subject.

Remember, the goal of warm-up exercises is not to create a perfect drawing, but to prepare your hand and mind for the main drawing session.

Drawing from Reference

Drawing from reference is a valuable technique for improving your drawing skills. By using reference images, you can observe and study the anatomy, proportions, and details of your subject, which is especially helpful when drawing realistic wolf heads.

To get started, find a variety of wolf images, paying attention to different angles, poses, and lighting conditions. As you practice, try to capture the nuances of the wolf's facial features, fur texture, and overall proportions. This will help you develop a deeper understanding of the wolf's anatomy and improve your ability to draw a wolf head from memory or imagination.

Experimenting with Different Styles

Once you've mastered the basics of how to draw a wolf head, don't be afraid to experiment with different styles and techniques. This will not only keep your drawing journey fresh and exciting but also help you discover your unique artistic voice. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Cartoon style: Simplify the wolf's features and exaggerate certain elements, like the eyes or ears, to create a more stylized, playful version of a wolf head.
  • Realistic style: Focus on capturing the subtle details and textures of the wolf's fur, eyes, and facial features, using more advanced shading techniques to create a lifelike appearance.
  • Abstract style: Break away from traditional representations and explore the wolf head through abstract shapes, colors, and lines, allowing your creativity to take the lead.

The possibilities are endless, so don't be afraid to think outside the box and push the boundaries of your artistic abilities. Remember, learning how to draw a wolf head is just the beginning—keep practicing, experimenting, and growing as an artist, and you'll soon be creating amazing artwork that you can be proud of.

If you enjoyed learning how to draw a wolf head and want to expand your skills in drawing animals, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'Basic Animal Anatomy for Artists' by Viktoria. This workshop will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of animal anatomy, helping you create more accurate and lifelike drawings of various creatures. Don't miss out on this opportunity to take your animal drawing skills to the next level!