How to Draw Mythical Beasts: A Step-by-Step Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 5 min read


  1. Gather your drawing supplies
  2. Choose your mythical beast
  3. Sketch the basic shape of the beast
  4. Draw the outlines
  5. Add details to your beast
  6. Start shading and texturing
  7. Add final touches and highlights

Imagine bringing to life a creature from your favorite folklore tale or myth, a beast whose image has captured your imagination. With this step-by-step guide, you'll learn how to draw a mythical beast from folklore. By following these easy steps, even your griffin, dragon, or unicorn will look like it could leap straight off the page.

Gather your drawing supplies

To bring your mythical beast to life, you'll need to gather a few essential drawing tools. These supplies are the key to unlocking your mythical drawing adventure. So, let's get started:

  • Pencils: A good old HB pencil is your best friend for sketching. But don't forget to include a few B pencils for shading and an H pencil for finer details.
  • Drawing Paper: Quality matters when it comes to paper. A medium-texture drawing paper is perfect for sketching mythical beasts.
  • Eraser: Everyone makes mistakes, and that's okay. A good eraser is an artist's secret weapon. Opt for a quality kneaded eraser—it's gentle on the paper and great for erasing without leaving smudges.
  • Sharpener: A dull pencil can ruin your drawing. Keep a sharpener handy to ensure your lines are always clean and precise.

Remember, the quality of your drawing supplies can impact your end result. It's worth investing in the right tools. Now, you're all set to start sketching your mythical beast from folklore.

Choose your mythical beast

Now that you're armed with your drawing supplies, it's time to choose your beast. Folklore is filled with a plethora of mythical beasts, each more fascinating than the last. From the majestic griffin, the fearsome dragon, to the magical unicorn—there's a beast for every imaginative artist.

As you decide, consider the complexity of the beast you want to draw. If you're a beginner, a simpler creature like a unicorn might be a good starting point. For those looking for a challenge, a multi-headed hydra or a detailed dragon could be just the thing.

Once you've selected your mythical beast from folklore, find several reference images. These will guide your sketching process and help ensure your drawing is as accurate as possible. But remember, this is your drawing—feel free to add your own creative touches to make your beast truly unique.

Have you chosen your beast? Great! Now, let's move on to the next step.

Sketch the basic shape of the beast

Before you start with the intricate details of your mythical beast, it's best to lay down the groundwork first. By sketching the basic shape, you can map out your beast's structure — its size, pose, and proportions.

First, visualize your chosen mythical beast from folklore in your mind. Is it a dragon with a long, winding body? Or a unicorn with a slender, horse-like figure? Draw rough shapes to represent different parts of its body. Circles or ovals are perfect for heads, bodies, and muscular areas, while lines can represent limbs and tails.

At this stage, don't worry about the details. Your sketch doesn't have to be perfect. These shapes are just placeholders that will help you draw your beast more accurately. Also, remember to keep your lines light, making it easier to adjust or erase them as you refine your sketch.

Done with the basic shapes? Good job! Now you're ready to take the next step towards creating your mythical beast drawing.

Draw the outlines

With your basic sketch ready, it's time to add more structure to your mythical beast. Drawing the outlines will help you define your beast's form and make it clearer in your artwork.

Start by tracing over your sketch with more decisive lines. Remember to use smooth, flowing strokes. Keeping your hand relaxed can help you achieve this. As you draw the outlines, start to incorporate the unique characteristics of your beast. Is it a mermaid with flowing hair and a fish-like tail? Or perhaps a griffin with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle? Don't forget to include these key features in your outline.

Take your time with this step. Drawing the outlines of a mythical beast from folklore is a delicate process. It's where the creature starts to come alive on paper. And remember, it's okay to make mistakes. If a line doesn't look right, just erase it and try again. This is all part of the drawing process.

Congratulations! You're one step closer to creating your mythical beast masterpiece.

Add details to your beast

Now that you've got your outline, it's time to bring your mythical beast to life with some intricate details. This is where you get to flex your creativity and make your beast truly unique.

Does your beast have scales, fur, or feathers? Add these textures in. Maybe it has a long, winding tail or fiery eyes. These finer details can really make your beast stand out. Remember, you're learning how to draw a mythical beast from folklore, so don't shy away from adding in fantastical elements.

Adding details can seem a bit daunting at first, but don't worry. Take it one step at a time. You might find it useful to focus on one part of the beast at a time. Maybe start with the head and work your way down. Before you know it, you'll have a beast that's bristling with details.

So, keep your pencil moving, your imagination flowing, and remember to have fun with it. After all, part of the joy of drawing mythical beasts is getting to create something that's uniquely yours. And who knows, you might just surprise yourself with what you come up with!

Start shading and texturing

As you continue on your journey learning how to draw a mythical beast from folklore, we've now reached an exciting stage: shading and texturing. These steps will add depth and dimension to your beast, making it leap off the page.

Shading is all about playing with light and dark. Where does the light hit your beast? Those areas should be lighter. Where are the shadows? Make those parts darker. This will give your beast a three-dimensional look.

Texturing, on the other hand, is about giving your beast a sense of touch. If your beast has scales, for example, you'd want to indicate that with your pencil strokes. The same goes for fur, feathers, or any other textures your beast might have. This is your chance to make your beast feel real.

Shading and texturing can be challenging, but they're also a lot of fun. They're a chance for you to experiment and see what works best for your drawing. So, grab your pencil and let's bring your beast to life!

Add final touches and highlights

Now that you've gotten the hang of how to draw a mythical beast from folklore, there's just one more step to tackle: adding the final touches and highlights. This is your chance to make your beast truly shine.

Final touches could include adding more details to the face, enhancing the beast's expression, or perhaps adding some extra textures. It's these small things that can really make your beast stand out.

And then there are the highlights. These are the spots where the light hits your beast the strongest, making them appear brighter. To add highlights, you simply need to erase a small portion of your shading. This will create a contrast that gives your beast a shiny, three-dimensional look.

Adding the final touches and highlights is like putting the cherry on top of a sundae. It's the finishing touch that brings everything together and makes your drawing truly complete. So sharpen your pencil, take a deep breath, and prepare to add the final magic to your mythical beast.

If you enjoyed this step-by-step guide on drawing mythical beasts and want to further explore the world of creating fantastical creatures, check out the workshop 'Inventing Gods & Monsters' by Cat Johnston. In this workshop, you'll dive deeper into the process of designing and inventing your own gods and monsters, expanding your creative horizons and bringing your imagination to life.