How do you draw the iconic kangaroo? This animal is strange to conceive and a weird one to draw. These fascinating creatures are the only large animals that use hopping as a form of locomotion.
The uniqueness of a kangaroo comes from its powerful hind legs and tail that have adapted for leaping.
The Anatomy of a Kangaroo for Drawing
As always, we will start with the anatomy of the kangaroo to understand what we see. Even though there are many species of kangaroos, we will focus on learning to draw the red kangaroo for the sake of simplicity.
The kangaroo has a head similar to that of a deer, a strong tail and a heavy set base.
This creature has a small ribcage and a large spherical pelvic region. The tail is used as a “fifth leg” for balance and propels them forward. Its long tail can be used in your drawings to generate a strong line of action for dynamic movement.
An understanding of the bones and their structure will help immensely in your sketches. We will simplify the skeletal structure for ease.
Learning how to see the basic shapes in all your animal studies is key to developing your ability to draw naturally. Keeping these elements in mind will help you craft the animal’s proportions and shapes easily.
We can indicate the hips and chest as ovals to create the mass of the body. The cranium is drawn as a circle. Extrude a rectangle for the muzzle.
The arms of the kangaroo start at the scapula that is hidden under muscle and fur.
Notice the long lower leg bones of the kangaroo for propelling and balance.
Let’s Draw a Kangaroo Face
Follow along with these ten step-by-step instructions on how to draw a kangaroo head.
1. Draw a circle for the cranium, the bones that form the head.
2. Indicate the angle of the tilt of the head. Keep in mind that it is a sphere and not a flat surface.
3. Note the distance between the eyes. Create the surface out of which the muzzle extrudes. It is similar to a tapering rectangle, but notice how it has many planes.
4. Draw the eye sockets. As you get more experience in drawing you will learn to see the forms that lie under all the fur and muscle.
5. Draw the jaw and connect it to the cheeks. This rectangular shape along the jawline is a prominent feature in the kangaroo’s face, called the masseter muscle.
6. Mark the areas in the head out of which you will draw the ears. Notice the distance it is from the centre of the head and eyes.
7. Now that you have all the fundamental construction lines, you can outline the face. Don’t get caught up in the details! Notice the negative shapes (empty spaces between your lines) that make up the angles and curves of the kangaroo’s face.
8. Start with a cylindrical form at the base, then add the folds of skin and fur. This construction method is useful in drawing many other animals’ ears as well.
Make the ears a little asymmetrical as it gives the animal character and feels more natural.
9. Draw the eyeball in the eye socket. Do not fill the eye socket with a large circle as there are many muscles around the eyeball; together they all form the eye.
10. The upper and lower eyelids wrap around the eyeball and connect at the corners. Keep in mind the spherical nature of the shape of the eye.
We shall explore how to draw the kangaroo body below now that we know how to sketch the head with accuracy.
How to Draw the Feet and Hands
A striking feature of the kangaroo is its large, heavy hind paws, thick muscular legs and small forepaws.
The forepaws are small with five toes, curved and clawed. Similar to human hands, they are used for eating, grabbing and grooming. The forepaws are used for “crawl-walking” along with the tail. This allows them to move slowly.
A kangaroo cannot move its hind legs independently, so it hops. A kangaroo hopping uses less energy than a four-legged animal running at the same speed. Its body has adapted to a harsh, hot environment with little water and poor food sources.
How to Draw the Forepaws
1. Start with a long cylinder for the forearm and a smaller cylinder for the palm.
2. Draw lines to indicate the fingers. Notice the arc that the fingers form.
3. Draw little circles to indicate the knuckles of the fingers. Add another pair of circles at the wrist to depict the end of the radial and ulnar bones.
4. When outlining the hand notice that the forearm is not uniformly cylindrical, it is wider at the top and bottom and thinner in the middle. The fingers are widest at the knuckles. You can use your own hands as a reference to understand the shapes the fingers create.
5. We will finish off the forepaws with its claws.
How to Draw the Hind Paws?
1. With the hind paws, we will also start with two cylinders to represent the shins.
2. Extrude a cone shape from the front of the cylinders for the feet. Draw and extend a line to indicate the large middle toe.
3. Add little cylinders on the sides of the foot for the smaller toes. Remember that the toes on the inside of the feet have two small claws. (refer to the foot anatomy)
4. Now that you have the construction lines set up, you can draw the outlines of the feet, broadening and tapering where needed.
5. We will finish off the hind paws with their claws.
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How to Draw a Kangaroo – putting it all together
1. Start by drawing a loose sketch. Flesh out the major masses such as the chest, hips and head. Add the limbs and tail as a ‘stick’ frame. Be aware of the proportions, always comparing with the areas surrounding the shapes. Keep it simple. You can always adjust for mistakes later.
2. Turn the head into a sphere and the limbs into cylinders. The thigh can be a ‘box’ and the feet ‘cones’. All the forms can be interpreted as basic shapes.
3. Now let us add the shapes to draw the face. Add the cylinders for the ears, a box for the muzzle and add the cheek shape in.
4. Now that you have the foundation sketched in, you can draw the outlines while keeping in mind the anatomy of the animal.
5. Next, you can add the eyeball and nose. Then add the lines for the fingers and toes as explained earlier.
6. Add the details of the eyes, forepaws and claws of the hind feet.
7. A good drawing always has a foundation sketch. This is required to make your shading look good. You can now add your textures and colours!
Pin this drawing guide to your Pinterest boards so that you can return to it and use this method to draw other birds. Please share it on your favourite social media if you know anyone who would find it useful.
I hope this tutorial helps you understand how to draw kangaroos. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below. I would love to see how your drawings turn out. Tag me on your favourite social media @drawingwithpri when you use this tutorial.