How to draw emperor penguin?

How to Draw Emperor Penguin: A Step-by-Step Guide

Emperor Penguin Drawing Basics

If you're a penguin lover and want to learn how to draw an emperor penguin, you're in the right place! Drawing a realistic emperor penguin may seem challenging, but with some simple steps, you can create a beautiful artwork. Start by gathering your drawing materials, including pencils, paper, and an eraser. Next, study reference photos of emperor penguins to understand their anatomy and unique features.

Begin your sketch by drawing a basic oval shape as the body of the penguin. This will serve as a guideline for the rest of the drawing. Add a smaller oval on top for the head, slightly overlapping the body. Then, sketch the beak, which is triangular and pointed. Don't forget to add the eyes, which are often round and shiny. Once you've established the basic shapes, you can start adding details like feathers and flippers.

Step 1: Drawing the Body

Start by adding more definition to the body shape. Use gentle curves to create the penguin's plump and rounded form. Make sure to pay attention to the curvature of the back and the distinctive crease where the head meets the body. Add some feather-like details to the body using short, curved strokes. Take your time and be patient as you work on getting the proportions and shape just right.

Next, draw the flippers on either side of the body. These are shaped like narrow wings and should be positioned close to the bottom of the oval body. Emphasize the overlapping feathers on the edges of the flippers to give a realistic look. Remember to keep referring to your reference photos to capture the unique characteristics of an emperor penguin.

Now, draw the feet and tail. Emperor penguins have webbed feet, which are essential for swimming. Sketch the feet with curved shapes and add the individual toes using short lines. For the tail, create a small triangle shape at the back of the body, slightly hidden by the flippers.

Step 2: Adding Facial Details

Focus on the head and face of the penguin. Start by drawing the beak, which is long and pointed. Add a small, curved line to indicate the nostrils near the base of the beak. Then, draw the eyes, making sure they are symmetrical and well-placed. Add a small highlight to each eye to make them appear shiny and alive.

Afterwards, add the unique facial features found in an emperor penguin. These include the distinct yellow and orange patches on the sides of the head. Use light, delicate strokes to create these markings. Take your time to capture the details accurately, as they contribute to the overall charm of the emperor penguin.

Shading and Coloring

Once your pencil sketch is complete, you can add shading and color to bring your drawing to life. Start by adding light shading to the body, using a darker pencil or gently pressing down with your pencil to create shadows. Pay attention to the light source in your reference photo to determine where the shadows should fall.

For the white belly of the penguin, use a blending tool or a clean tissue to softly blend the pencil lines. This will create a smooth and realistic texture. Use a lighter shade of gray for the gray parts of the body, being careful to follow the contour of the penguin's plump form.

Step 3: Adding Texture and Depth

To add texture and depth to your drawing, focus on the feathers. Use short, curved strokes to create the fluffy appearance of the feathers. Pay attention to the direction of the strokes, as they should follow the contour of the penguin's body. Add more layers of strokes to areas that need more depth and shading.

Next, work on adding shadows and highlights. Darken areas where shadows are cast, such as under the flippers and around the eyes and beak. Use an eraser to create highlights on the beak, eyes, and belly to make them stand out. This will give your drawing a three-dimensional effect.

Finally, add a hint of color to your drawing. Use a light touch with colored pencils or watercolors to add subtle blue and yellow hues to the beak and eyes. Be careful not to overpower the drawing with color, as the black and white contrast is an essential characteristic of emperor penguins.

Adding Background and Final Touches

Your emperor penguin is almost complete! Consider adding a simple background to enhance your drawing. You can draw icebergs or a snowy landscape to create a sense of the penguin's natural habitat. Use lighter colors or shading techniques to create distance and make the penguin stand out.

Step 4: Cleaning Up and Final Details

Take a step back and assess your drawing. Make any necessary adjustments to proportions, shapes, or shading. Use an eraser to clean up any stray lines or smudges. Pay attention to small details like the eyes, feathers, and markings to ensure they are well-defined and accurate.

Once you are satisfied with your drawing, you can add your signature or any final touches. Consider using a fine-tip pen to outline certain areas or add additional details. This will give your drawing a polished look.


Drawing an emperor penguin may seem challenging at first, but with practice and patience, you can create a beautiful artwork. Start by learning the basic shapes and proportions of the penguin's body, then add details and textures to bring it to life. Remember to study reference photos and use shading and coloring techniques to add depth and realism. With these steps, you'll be able to draw an emperor penguin that reflects their unique beauty and charm.

Discover our Authentic Penguin Store


Animals plush penguinAnimals plush penguin
Animals plush penguin
Sale price$24.99
Cute penguin keychain45967306490102
Cute penguin keychain
Sale price$24.99
45911841276150Opal penguin necklace
Opal penguin necklace
Sale price$74.99 Regular price$99.99

Our Favourites

Tout voir
White penguin figurineWhite penguin figurine
White penguin figurine
Sale priceFrom $24.99
stuffed plush penguinstuffed plush penguin
Stuffed plush penguin
Sale priceFrom $26.99
Save $25.00
swarovski crystal penguin necklace - Silver
swarovski crystal penguin necklace
Sale price$74.99 Regular price$99.99

See also..

View all
Does a penguin bite hurt? Exploring the Facts

Does a penguin bite hurt? Exploring the Facts

Penguin Store Magazine
Do penguins smell bad?

Do penguins smell bad?

Penguin Store Magazine
Do Penguins Eat People? Debunking the Myths

Do Penguins Eat People? Debunking the Myths

Penguin Store Magazine