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How to Draw a Ballerina

Learn how to draw a Ballerina in a graceful dancing pose. They were a favorite of French artist Edward Degas.

How to Draw a Ballerina
Ballerina drawing, finished with marker and color
How to Draw a Ballerina
Time lapse of Ballerina drawing tutorial

While most Impressionists tended to work only in oils, French artist Edgar Degas took it a step further, rendering his ballerinas in paint, pastel, pencil, ink, and even wax. The one sculpture that he did create — Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen — has become one of his most famous works of art.

Degas regularly visited the Paris’ premier opera house, with a sketchbook in hand, to observe ballet classes and watch rehearsals. He also invited ballet dancers to pose in his studio which allowed him to more precisely document their moves.

Degas’ pastel drawings of dancers are among his most well-known works. Many of the pieces capture the wonder of the ballet through compositions, quick sketches, and backdrops spotlit with saturated color.

Throughout his career, Degas produced approximately 1,500 depictions of dancers, culminating in a collection of paintings, pastels, and sculptures that comprise over half of his entire collection.

This step by step tutorial will help young students draw a ballerina, breaking down the steps to the graceful pose in small increments. It takes practice to learn how to draw the body with the right proportion, and with the curves of the muscles in the right place too.

How to Draw a Ballerina
Preview of Ballerina drawing tutorial



Time needed: 30 minutes

How to Draw a Ballerina

  1. Draw a round head with bangs.

  2. Add simple eyes, nose and mouth.

  3. Draw two ears and hair buns.

  4. Start the body with a curved torso.

  5. Draw the straight arm on the left.

  6. Add the other arm with a bend.

  7. Draw a ballet skirt.

  8. Draw two legs, lining them up with
    the waist as shown.

  9. Trace with marker and color.

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