Learn how to draw a butterfly and you have the perfect place to practice your symmetrical drawing.
It’s not too hard to understand why so many children AND adults are fascinated with butterflies. Their color and delicate beauty make them endlessly fun to look at.
Many internet tutorials for learning how to draw them, however, I found to be overly simple (as in wings with a few circles) or overly complex (complete monarchs with dozens of shapes).
This project is intended to land in the middle. The outline of the wings land on the center guides, to help students get started, and there are just enough shapes inside to give a realistic look, without getting forever lost in them.
TIP: Try challenging your students to layer crayon color to jazz up their background. You don’t have to use oil pastels to do it, pressing hard with crayons and laying down lots of waxy color can look amazing too! Scroll down to see this lovely purple coloring option.
Using Drawing Guides
You may have noticed that all of the tutorials on this site have a dashed line running through the center of each step, both in the horizontal and vertical direction. If students make their own centered lines on their own paper, before drawing, they will have an easy reference to follow.
The best way to get students off to a good start to any drawing project is to show them how a couple of guides can really help as reference points.
For instance, as seen in Step 1 below, the butterfly body needs to begin in the center of the paper. The top wings then fill the top half of the paper.
Drawing skills are all about seeing where to place one’s lines, so having some visual reference point to get started, will always help anyone learn how to be a little more accurate.
Does that mean then that students need to draw a big fat lines down the center of their paper before they start? Goodness no, please don’t! That will most likely be hard to erase and distract from any finished art. No, simply fold the paper in half both ways, make a crease, and unfold. The beauty is that by the time the drawing is done and colored in, the creases will disappear.
And now, on to our drawing project.
Preview of the Step by Step Butterfly Tutorial
Materials for Butterfly Drawing
- Pencil. The Ticonderoga brand are the most reliable, make nice dark lines when you need them, and are the easiest to erase. Buying the pre-sharpened ones will save busy teachers a lot of time.
- Eraser. Large ones you can hold in your hand do a much better job than just the pencil tip erasers, especially when erasing leftover pencil lines after tracing.
- Black Sharpie Marker. These fine point permanent marker pens make nice black outlines, have a good tip for coloring, and never bleed when they get wet. Use them with good ventilation and add extra paper underneath to protect your tables.
- Prang Crayons. These are a bit softer than other crayons so they sometimes look like oil pastels. They also have a some nice brown shades that Crayola does not have unless you buy their larger boxes.
- Crayola Crayons. The reliable brand that always works well. The 24 pack has some of my favorite golden orange and yellow colors that seem a bit richer and warmer than the ones Prang has.
Time Lapse Drawing of the Butterfly Drawing
Directions for How to Draw a Butterfly
Time needed: 1 hour.
How to Draw a Butterfly
- Draw the body and head on the center line.
- Add two symmetrical top wings.
- Draw two symmetrical bottom wings.
- Start the symmetrical shapes on top.
- Finish the symmetrical shapes.
- Start the bottom symmetrical shapes.
- Add two more shapes on each side.
- Finish the bottom shapes and add antennae.
- Trace with a marker and color.
Coloring Page Gallery
If you are a fan of this Butterfly drawing, I’d like to offer another option. Busy teachers and parents can now just click on the buttons below to open the PDF, then look for a download arrow to save it to your desktop. You’ll have a free Butterfly Coloring Page that you can print as often as you want, for whatever kind of project you want. Use it for younger students that want in on the coloring fun, or as a full size visual aid for those that are just learning how to draw. For more options, please see my Coloring Page Gallery. It’s never been easier to see and download so many coloring pages all in one place!