Learning how to draw a Manatee gets easy when you start with a step by step tutorial. These large and gentle creatures could use a little extra attention too.
Manatees, sometimes called sea cows, are pretty amazing aquatic mammals. Despite only living on plants (which makes them herbivores) they can live for up to 60 or 70 years. Or maybe because they only eat plants, they can live that long. Who knows, but that’s another conversation.
Meanwhile, these fascinating creatures are not officially endangered, but they are on a watch list, which is just one step away. It seems like they deserve some attention too, so this new tutorial is dedicated to them. It tries to simplify their adorably chubby body so young artists of all ages can learn how to draw a really good likeness of one.
Getting Started with Drawing Guides
The best way to get students off to a good start to any drawing lesson is to show them how to use guides as a reference point.
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.
For instance, as seen in Step 1 below, the tilted oval for the body needs to be sitting near the top of the paper, and a little to the right of center. It’s important to draw that shape big enough and high enough on the sheet of paper so that there’s room for the head and tail underneath.
When students get their drawing off to a good start, there’s a better chance of them feeling successful by the time they are done. Drawing skills are all about getting the size and placement of lines on paper, so having some visual reference point to get started, will always help anyone learn how to be a little more accurate.
So does that mean students need to get out a ruler to draw a big fat line 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 sheet of 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 the manatee drawing project.
Preview of Manatee Coloring Page
- 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 needed: 35 minutes.
How to Draw a Manatee
- Draw a tilted egg shape.
- Add an upside down C.
- Add the mouth shape on the left.
- Draw an eye and nose details.
- Add the tail shape below.
- Finish the tail details.
- Draw two flippers.
- Add small fold lines and background.
- Trace with a marker and color.