Learn how to draw a Tropical Fish with a step by step tutorial. This one has some really fun stripes and spikes to add to the body.
Tropical fish are a type of fish that live in the tropical waters, like those that are near the equator. They can live in both fresh water like lakes and salt water like oceans. Tropical fish are popular choices for aquariums because of their bright colors, which come from the iridescent cells found on their body.
Many marine tropical fish live among or in close to coral reefs. Coral reefs make up a complex ecosystems with lots of biodiversity. Hundreds of species can exist in a small area of a healthy reef, many of them hidden or well camouflaged by the colorful reef plants.
This tropical fish is fun to draw because it has such an unusual shape. Instead of the usual curved body, it is almost like a hexagon with rounded corners. The spikes and strips are very different from your average fish, and will help students appreciated just how many different types of fish live in our oceans.
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 website have a dashed line running through the center of each step, both in a 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 body of the fish starts on the right side of the paper, centered from the top and bottom. It’s important to draw that shape large and to the side so that students end up with a fish that fills their paper.
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 Tropical Fish drawing project.
Use the Button below to Download a PDF Tutorial
New! Coloring Page Gallery
Here’s a new option for busy teachers and parents. You can now easily download this drawing as a coloring page with the red button below. Just click to open it as a PDF, and save it to your desktop. You’ll have a free 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 following the drawing tutorial. For many more fun things to color, please see my COLORING PAGE GALLERY It’s never been easier to see and download so many all in one place!
Tropical Fish Coloring Page
Materials for How to Draw a Tropical Fish
- 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.
Step by Step Directions for How to Draw a Tropical Fish
Time needed: 1 hour.
How to Draw a Tropical Fish
- Start the back half of the body.
- Add the front half of the body.
- Draw a tail with the shapes shown.
- Add lips, eye and stripes.
- Draw lines in the tail and spikes on top.
- Add two fins in the back.
- Draw lines in the fins. Draw two flippers.
- Add coral and a sand line.
- Trace with a marker and color with lots of bright colors.