manatee how to draw

The Ultimate Guide on How to Draw a Manatee: Tips, Step-by-Step Guide and FAQs

Manatees are one of the most beloved creatures of the sea. Also known as “sea cows,” they are gentle giants that can weigh as much as 3,500 pounds. With their adorable faces and large, blubbery bodies, it’s no wonder people want to know how to draw them. So, in this article, we’ll dive into the world of manatee drawing and provide you with the ultimate guide to help you do just that.

Tips for Drawing a Manatee

Before we get started with the step-by-step guide on how to draw a manatee, here are some tips to keep in mind.

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1. Observe Manatees

Observing manatees in their natural habitat or photographs/videos of them can provide you with some great ideas when it comes to drawing them. Study their body shape, size, and skin texture, and take note of their unique markings.

2. Start with Basic Shapes

Start with basic shapes and lines for the manatee’s body, head, and flippers. This helps you create a rough sketch and provides a framework to build on as you add details later.

3. Focus on Proportions

It’s important to get the proportions right when drawing a manatee. They have a large, plump body, a rounded head with a small snout, and a pair of flippers. Pay attention to the size of each element and how they relate to each other.

4. Use a Light Touch

When sketching, use a light touch. You will be erasing and refining your drawing as you go. So, it’s essential not to create heavy lines that will be difficult to erase or hide later.

5. Incorporate Detail

The devil is in the details when it comes to drawing manatees. Add small details like the wrinkles and folds on their skin, the shape of their flippers, and their unique markings to bring your manatee to life.

How to Draw a Manatee: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we’ve covered the tips that you need to have in mind, let’s dive into our step-by-step guide on how to draw a manatee.

Step 1: Sketch a Circle for the Manatee’s Head

Start by sketching a circle in the middle of your paper. This circle will be the manatee’s head.

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Step 2: Add a Large Oval for the Manatee’s Body

Sketch a larger oval below the manatee’s head. This oval will be the manatee’s body.

Step 3: Draw Two Flippers

Draw two flippers on the manatee’s body, one on each side. Start by sketching a straight line from the bottom of the head to the top of the body, then draw two curved lines for the flipper. Repeat for the other side.

Step 4: Draw the Tail

Draw a large, flattened tail at the back of the manatee’s body. The tail is wider than the body, so make sure to take that into account.

Step 5: Add the Snout and Nostrils

Draw a small, rounded snout in the center of the manatee’s face. Add two small openings for the nostrils.

Step 6: Draw the Eyes and Ears

Draw two small, round eyes on either side of the manatee’s head. Add small dots in the center of each eye to create a highlight. Draw small, rounded ears on top of the head.

Step 7: Add Details

Add small details like wrinkles and folds in the manatee’s skin, the shape of the flippers, and unique markings on their bodies.

Step 8: Erase Unnecessary Lines

Erase any unnecessary lines that you drew while sketching. Make sure to keep the essential framework in place.

Step 9: Add Color

Once you are happy with your sketch, it’s time to add some color. Manatees are gray-brown in color, so choose a color that reflects that. You can add lighter and darker shades to create depth and texture in your drawing.

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FAQs About Drawing a Manatee

Q: What type of paper should I use for drawing a manatee?

A: You can use any type of paper you like for drawing a manatee. However, heavier weight papers are better as they can handle watercolor or markers better, in case you choose to color your manatee illustration.

Q: What type of pencils should I use?

A: You can use any type of pencil that you like, but we recommend using a softer pencil like a 2B or a 4B for sketching.

Q: How long does it take to draw a manatee?

A: The time it takes to draw a manatee depends on your skill level and the level of detail that you want to include in your drawing. However, it should take no more than an hour to complete a basic sketch.

Q: Do I need to be an expert at drawing to draw a manatee?

A: No, you do not need to be an expert artist to draw a manatee. With our step-by-step guide, anyone can learn how to draw a manatee, regardless of their skill level.

Q: How can I practice drawing manatees?

A: The best way to practice drawing manatees is by observing them in their natural habitat or through photographs and videos. You can also find tutorials online that can help you improve your skills.


Drawing a manatee can be a lot of fun and a great way to improve your artistic skills. With our step-by-step guide and tips for drawing a manatee, you will be able to create a realistic and fun illustration of these beloved sea cows. Don’t forget to practice and experiment with different colors and styles to create unique illustrations of your own.

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