By: Alice Hendon
Anyone has the power to experience art by following instructions and using the right tools. By following this step by step tutorial, you too can draw the beautiful Grevy’s zebra!
There are many free sites online where you can download photos to use when illustrating. I knew I wanted to draw head and shoulders, so I found five photos of Grevy’s zebras in poses that were cohesive with the vision I had in my head.
I drew my zebras using a light box. Light boxes are an excellent way to learn how to draw, transfer and trace with ease regardless of skill level. If you don’t have a light box, I recommend using a bright light on a glass tabletop.
Take the photo you want to use and place it on the light box.
Then, place a sheet of regular computer paper on top and turn on the light. The light box will shine light through the image and through the paper placed on top, allowing you to trace the outline of the zebra.
Using the Zebra STEEL M-301 Mechanical Pencil, begin drawing over the lines of the zebra on the left. I used the main photo of the two zebras for the head, and the photo showcasing the side view of the shoulder and upper hip for the rest of the body.
For the second zebra, I wanted the head to be more front facing. I used the third image I saved and using the light box, added it to the pencil sketch.
For the body of the zebra, I used the same photo I began with, flipping the image over to draw the reverse side. The really great thing about light boxes is they can handle just about any thin to medium weight layer.
Now, for the fun part. Place the computer sheet image sketched in pen on the light box first. Next, place a sheet of white cardstock on top of the computer paper and turn the light on. This will allow you to see the design underneath, and sketch your zebra on a higher quality paper. Use the STEEL M-301 Mechanical Pencil to sketch the zebra stripes onto your final copy.
Here is my final pencil sketch on the heavier cardstock.
Use the black Sarasa Fineliner and the Technical Drawing Pens to go over pencil lines and fill in the stripes. The brown Sarasa Fineliner works well for the coloring in the eyes. The 0.1 Technical Drawing Pen is ideal for the little fine lines in the mane that are so distinctive to the Grevy’s zebra.
Continue filling in the stripes, going over pencil lines and adding details.
Now, use the M-301 Mechanical Pencil to add shading to my zebras, giving the illustration dimension. Use a paper tortillon to blend in the pencil shading.Take a final look at your zebras and add any stripes, shading or details you see fit. I hope this encourages you to embark on your own creative journey!
Check out more of Alice Hendon’s work at alicehendon.com.