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How to Draw a Bear

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Of all the mammals, grizzly bears are one of the easiest to draw—they are big and plump, with thick fur concealing the silhouette, and they’re plantigrade, so their legs are similar to ours. Moreover, their characteristic face with tiny eyes and a huge muzzle makes it easy to keep the proportions right. So, even if you’re a complete beginner at drawing, you can safely try drawing a realistic bear with me!

This is going to be a very simple tutorial about drawing a bear in a single pose. If you want to learn more about drawing bears, their anatomy and species, try this tutorial instead:

1. How to Start a Drawing of a Bear

Proportions are the key to a realistic drawing of an animal. If the legs are too short or the head too small, even the most elaborate details will not make it look good. 

That’s why we should start every drawing with a rough sketch of the proportions before we invest any time in the details. Such a rough sketch can show us the whole silhouette in a simple way, so we can see the mistakes when they still can be fixed.

This rough sketch should be drawn lightly, with subtle lines that can be easily erased. Draw this way until I tell you to change the technique.

Step 1

Sketch an oval. It doesn’t need to be perfect or drawn with a continuous line. This will be the huge body of our bear.

bear drawing torso oval

Step 2

Divide the height of the oval into halves.

bear drawing torso proportions

Step 3

Under the oval, mark a distance slightly shorter than half of the oval’s height. This will show us how high the body is over the ground and will create a proper proportion between the torso and legs.

bear drawing legs proportion

Step 4

Draw a “perspective cross” under this line. This will show us the perspective of the scene and help place all the elements of the body accordingly. Without it, our bear would look flat and boring.

bear drawing persepctive cross

Step 5

Sketch the rhythm of the legs, placing the “paws” on the perspective cross. Draw the whole hind legs and the lower half of the forelegs.

bear drawing legs rhythm lines

Step 6

Sketch the huge arms and shoulders using a “6” shape.

bear drawing arm shoulder

Remember about the perspective!

bear drawing shoulder mass

Step 7

The length of the neck is one of the trickiest spots when it comes to drawing animal proportions. To keep the bear’s body correct, borrow the length of the neck from the length of the leg.

bear drawing neck proportion

Step 8

Speaking of tricky spots, the size of the head is another one. Bears don’t really have round heads, but they seem to, so let’s draw this basic silhouette of it first.

bear drawing round head

Step 9

Let’s set the proportions of the face as well. First, mark the forehead and the eyebrow line. Remember that the head is not flat—you’re drawing in perspective!

bear drawing eyebrow forehead

Step 10

Draw the line of the nose and the nose itself on the end.

bear drawing nose line

Step 11

Draw the eye sockets. Sketching them instead of the eyes at this point gives us a better picture of the whole face—we can imagine the eyes, the cheekbones, and the eyebrows without actually drawing them.

bear drawing eye sockets

Step 12

Sketch the width of the nose bridge.

bear drawing nose bridge

Step 13

Draw the muzzle using a teardrop shape.

bear drawing simple muzzle

Step 14

To better see the 3D form of the muzzle, sketch its flat front.

bear drawing 3d muzzle

2. How to Draw a Bear’s Body

Your sketch should already look bear-like, even though it lacks so many details. Look at it closely and try to notice if anything looks amiss. It’s the last moment to fix the proportions! But if you’re happy with them, let’s add the big muscle and fur masses that give volume to the body.

Step 1

Draw wide, upside-down “cups” right above the paws. This will add a proper width to the area.

bear drawing paws width

Step 2

Sketch the width of the paws using the right perspective.

bear drawing paws flat on the ground

Step 3

Sketch a rough outline of the paws.

bear drawing paws outline

Step 4

To add volume to the feet, draw two of their sides. Just sketch them roughly; their shape is not actually that important.

bear drawing paws sides

Step 5

Now, the easy part: sketch the outline of the plump legs…

bear drawing legs outline

… the thigh…

bear drawing thigh

… and the shoulder hump.

bear drawing shoulder hump

Step 6

Imagine the ears stuck to a headband. Put it on top of the forehead, following the perspective.

bear drawing ears

Step 7

Draw the cheek-mane that makes the head look so round.

bear drawing cheek mane

Step 8

Finish the shape of the neck.

bear drawing neck shape

3. How to Draw a Bear’s Paws

The paws of a bear are quite unusual in the animal world—they actually resemble human feet! This makes them very easy to draw.

Step 1

Draw a circle in front of each paw.

bear drawing middle toe

Step 2

Draw two other circles on both sides of it. Follow the perspective!

bear drawing side toes

Step 3

Draw two more circles slightly behind the former ones.

bear drawing paw toes

Step 4

Add the curves of the claws over each circle.

bear drawing claw curves

Step 5

Outline the claws. Don’t make them too sharp!

bear drawing claws outline

Step 6

Finally, add the paw pad under the claws. They’re not always that visible, but they’ll add some detail to the paws and make the whole drawing more interesting.

bear drawing paw pads

4. How to Draw a Bear’s Head

Next step: drawing all the details of a bear’s face. With all the basic proportions already in place, it shouldn’t be too hard, so just bear with me (sorry!).

Step 1

Draw a circle on the end of the muzzle—this will give us a nice outline for the nose.

bear drawing simple nose

Step 2

“Cut” it in the front.

bear drawing nose cut

Step 3

Add the nose holes.

bear drawing nose holes

Step 4

Add a detailing shape under them.

bear drawing nose detail

Step 5

Outline the whole nose.

bear drawing nose outline

Step 6

Divide the rest of the nose bridge into halves.

bear drawing nose bridge guide line

Step 7

Use this guide line to draw a “heart” on the forehead.

bear drawing forehead heart

Step 8

Draw the space for the eyes right below the eyebrow—the eyes will be tiny!

bear drawing eye space

Step 9

Time for the actual eyes:

bear drawing eyes

Step 10

Draw the eyelids around the eyes.

bear drawing simple eyelids

Step 11

Give some thickness to the edges of the eyelids.

bear drawing eyelids edges

Step 12

Draw the round pupils.

bear drawing pupils

Step 13

Finish the eyelids.

bear drawing full eyelids

Step 14

Draw the “eyebrows”.

bear drawing eyebrows
bear drawing full eyebrows

Step 15

Draw a circle on the front of the muzzle: this is where the whiskers are.

bear drawing shisker area

Step 16

Draw the mouth.

bear drawing mouth

Step 17

Add some details to the mouth.

bear drawing mouth detail

Step 18

Stick a “butterfly” to the whole face to create some guide lines for its final shape.

bear drawing head shape

5. How to Finish a Drawing of a Bear

Even though very complex, these were just the guide lines. Now it’s time to create the actual drawing with all its details! Sharpen your pencil or take a darker tool—we’ll be drawing the serious, visible lines now, so don’t be afraid to press harder.

Step 1

Outline the details using short lines simulating fur. Keep them “open”—don’t outline a whole closed shape by accident when drawing the fur. Don’t try to draw all the single hairs as well—it will look better if you draw “fur masses” instead, “cutting” them from time to time.

bear drawing face fur
bear drawing torso fur
bear drawing paws fur
bear drawing fur finished

Step 2

After you draw all the details, make the outer outline darker/thicker. This will make the picture more interesting even without colors.

bear drawing dark outline

Step 3

Subtly “color” some parts by darkening them. The dark patches around the eyes, for example, are very important for the look of a grizzly bear.

bear drawing eye patches

Step 4

If you want to shade your bear, before you start, sketch the areas of shade lightly. This will help you plan it all and avoid mistakes.

bear drawing plan shading

Step 5

Shade the bear with simple straight lines accentuating the 3D form of the animal.

bear drawing simple shading

Step 6

To make the whole body even more 3D in its look, shade the “top” as well.

bear drawing top shading

Great Job!

Now you know how to draw a bear step by step! If you enjoyed this tutorial and would like to try something similar, we have more simple tutorials on how to draw various animals:

Or maybe you’re interested in drawing in general? If you want to learn more about using different tools and drawing techniques, you’ll love these tutorials:

how to draw bear step by step