If you’re a fan of the book or movie, Where the Crawdads Sing, you might be interested in developing a career like Kya, creating drawings of insects, birds, and other wildlife. An excellent place to start might be learning how to draw a butterfly.
Butterflies are a wonderful specimen to start studying and learning how to draw. Not only are there myriad varieties of butterflies to choose from, but they also vary by region.
Even better, the more you study them, the more intricate details you will begin to notice. This will sharpen your skills as an artist, an observer, and a naturalist.
In addition, it might even make you appreciate life more in the process. When we slow down and begin noticing the little things around us, we have an opportunity to really interact with the world we live and operate in.
Therefore, in doing so, we are allowed to acknowledge how amazing that world is. You could stop and smell the roses. Or you could take a moment to dance among the butterflies.
Benefits of Knowing How to Draw a Butterfly
Learning how to slow down and appreciate the world around you might be the only benefit you need to get you started. But there are others.
Drawing is particularly beneficial for children. It increases concentration, encourages creativity and imagination, and develops hand-eye coordination and cognitive, observational, and problem-solving skills.
But let’s be honest, it’s not just children who could benefit from sharpening those skills. People of all ages could improve by learning how to draw a butterfly.
Most Beautiful Butterflies to Draw
There are so many beautiful butterflies out there that you could focus on. In fact, the toughest part of getting started might be deciding which one to draw first.
It will be easier to narrow down if you’re trying to draw regional species. But if you’re simply looking for the most beautiful ones, below are some gorgeous options to consider.
Zebra Longwing Butterfly
This species is found in various locations, from South and Central America to Southern Texas and Florida. As their name implies, they are black, with white stripes on their wings, and consume pollen that makes them toxic to most predators.
Blue Clipper Butterfly
This species is most often seen in forests in South and Southeast Asia. This fast-flying black butterfly is striated with mid to crystalline blue.
Typically found in the rainforests of Central and northern South America, this variety gets its name from its mostly transparent wings, which help to camouflage it in the wild.
Only the very outside of the wings are colored, and though this species looks delicate, it can carry 40 times its body weight.
Goliath Birdwing Butterfly
Found in New Guinea, this species is the second largest in the world. With a wingspan of up to 11 inches, the male of the species is black, with bright green and yellow markings.
The Ulysses butterfly has a wingspan of 5 to 5 ½ inches. It’s native to Australia, New Guinea, and the Soloman Islands and has a black or brown underside with bright blue markings on the top of its wings.
Forest Giant Owl Butterfly
This is another large species. It doesn’t get as big as the Goliath Birdwing Butterfly, but its markings are equally impressive. The large spots on its wings look like owl’s eyes.
This tiny beauty grows to only 3-4 inches but commands respect nonetheless. Its wings are black or dark green, with bands of bright, metallic green running their length.
Despite its name, this gorgeous specimen, endemic to Madagascar, is actually considered a butterfly. In shades of green, black, and orange, it’s easy to see how this beauty got its name.
Tips for How to Draw a Butterfly
Monarch butterflies are another beautiful species. And if you’re looking for some tips on how to draw this gorgeous brown and orange specimen, My Modern Met has you covered.
The first thing you should do is find a photo or illustration for reference. Then begin by drawing the body and head. A small circle connected to an oval is all you’ll need. It should be wider at the top than the bottom.
Add legs to the body, and then antennae to the head. Again, these only need to be simple designs. Once you get more practice, you can add more detail.
Draw wings that extend from the thorax and add some patterns that will serve as wing details. Fill in the exterior of the wings with small rectangular shapes, trace your drawing in ink, and shade with graphite.
Easy Steps How to Draw a Butterfly for Beginners
Drawing a butterfly can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before. And if this is your first attempt at drawing in general, it can seem overwhelming.
But following some simple steps can help get you started. And from there, if you’re so inclined, you can move on to bigger and better things.
Step 1: Fold a paper
Fold a sheet of paper in half both ways
Step 2: Make four parts
Draw fine lines on the folds to create four equal parts
Step 3: Create the body
Draw a small circle and long loop in the center of the lines
Step 4: Draw the top part of the wings
Draw two symmetrical wing halves, on the top right and left
Step 5: Draw the bottom part of the wings
Draw two symmetrical wing halves on the bottom right and left.
Step 6: Create patterns
Draw some patterns and shapes in the upper and lower halves of the wings. This doesn’t have to be ornate; just add some basic details.
Step 7: Draw antennae
Draw two antennae from the circle that serves as your butterfly’s head
Step 8: Erase unnecessary lines
Erase your fine lines and outline the shape with a marker. Fill it in with colored pencils or crayons.
15 How to Draw a Butterfly: EASY Drawing Projects
1. Butterfly Flow Drawing for Kids (or Adults)
This is not only an excellent way to start drawing butterflies but a way to practice mindfulness. It can also help to practice patience and kindness as we start out as novice artists.
Arty Crafty Kids explains the idea behind this concept is that there are no bad or wrong lines, and each one serves a purpose. This starts with freeform drawing and may develop into a more evolved version with time and experience.
2. How to Draw a Butterfly with Peacock Colored Pencils
Drawing Tutorials 101 will take you step by step through the creation of this multicolored butterfly. Even better, the website gives you the option to watch a video, read and print instructions, or use a series of slides that take you through the entire process.
3. How to Draw a 3-D Butterfly
This fantastic video from Webneel will take you through the steps necessary to create a butterfly that appears to fly right off your page.
Start with lots of brightly colored pastels, trim the edges of the wings with black, and blend to add some shading. Then cut away the paper around the top wings.
4. How to Draw a Butterfly on a Flower
Art for Kids Hub has a great video that will teach you and your kids how to draw a butterfly on a flower. It’s a two-in-one drawing project made up of a handful of simple shapes, meaning anyone can complete this easy and beautiful art project.
5. How to Draw a Butterfly Hand Drawing for Mother
This adorable idea from Instructables makes a great Mother’s Day gift. Draw a basic butterfly body, then trace your child’s or grandchild’s hands to either side to create the wings.
This beautiful craft will have extra sentimental value to mothers and grandmothers alike.
6. How to Draw a Monarch Butterfly
Easy Drawing Guides shows us how to create a drawing of a highly recognizable butterfly. The monarch butterfly drawing tutorial will walk you through each step, from the drawing of the body to the little details in this butterfly’s beautiful orange and black wing design.
7. How to Draw a Colorful Butterfly
I Heart Crafty Things will take you step by step through drawing and coloring in a beautiful butterfly design. This tutorial has you focus on the design of each wing with your drawing skills, then finish it off with as many delightful colors as you choose.
8. Easy Cartoon Butterfly
How to Draw Easy has a super simple colorful cartoon butterfly you can create in 15 minutes and just 7 steps. It’s perfect for kids or even novice adult artists. And when you’re done, you can color it in with pencils or markers, or even paint it if you’d prefer.
9. A Girl with Butterfly Wings
Here’s a unique take on a butterfly drawing, and a particularly nice one for ballerina friends or family. Farjana Drawing Academy has a YouTube video that leads you through the process, from sketching to coloring.
10. How to Draw a Blue Green Butterfly
Follow along with Emily Kalia in her YouTube video as she shows you how to draw a butterfly and then add a host of colors to create a blue-green version worthy of framing and hanging on your wall.
11. How to Draw a Butterfly in Hand
Mukta Easy Drawing takes you through a series of simple steps to create a drawing of a hand with a butterfly hovering over it. The YouTube video shows how easy it can be to complete this drawing.
12. Butterfly Drawing with Colored Pencils
This is one of the most realistic butterfly drawings you’ll find. Arty Factory takes you through the steps, from the fine lines you start with to adding multiple layers of colors, so your sketch looks just like the real thing.
13. How to Draw a Butterfly with Watercolor
Ever heard of a watercolor pencil? If not, you’re in for a beautiful surprise when you learn how to draw a butterfly with them in this tutorial from Brite Crown.
14. Realistic Butterfly Drawing
If you want something you can follow along with while you’re drawing, Socially Viral has a series of steps to create a realistic-looking butterfly. If you’re a budding naturalist, this might b a wonderful way to get started.
15. How to Draw a Butterfly on a Cat’s Nose
Here’s another great tutorial from Farjana Drawing Academy. This one has a cat with a butterfly on its nose. The version she creates is just a sketch, but you could certainly add colors if you wanted to.
How to Draw a Realistic Butterfly Step-by-Step
You’ve learned how to draw a basic butterfly. But what if you’re looking for something a bit more realistic? Monika Zagrobelna takes you through the steps you need to follow to create a version that looks as real as that one right outside your window.
Step 1: Draw the torso
Start with drawing a vertical oval for the torso.
Step 2: Divide the torso in half
Draw a vertical line that divides the oval in half. This is the length of the body.
Step 3: Draw the abdomen
Draw a second, elongated oval under the first oval. This is the abdomen of your butterfly.
Step 4: Connect the body
Connect the abdomen to the torso with two short, curved lines.
Step 5: Draw the head
Add a circle on top of the body for the head.
Step 6: Add the eyes
Add two tiny ovals within the circle for the eyes.
Step 7: Begin the antennae
Add two more tiny ovals on top of the head that serves as pre-antennae.
Step 8: Connect the antennae to head
Draw curves extending from them for the antennae.
Step 9: Add shapes to the antennae
Add tiny bean shapes at the end of each antenna.
Step 10: Add details to the torso and abdomen
Add details to the body portion of the butterfly. The torso is fluffy, and the abdomen is segmented.
Step 11: Draw a line on top of the torso
Draw a horizontal line across the top section of the torso, the same width as the length of the abdomen.
Step 12: Add another long line from the center line
Draw two longer lines extending at a 30-degree angle from the center of the horizontal line, creating a V.
Step 13: Add teardrop shapes
Draw long teardrop shapes around those lines.
Step 14: Draw lines down from the upper wings
Draw lines that extend downward from these upper wings.
Step 15: Outline the upper wing
Outline the shape of the upper wing
Step 16: Draw lines down from the bottom body
Draw lines downward from the bottom of the body.
Step 17: Create a V with lines connecting the upper and lower wings
Draw upward lines from them, forming a V to connect the lower and upper wings.
Step 18: Add a line from the body to the top of the bottom wings
Draw a line from the abdomen out to the tops of the bottom wings.
Step 19: Round out the bottom wings
Add circular shapes to round out the bottom wings.
Step 20: Finish with the details
Add details by creating smaller teardrop shapes inside the wings.
Keep reading for more on how to draw butterfly wings.
How to Draw Butterfly Wings
Butterfly wings aren’t difficult to draw. But the details in them can take some time and practice. Continuing from the steps above, add the following details to make the most realistic wings possible.
Step 1: Draw curved lines
From the teardrop shapes in the wing, draw curved lines that extend to the outside of the wings.
Step 2: Create smaller sections
Divide each of these into smaller sections.
Step 3: Draw a pattern series
Create the same series of patterns in the bottom wings.
Step 4: Scallop the exterior of the wings
Add a scalloped design just inside the wings’ exterior.
Step 5: Add some dots
Add dots in this area that create detail in the wing’s design.
Step 6: Scallop the edges of the wings
Finish with scalloped edges on the outside of both the top and bottom wings.
How to Draw a Butterfly FAQ
What are the hardest butterflies to draw?
The good news is that there isn’t any one butterfly that’s hardest to draw once you learn the basics and practice your skills. But you do need to remain patient. And, of course, the more advanced the butterfly you choose to create, the more complex the drawing will be.
What does a butterfly symbolize in art?
According to Art Net, butterflies symbolize many things. First, because of their brief lifespans, they represent the impermanence of life.
Other artists have claimed the transformation from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly indicates the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In Japan, they symbolize the shift from girlhood to womanhood. They are also used to represent bringers of change or the process of metamorphosis.
Why would you need a butterfly drawing?
Perhaps you’re a naturalist who wants to bring the outside in. Maybe you’re hoping to capture the beauty and majesty of these creatures.
Or maybe you’re looking to create something that indicates a stage of change in your life or to indicate the brevity of our existence as humans.
How to Draw a Butterfly Conclusion
Butterflies are lovely subjects for so many reasons. They are artistically and intrinsically symbolic. They are beautiful and complex, and observing and studying them can help us to appreciate the small things in life, or at least slow down enough to notice them.
Learning how to draw a butterfly can teach us patience and perseverance because, while there are many simple butterfly projects you can engage in, crafting a realistic version can take incredible skill. And that is something you can only develop over many hours and attempts.