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The Penguin Formally Known as Tux

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The Penguin Formally Known as Tux

Use hatching graduations to create the three-dimensional forms of an adorable penguin

Resource: Module 3.1 Introduction to Shading
Supplies: paper, pencils (2H, HB, 2B, 4B, and 6B), ruler, sandpaper block, sharpener, erasers

This tutorial has three sections:

  • Put Proportions on Paper
  • Turn a Sketch into a Contour Drawing
  • Add Shading and Texture


Setting up accurate proportions is the foundation of drawing. If your subject's proportions are wrong, neither perfect shading or fancy pencil marks can save your drawing.

Put Proportions on Paper

The size of your drawing space determines the size of your penguin. The penguin in this lesson is drawn inside a 4 by 6 in (10.2 by 15.2 cm) drawing space with 2 in (5.1 cm) squares. If you prefer a larger drawing, 6 by 9 in (15.2 by 22.9 cm) with 3 in (7.6 cm) squares works equally well.

1. Use a ruler to outline a vertical, rectangular drawing space and divide it into six squares.

2. Lightly sketch an oval slightly toward the left of your drawing space (Figure 1).

This oval represents the penguin's body. Make sure you leave room to add the head, tail, and feet.
When using a grid, sketch the contents of only one square at a time.
Figure 1
Figure 1

3. Draw an upside-down U-shape as the head on top of his body (Figure 2).

Figure 2
Figure 2

4. Sketch the feet and add a curved line in the lower right to mark the location of his tail feathers.

Note that the foot on the right appears to be much larger than the other. This foot overlaps the other and therefore needs to be drawn larger than the one behind it.

5. Refine the shape of the head by making it smaller, rounder on the upper right, and less round on the left, bottom, and lower right (Figures 3 and 4).

Figure 3 shows the upper two grid squares. Keep in mind that the penguin's face is turned slightly toward the left.
Figure 3
Figure 3

6. Sketch a curved line on the left to mark the upper chest/breast (Figure 4).

Figure 4
Figure 4

7. Use curved lines to sketch the shape of the bill/beak.

8. Add a curved line on the right as the back of his neck and body.

9. Erase the tiny section of the outline of his head that was inside the shape of the beak.

Constantly double-check the proportions of your sketch by visually measuring the shapes of the positive and negative spaces.

10. Indicate the opening of his beak with another slightly curved line (Figure 5).

Figure 5
Figure 5

11. Add two circular shapes to mark the placement of his eyes.


Penguin bills come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the type of penguin. Feel free to make the beak larger, smaller, thicker, or thinner!

12. Sketch a curved line on the right side of the head to map a section of lighter feathers (Figure 6).

Figure 6
Figure 6

13. Give the penguin a smaller belly by modifying the lower-left section of his tummy (Figure 7).

Figure 7
Figure 7
Note that the chest stays the same size to give him a proud posture and a more sophisticated appearance.


If you draw lines in the wrong grid square, simply erase and redraw the lines correctly.

14. Sketch the outline of the lower section of his body.

15. Modify the feet so the bottoms are flat rather than rounded.

16. Use a curved line to redraw the upper section of his chest.

17. Sketch the outlines of the shoulder and the upper section of the wing.

18. Redraw the tail section slightly smaller than in the original sketch (Figure 8).

Figure 8
Figure 8

19. Sketch the outlines of both wings/flippers.

20. Erase the grid lines and check your drawing carefully.

21. Make any changes to the proportions until you are totally happy with your drawing.

22. Lighten your sketch lines with your kneaded eraser until you can barely see them.


Don't press too hard with your pencils when neatly outlining the penguin! No matter how careful you are, accidents can still happen and you may need to erase some lines.

Turn a Sketch into a Contour Drawing

23. Redraw the penguin's head, neck, shoulders, and facial features with a sharp pencil (Figure 9).

Note the double lines around each eye. In addition, the eye on the left is slightly smaller than the one on the right. This eye is farther away from the viewer because of the angle of the head.
Figure 9
Figure 9

24. Redraw the penguin's body slowly and carefully, using a sharp pencil (Figure 10).

Note the double lines on the fronts of the wings, which indicate their thickness.
Figure 10
Figure 10

25. Draw the raggedy-looking feathers of the tail and upper legs.

26. Outline his feet, toes, and heels.

Add Shading and Texture

The hatching lines used to draw feathers are ragged and uneven, with mostly short lines of different lengths and thicknesses.
Before you begin shading Tux, practice your hatching skills. Remember to use different grades of pencils from 2H to 6B and vary the:
  • density of the lines.
  • pressure used on your pencils.

27. Hatch a light, medium, and dark raggedy-textured graduation of values (Figure 11).

Shade these graduation from light at the top to dark at the bottom. Choose different grades of pencils based on the range of values needed for each section.
Figure 11
Figure 11

28. Hatch another three graduations in reverse with the darker values at the top and the lighter values at the bottom (Figure 12).

Remember, light affects the placement and value of every section of shading. Keep in mind that a full range of values gives contrast between the light areas and shadow areas.
The light source originates from the upper left in this drawing, so the shading will be a little darker on the lower right.
Figure 12
Figure 12

29. Add dark shading graduations to his face and the top of his head (Figure 13).

Closely examine the directions in which the hatching lines curve.
Figure 13
Figure 13

30. Use medium shading graduations to draw the feathers on his cheek.

31. Add smooth, medium shading to the beak.

32. Add light shading to the chest and tummy, beginning under the chin (Figure 14).

Figure 14
Figure 14

33. Add dark shading in the shadow areas of the beak using a 2B (Figure 15).

Figure 15
Figure 15

34. Fill in the pupil of the eye using a 6B pencil.

35. Use medium values for the irises and the circular rims around each eye.

36. Add shading to the left section of Tux's "tux" using dark to medium graduations.

Note that the darkest section is close to his body under the upper section of his wing (Figure 16).
Figure 16
Figure 16

37. Add medium graduated values to the lighter sections of his wing on the right.

Take your time and carefully note the different directions in which the hatching lines curve.
Curved lines help create the illusion of three dimensional forms.

38. Add medium shading to his legs, feet, and tail.

39. Use straight lines to shade the cast shadow on the surface below the penguin.

40. Add dark shading to his feet, legs, tail, and toes (Figures 17 and 18).

Figure 17
Figure 17

41. Add talons to the ends of his toes.

42. Use a combination of hatching and crosshatching to add darker sections to the cast shadow on the surface below Tux.

43. Add darker values to the wing on the right and to his tail.

Figure 18
Figure 18

44. Compare your drawing to Figure 18 and make any changes necessary.

Sign your name and date the back of your drawing.


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