Camels have an
unmistakable silhouette, with their humped back, short tail, long, slim legs,
and a neck that dips downward and rises to a small, narrow head. The English
word ‘camel’ is thought to derive from the Arabic word ‘jamāl’, which means
‘handsome’ or ‘beauty’. What an apt name for this admirable animal!
adapted to the harsh conditions of their
habitat; for this reason, they are called “the ships of the desert”.
In this tutorial,
we’ll learn what distinctive features allow camels to be capable, strong, and
endurable. And, of course, we’ll create a couple of beautiful drawings!
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In order to
complete this project, you’ll need the following equipment:
an HB graphite
a 3B graphite
to Draw the Dromedary Camel
also known as the Arabian camel, inhabits the Middle East and the Horn of
only one hump, but they do employ it to great effect; their humps store up to
80 pounds of fat, which a camel can break down into water and energy when
sustenance is scarce. Humps give camels their legendary ability to travel up to
100 desert miles without water.
We’ll depict the dromedary camel in a side view. With the HB graphite pencil, I outline a rough
shape of the head; it resembles a triangle with smoothed angles.
I also add the
shapes of the ear and the eye.
I draw a curved
line for the camel’s neck, marking its general direction. Please be sure to
leave enough space for the rest of the body on the sheet of paper.
Then I add an oblong
shape for the camel’s body.
Let’s draw the
framework of the long legs, adding one segment at a time. First, I outline the
upper parts of the limbs; they are divided into portions to make the task
I present the
joints as circles—the simpler, the better.
I add the lower
parts of the limbs; they are more slender compared to the upper ones.
I complete the
framework with the rough shapes of the feet.
I refine the neck,
giving it some thickness with a contour.
I add a sketchy shape
of the hump to the camel’s back.
Now I draw the
line of its tail; camels have relatively short tails.
Let’s work on the
facial features of our camel—and explore why they are perfectly suited to the
have relatively small heads, their eyes are large and prominent. They enable
the animal to see for long distances.
A protruding ridge
of bone and bushy eyebrows protect the eyes from the hot sun. There are also two
sets of long eyelashes in addition to a third thin ‘eyelid’; together, they serve
as a defense from the sand.
I draw the eye,
making it as contrasting and expressive as possible (don’t forget about the
highlight), and the ear. The ears are quite small, almost indiscernible from a
nostrils lined with hairs that stop any sand from entering the nose. What’s
more, they can shut their nostrils at will!
Their lips are
thick and protruding;
the upper lip is split into
two sections that move independently. It’s another form of adaptation—thick,
rubbery lips allow them to eat prickly desert plants without feeling pain. In fact,
most of the water that camels take in comes from grazing on the thorny bushes that grow in a desert.
I refine the
contour of the camel’s back, erasing the unnecessary lines. I add some new
features of the tail, too—now it is tufted near the end.
Also, I mark some
skinfolds on the neck to make the sketch more credible.
I refine the upper
parts of the limbs. The dromedary has callosities (thick, hardened skin) on the joints of the legs and
on the chest, upon which it rests in a kneeling position. They enable the
animal to withstand the heat of the desert sand.
Now I refine the
lower parts of the limbs, accenting the elbows and knees. Each foot has broad,
flat, leathery pads with two toes. When a camel places its foot on the ground,
the pads spread so that the foot does not sink in the sand.
The outline is
complete, but we can make our drawing more realistic. With the HB pencil, I
apply some hatching, accenting the darker areas, such as the core shadows on
the legs and the abdomen.
The hair is
concentrated on the throat, the shoulders, and the hump; I create an illusion of
this texture with longer or curvy hatches.
As a finishing
touch, I add a hint at a drop shadow under the animal; it’s also possible to
blend it with a special blending stump, a cotton bud, or just a clean, dry
With the 3B
pencil, I accentuate the darker areas on the camel’s body and increase the
contrast in general. The drawing of the dromedary camel is complete!
2. How to Draw the
In contrast to the
single-humped dromedary camel, the Bactrian camel has two humps on its back.
Its population inhabits Central Asia, including the historical region of
The Bactrian camel
is also the largest mammal in its native range and is the largest living camel.
Actually, the Arabian and the Bactrian camels share many features, so we can speed
up the drawing process.
I mark the camel’s
head, and then add the shape of the body nearby.
I join the head
and body with a line.
In fact, the silhouette
of the Bactrian camel’s neck is usually slightly different—the curve is more
accentuated, compared to the neck of the dromedary.
I also mark the
eye and the ear of the camel.
I add the contour
lines of the neck and the rough shapes of two humps on the back, and mark the tail
I add the
framework of the limbs, just in the same manner as we were drawing the
I refine the
contour of the camel’s body, erasing the subsidiary graphite lines.
features need some attention, too—let’s draw a happy camel with a hint at a
The Bactrian camel
has long, slender legs, but its body forms a stouter, heavier impression than
the body of the dromedary.
The feet are very
tough—it’s another adaptive feature; these camels are migratory, and their habitat
ranges from rocky mountain massifs to flat desert, stony plains, and sand
dunes. The Bactrians are designed for extreme environments!
The feet have undivided
soles and two broad toes on each foot.
I enhance the
sketch with the HB graphite hatching, darkening the sides of the humps and the
underside of the body. The Bactrians have long hair on the neck and throat (a
‘mane’ and ‘beard’).
The long, wooly
coat protects the Bactrians from extreme cold (as low as −40 °C in winter) and
is shed in warmer months. By the way, the most satisfactory camel fiber is
gathered particularly from the Bactrian camels.
With the 3B
pencil, I increase the contrast in the drawing. I also make subtle changes to the
contour line of the camel’s body, making it more ‘hairy’ to imitate the shorter, slimmer undercoat.
Your Drawing Are
You’ve created two beautiful drawings and, hopefully, learned a lot about
May your further
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