What’s the first animal that comes to mind when you think about Australia? I bet that your first thought is about kangaroos. This wonderful animal is found on the logo of Australia’s national airline and appears on postage stamps and coins.
Although kangaroos are a common sight in Australia, they are also indigenous to Tasmania, New Guinea, and other islands in the region.
The appearance of a kangaroo is unmistakable; examined separately, its body parts look as if they were taken from different animals. They stand on two legs just as humans do! But the wonders don’t end just at the outer details.
For example, what feature makes kangaroos similar to camels? Kangaroos need very little water to live and have the remarkable ability to go several months without drinking anything. When kangaroos finally decide that they want something to drink, they like to dig deep holes in the ground to collect rainwater.
Are you curious? Let’s draw this animal and learn more about it along the way!
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In order to complete this project, you’ll need the following equipment:
an HB graphite pencil
a 3B graphite pencil
How to Draw a Kangaroo
With the HB pencil, I outline the rough shape of the kangaroo’s head. It’s relatively small, compared to the body. I also add the shapes of the long ears.
Please be sure to leave enough space for the rest of the animal’s body on your paper!
I outline the bulky shape of the body, also marking the kangaroo’s pouch.
I draw the neck, joining the head and body.
Let’s add the rough framework of the forelimbs. They are quite short and are about only one-third the length of their legs.
I add the rough shapes of the hands, including the place for the fingers. At this stage, we keep our outline as simple as possible.
I draw the framework of the kangaroo’s legs, using lines to show the direction of bones and small circles to mark the joints. I also add rounded shapes to the bottom part of the framework to make the figure visually stable.
I refine the legs. Kangaroos have large, powerful hind limbs, which can’t move independently (however, in water they kick with each leg separately to swim).
These animals have most of the same basic leg bones as humans, but the overall construction was modified to allow hopping.
Curiously, kangaroos are the only large animals to use hopping as a means of locomotion. This fast method of travel has evolved because of the need to cover large distances in search of food and water quite regularly.
I add the foundations of the feet; the feet of a kangaroo are large and fully adapted for leaping.
I add some dimension to the feet and then draw the core line of the kangaroo’s tail. It is long and muscular; the animal uses it for balance.
I draw the contours of the tail, based on the core line.
Let’s draw some facial features, starting with the upper part of the head.
I add the shapes of the eyes; a core line may help to achieve symmetry. I also mark the forehead area with light lines to separate it visually, and I create a hint of ‘cheeks’.
I add the nose with the big nose holes, and the split lips.
I refine the ears, outlining their openings, and then darken the eyes to get a realistic look.
Let’s accentuate the snout with accurate hatching and make the nose darker. Contrasting features create an expressive drawing!
I refine the contours of the neck and, partially, the outline of the body. The goal is to make these lines smooth; feel free to erase the unnecessary pencil marks as you go.
I refine the contours of the upper limbs.
Now I draw the fingers—five on each hand. The fingers should be close to each other visually; don’t detach them too much.
Now it’s time to refine the legs. The calves are relatively slender; I’m going to change one leg now and the second one in just a moment.
Kangaroos may have four or five toes. If present, the first toe is very small; the second and third toes are fused together. The fourth toe is much larger than the others; the animal uses it as a springboard for hopping. The smaller fifth toe supports the fourth by providing additional thrust for each hop.
Visibly, kangaroos may seem to have only three toes, with one having a double claw.
I refine the foot that is closer to the viewer, stylizing it into two clearly visible shapes—one is considerably longer than another. Don’t forget about the claws at the ends of the toes!
I refine the second foot, keeping in mind the foreshortening and distance. I draw a longer shape, and then mark a small toe that is closer to us.
To make the drawing more interesting, I decided to add a baby peeping out of the pouch. I draw just a miniature version of the kangaroo, slightly changing the foreshortening.
With the HB pencil, I apply graphite hatching to imitate the coat. Some ‘patches’ of additional short hatches create an irregular effect that varies the texture.
I also cover the darker areas, such as the shadows on the tail or legs and in the pouch’s opening, with more layers of accurate hatching.
With the 3B pencil, I increase the contrast in the drawing. It’s a great idea to add a drop shadow under the animal to make the artwork more credible.
Your Drawing Is Complete
Congratulations—we’ve created a beautiful graphite pencil drawing! I hope you were inspired by the theme of this tutorial: wonderful kangaroos.
Let your further creative journey be inspirational and full of joy! If you enjoyed this tutorial, you may also be interested in these: