Learn how to draw a foreshortened ladybug in a step-by-step demonstration.
Drawing insects from the top view is useful for identification but may lack dynamic interest. Three quarter views of insects show the height and form in ways you can not show from above. Visualizing the way that straight lines wrap around rounded forms is very helpful in drawing these angles. See the previous post for more details on this technique.
Click on the first image to begin a step-by-step sideshow of how to draw a foreshortened ladybug.
I used to start by drawing the head, thorax, and abdomen separately. This resulted in bodies that were too stretched out. I suggest starting by making a line that roughly encloses the whole body. How long and wide are the three body parts together?
If you are drawing a top down view, the midline will be right in the center. In a 3/4 view, It will be closer to one side and curved.
Divide the body into the three segments. First place a set of parallel lines across the center line. Then connect these lines to the edges of the body shape. The lines on the far side will be shorter than the close side.
Look for angles where the head and body connect to the thorax. Carve these angle changes into the body.
To help you see the angle changes, visualize the negative shapes next to the body rather than looking at the shape of the body itself. I do not draw in these as squiggles on my paper. I imagine them to help me draw the angles seen in the previous step. Switch back and forth between this and the last step to see the relationship between the negative shapes and the angles.
Note where the legs emerge from below the side of the body and if they extend forward or backward.
Draw your details over your non-photo blue framework. You can safely focus on details knowing that your overall shape is solid.
To place the spots symmetrically on the back, visualize latitude lines around the body of the beetle. Note how these make parallel lines near the center line.
Based on the latitude visualization, I place a set of parallel lines across the mid line to help me keep my spots symmetrical.
Note how the parallel guide lines help me keep my spots in in line.
I lay in the shadows with a mixture of purple-gray paint (mostly Daniel Smith Shadow Violet). In this drawing my light source is from the upper left. The blue lines in the previous images were strengthened for demonstration purposes only. When I draw, I make my guide lines very lightly as you can see in the drawing above.
Once the shadow is dry, I can overpaint it with the local colors red and black. The shadow shows through the transparent watercolor.
I place my black spots on top of the dry red paint. Spots that face the viewer are more rounded. Spots pointing more to the side will be foreshortened to ovals.
With white gouache I add bright highlights and reflected lights. This helps show the roundness of the body and the sharpness of the highlights suggests a shiny surface.
I add ridges and divots with a white Prismacolor pencil. Use restraint here. This part is fun and it is easy to overdo it.
I add dark shadows to the divots and crisp up some of the edges with sharp colored pencils.