Thar She Blows! How to Draw Whales in the Wild

When you encounter whales in nature, you will not see the entire body exposed  at one time, except in a rare dramatic breach. The rest of the time you will see some portion of the back or tail exposed above the water’s surface. Draw what you see, Capture the dark form of the whale against the lighter surface of the water. Know the sequence of dive shapes and what to expect to help you draw what you see quickly.

When a whale comes up from a dive, you will first see part of the head, then the spout, a section of back and the dorsal fin and then it is down again. The whale will probably take three or so breaths at the surface before commencing a deep dive. When it goes down for a long dive, the body bends near the dorsal fin, causing it to hump up, high above the water. This posture is followed by by a raised tail, which sinks into the water. Try to sketch each of these postures as you see them.

Click on the first image to start a step-by-step side-show.