How to Draw a Phoenix

The phoenix is a mythical bird described by various cultures of antiquity. It was said to be very long-lived, with a lifespan of no less than 500 years, but only one phoenix could be in existence at a time. It wore stunning gold and red plumage and was linked to the worship of sun deities.

According to the ancient Egyptians, when the end of the phoenix’s life drew near, it gathered herbs, spices, and scented branches to make a nest. It then set the nest on fire and dove inside. A new phoenix would be reborn, rising from the ashes. The young bird would then gather its father’s ashes into an egg, which it delivered to the temple of the sun god in Heliopolis. Another version of the story says that the aging bird would travel to the altar at the temple, sacrificing itself there so that the new bird could rise.

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Early peoples regarded the phoenix as a symbol of immortality, linked to the daily return and “rebirth” of the sun. Romans employed images of the phoenix on their coins, representing what they believed to be their undying empire. Early Christians may have seen similarities to the biblical teaching of the resurrection of the dead. In Islamic myth, it became a plague upon humanity.

Would you like to draw a phoenix rising from the ashes? Now you can, with the help of this simple, step-by-step drawing tutorial. All you will need is a pencil, a sheet of paper, and an eraser. You may also wish to employ crayons, markers, colored pencils or other implements to shade your finished drawing.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Turkey, Eagle, and Peacock.

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Step by Step Instructions for Drawing a Phoenix

How to Draw Phoenix

1. Begin by drawing a circle to form the bird’s head. Below the head, extend two curved lines, allowing them to meet in a rounded point. This forms the bird’s body.

2. Draw a curved line like an upturned “C” extending from each of the bird’s shoulders. Use two short, curved lines to form the beak, allowing them to meet in a point. Draw the eye by placing a small dot near the beak.

3. Begin to draw the flight feathers of the wing. Use long, curved lines, the first extending from the “C” shaped line. Note how the feathers are slim at the base and grow wider before closing at the tip.

4. Draw the lower feathers, wispy and flame-like. Use a series of connected, curved lines, meeting in points at the tips of the feathers and in rounded points at the base.

5. Draw the flight feathers of the opposite wing, a mirror image of the first. Use long, curved lines that meet in sharp points.

6. Draw the lower feathers, again using short, wispy curved lines to create a flame-like appearance.

7. Draw the tail, using curved lines of various lengths. The tail is also similar to a flame, so allow the lines to meet in downward facing sharp points.

8. Erase the guide lines from the bird’s body and head.

9. Draw additional flames emanating from the bird’s wings and tail. Enclose some flame-like shapes with points on each side. Leave some shapes open ended.

10. Color your phoenix. Why not give gradient shading a try, taking the bird from yellow to orange to red, like a fire? Or, be creative, and color your phoenix with any color of the rainbow. You may also use our fire drawing tutorial to give your phoenix a flame from which to rise. Want to try your hand at drawing other birds or mythical creatures? We’ve got the drawing tutorials for you!

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