How to Draw a Praying Mantis

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There are about 2,000 species of mantids, or praying mantis, in the world. These slow-moving insects can grow quite large, reaching 5 inches or more. They are typically camouflaged to resemble foliage, dead leaves, flowers, or other plant parts.

Why is it called a praying mantis? This name was given by the ancient Greeks. It means "diviner" or "prophet," and they believed the insect to have supernatural powers. Their forearms resemble hands in prayer.

Mantids use these forearms to capture the insects they eat. They have keen eyesight and hunt during the day. When threatened, mantids engage in a threat display, spreading their forelegs and wings wide.

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Mantids have long held symbolism in mythology and literature. They have been used to represent courage and fearlessness. They are depicted on Greek coins from the fifth century B.C. Some Asian martial arts movements are based on the posture of the mantis.

In popular culture, the mantis has often been depicted. Notable instances include The Deadly Mantis (1957) and Manny from A Bug's Life (1998). Mantids are the insects most often kept as pets.

Would you like to draw a praying mantis? This simple, step-by-step insect drawing tutorial is here to make it easy. All you will need is a piece of paper and a pencil.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Fly, Grasshopper, and Ant.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Praying Mantis

How to Draw Praying Mantis: Step 1

1. Begin by drawing the mantis's head. Draw an oval to form the large eye. Shade a small circle inside it to indicate the pupil. Then, use curved lines to outline the head. Notice the overlap that forms the mouth. Draw a curved line across the mouth, and use another to enclose the half-oval shape of the eye on the opposite side.

How to Draw Praying Mantis: Step 2

2. Extend two long curved lines from the top of the head, forming the antennae.

How to Draw Praying Mantis: Step 3

3. From the back of the head, extend a long, curved line. Double it back upon itself to form the thorax, or midsection, of the mantis. Use a second curved line to enclose an analogous shape hidden behind the first.

How to Draw Praying Mantis: Step 4

4. Extend a pair of curved lines from the bottom of the thorax, allowing them to meet at a point. This forms the folded wings. Then, extend another curved line from the front of the thorax, and bring it to meet the same point as the previous lines. This forms the bug's abdomen.

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How to Draw Praying Mantis: Step 5

5. Draw the legs, erasing as necessary. Draw an upside-down teardrop shape within the thorax. This begins the foreleg. Draw an extended upside-down teardrop beneath it. Then, use a long, curved line doubled back upon itself to form the femur and tibia - the grasping portion of the front leg. For the middle leg, use a long, zigzag-shaped line and double it back upon itself, allowing it to come to a point at the foot.

How to Draw Praying Mantis: Step 6

6. Use curved lines to sketch a second foreleg partially hidden by the first.

How to Draw Praying Mantis: Step 7

7. Use curved and zigzag lines to draw a second middle leg, partially hidden by the first.

How to Draw Praying Mantis: Step 8

8. Draw the rear walking leg using a pair of curved lines. Note how the lines come to a point at the knee and at the tip. Shade the tip of the foot, indicating the tarsa, or walking surface.

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How to Draw Praying Mantis: Step 9

9. Draw the final hindleg, partially hidden by the abdomen. Note again the bend of the knee and point of the foot. Shade the tarsa.

How to Draw Praying Mantis: Step 10

Color your praying mantis. In North America, mantises range from bright green to brown. Tropical mantises may display a host of other colors. For example, the orchid mantis is bright pink!

Learn to draw more creepy, crawly critters among our animal drawing guides.

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The Complete Praying Mantis Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Praying Mantis

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