How to Draw a Salmon

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Salmon are large fish that spend part of their lives in freshwater and part in saltwater. They have a unique life cycle in which they hatch in rivers and streams, live most of their adult life in the ocean, then return to their birthplaces to spawn.

How do these fish find their way around? They are able to detect the Earth's magnetic field. It is as if they have a GPS built into their brains! Salmon have another unique ability. When they swim upstream, they don't grow tired swimming against the current. Instead, they "curve their bodies from side to side and glide between the pockets of turbulence," similar to the "drifting" of racecar drivers.

Did you know? The name "salmon" is derived from a Latin term meaning "to leap." Salmon leap up tall waterfalls and rapids in order to return to their spawning grounds. This behavior is called a salmon run. Bears often congregate to catch salmon as they leap through the air.

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Would you like to draw a cartoon salmon? This easy, step-by-step cartoon fish drawing tutorial is here to show you how. All you will need is a pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of paper.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Stingray, Bass, and Goldfish.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Salmon

How to Draw Salmon: Step 1

1. Start by outlining the serpent-like head and body of the salmon. Use long, overlapping curved lines. Notice the curve of the body and the overlap where the torso meets the tail. Note, too, the bulge of the eye ridge and the dimple where the mouth will be.

How to Draw Salmon: Step 2

2. Draw a long, curved line to form the smiling mouth. Draw a short curved line at its corner.

How to Draw Salmon: Step 3

3. Draw the fish's eye. Start with a circle above the mouth. Then draw the pupil, creating a "C" shape from two curved lines.

How to Draw Salmon: Step 4

4. Draw the gills. Sketch rows of curved lines at the side of the face.

How to Draw Salmon: Step 5

5. Draw the dorsal fin. Use long, curved lines that meet at a point.

How to Draw Salmon: Step 6

6. Draw the pectoral fin, erasing as necessary. Use curved lines that meet at a gentle point. Texture the fin with curved lines. Then, draw a long, curved line down the fish's side, passing behind the fin.

How to Draw Salmon: Step 7

7. Draw the fin on the opposite side. Enclose the shape using a curved line, and texture it with additional curved lines.

How to Draw Salmon: Step 8

8. Draw the anal fin at the base of the tail, erasing as necessary. Use curved lines to enclose the fin and texture it with additional curved lines. Do the same for the adipose fin on top of the tail.

How to Draw Salmon: Step 9

9. Draw the tail fins or caudal fins. Extend curved lines from the end of the body, and connect them with a sweeping "V" shaped line. Texture the fin with short curved lines.

How to Draw Salmon: Step 10

Color your cartoon salmon. Salmon are typically silvery in color but may turn bright colors at certain times. The male sockeye salmon, for example, transforms from silver and black to a bright red color with a brown head, tail, and fins.

Are your fish smart enough to swim in schools? Check out other underwater creatures in our animal drawing guides.

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The Complete Salmon Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Salmon

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