How to Draw an Orca

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The orca, also called a killer whale, is a type of toothed whale. At up to 33 feet in length, it is the largest member of the dolphin family. Killer whales use 40 four-inch long teeth to capture prey such as tuna, seals, squid, and penguins.

Despite their name, killer whales have not been known to harm humans in the wild.

Like other dolphins, orcas live in groups called pods, numbering up to 40 individuals. The pods have a matriarchal hierarchy, meaning that the oldest female is in charge. They communicate with one another using echolocation.

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Killer whales have large brains and are extremely intelligent; for example, they are one of few animals able to recognize their own reflection in a mirror. For this reason, orcas are sometimes kept in captivity and trained to perform in shows.

Killer whales are frequent subjects of art throughout their range, from ancient times until today. For example, certain Alaska natives recount tales of killer whales taking on human form in their mythologies. Some ancient art objects may be 4,000 years old.

Today, killer whales frequently star in films such as Free Willy (1993). The film’s star, Keiko, and Shamu, one of the first orcas in captivity, are among the most well-known killer whales.

Would you like to draw a killer whale? This easy, step-by-step drawing tutorial is here to show you how. All you will need is a pencil, a sheet of paper, and an eraser. You may also wish to use crayons, colored pencils, or markers to shade your finished drawing.

If you liked this tutorial, see also the following drawing guides: Flamingo, Crab, and Whale.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Drawing a Killer Whale

How to Draw Orca: Step 1

1. Begin by drawing a long, curved line. Note that one side of the line dips down farther than the other. This outlines the shape of the orca’s back, tail, and head.

How to Draw Orca: Step 2

2. Next, draw another long, curved line continuing from the end of the first. Loop the line around, following the basic outline of the first line. Narrow the space between the two lines, but do not connect them. This outlines the whale’s face, belly, and tail. Then, draw a shorter line near the tip of the whale’s head, forming the mouth.

How to Draw Orca: Step 3

3. Use a series of curved lines to sketch the tail fin. Enclose the bottom of the fin using a curved line like the punctuation mark braces or curly brackets – {. Use a narrow “U” shaped line and a few small lines to detail the underside of the tail.

How to Draw Orca: Step 4

4. Draw a long, curved line from the base of the tail to the tip of the mouth.

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How to Draw Orca: Step 5

5. Sketch the shape of the pectoral, or side, fin using a long curved line. Notice how the fin is shaped like an irregular triangle with rounded corners.

How to Draw Orca: Step 6

6. Erase guide lines from the fin.

How to Draw Orca: Step 7

7. Use a long curved line to enclose the dorsal, or back, fin. Notice how this fin, too, is roughly shaped like an irregular triangle.

How to Draw Orca: Step 8

8. Draw the pectoral fin on the orca’s far side. Use two curved lines that meet at a point, enclosing an irregular triangle shape.

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How to Draw Orca: Step 9

9. Detail the snout with a curved line. Draw a small dot to indicate the eye. Sketch in the eyespot – a false eye – using two curved lines to enclose a double teardrop shape.

How to Draw Orca: Step 10

10. Color your orca. Killer whales are black and white in color. The upper portions are dark, providing camouflage from above, while the underbelly is white, blending in with sunlight when viewed from below. The white eyespot tricks both predators and prey, protecting the actual eye from attack and giving the whale an intimidating appearance.

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The Complete Orca Drawing Tutorial in One Image

How to Draw Orca

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