How to Draw a Cardinal Bird

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Learn how to draw a great looking Cardinal Bird with easy, step-by-step drawing instructions, and video tutorial. You can now easily create a beautiful Cardinal Bird drawing.

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 10
Complete Cardinal Bird drawing

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The northern cardinal, also called the redbird, is a common sight at bird feeders across North America. Because of an abundance of sunflower seeds available in backyard feeders, the cardinal has expanded its range in recent years. Setting up a bird feeder is easy and cardinals are beautiful to watch.

​An endearing fact about cardinals is that they mate for life. Pairs generally stay within earshot of one another's calls. Cardinal pairs can raise up to four broods of chicks per year, and they have been known to grieve for a deceased mate.

Scroll down for a downloadable PDF of this tutorial.

​​Cardinals frequently figure in artwork. Dishes and decorations meant for the Christmas season often feature redbirds nestled among snowy evergreen boughs.

Many sports teams employ the cardinal as a mascot, most notably the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. It is also the official state bird in seven states - West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.

​​Would you like to draw a cardinal? Doing so is easy 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 use markers, colored pencils, or crayons to shade your finished drawing.

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

Easy, step by step Cardinal Bird drawing tutorial
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​Step by Step Instructions for Drawing ​a​​ Ca​rdinal Bird

How to draw a cardinal bird featured image

Cardinal Bird Drawing - Step 1

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 01

1. ​​​​Begin by drawing a circle. This will outline the bird's head.

Cardinal Bird Drawing - Step 2

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 02

2. ​​​​​​​Beneath the head, draw an oval, tilted to the side. This forms the bird's body.

Cardinal Bird Drawing - Step 3

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 03

3. ​​​​​​Draw a short, curved line to connect the body and head. On the opposite side, draw a long, curved line that almost reaches the bottom of the oval. Forming a point, double the line back to cross over into the oval. This forms the bird's wing.

Cardinal Bird Drawing - Step 4

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 04

4. ​​​​​​​​​​​​Extend another long, curved line downward from the bottom of the oval. Allow it to double back on itself in the shape of the letter "J." Draw another long, curved line downward from the wing, and connect it to the bottom of the "J." This forms the bird's tail.

Cardinal Bird Drawing - Step 5

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 05

5.​ ​​​​​​​​Erase guide lines as needed.

Cardinal Bird Drawing - Step 6

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 06

6. ​Draw a "U" shaped line at the base of the tail to form the bird's upper leg. Extend two parallel curved lines to form the lower leg. Then, use a series of short, connected, curved lines to enclose the toes of the foot. For the opposite foot, draw two small, curved triangles extending from the bird's stomach.

Cardinal Bird Drawing - Step 7

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 07

7. ​​​​​​​​​​Use a short, curved line to enclose the top of the bird's far wing. Use several short lines that meet in jagged points to form the tuft of feathers on top of the head. Use four curved lines to enclose the beak, an irregular diamond shape, and another line to indicate the split in the beak. Finally, draw overlapping curved lines on the wing to add the texture of feathers.

Cardinal Bird Drawing - Step 8

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 08

8. ​​​​​​​​​​​Erase guide lines as needed.

Cardinal Bird Drawing - Step 9

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 09

9. ​​Draw a circle within a circle to form the eye, and shade between the two. Use curved lines to enclose the patch around the beak. Texture the belly and tail with curved lines. Draw a set of curved lines passing behind the bird's feet, giving it a twig on which to perch. Draw a circular shape with a spiral inside it to enclose the end of the stick.

Complete Cardinal Bird Drawing

How to Draw Cardinal Bird Step 10

10. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​Color your cardinal. The males of this species have bright red feathers and beaks, with a black patch around the beak. Females are brown with tinges of red. Others, such as the Pyrrhuloxia or desert cardinal, are grey with red features.

​Would you like to draw a flock of fine feathered friends? After all, birds of a feather flock together. Check out our other bird drawing guides, including the hummingbird, owl, eagle, raven, dove, and peacock.

For more great Drawing Ideas tutorials, see the 100 Easy to Draw Ideas Tutorials post.

Printable Drawing Tutorial


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  • This is an actual great tutorial On how to draw a Cardinal Bird and my Cardinal Bird turned out to be really good. Thank you so much!

  • Thank you for such an easy drawing. I am just starting to paint at 73 years and really enjoy the tutorials.

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