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How to Draw a Reindeer (Detailed Instructions)

A collage of how to draw a reindeer.

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Reindeer are exotic creatures from North America. They are synonymous with the festive season, usually imagined by young and old as the loyal companions that get Father Christmas to where he needs to be on the 24th and 25th of December.

Drawing a reindeer can take time and effort. Luckily, this article offers a step-by-step guide on how to do it. If this is your first time sketching a reindeer, look at the images at each step carefully. Also, start using a pencil since you can erase any marks you would like to correct. Once you are happy with your drawing, you can always go over the lines with a black marker at the end.

Contents show

How to Draw a Reindeer

A collage of how to draw a reindeer.
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Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty Medium

Materials

A piece of paper

  • Size: A5 or A4
  • Color: White

Color-in crayons or pencils

  • Colors: Black, yellow or orange, and brown

Pencil

  • Pencil or a black marker

Instructions

Step 1: Outline the Eye

Circle first step in drawing a reindeer.

Start your reindeer drawing by creating the eye. To do this, draw a diagonal line about 1.5 cm long and then close the shape by adding an arch, connecting one end of the line to the other. The resulting form must look like a semi-circle or the top of a bowler’s hat.

Step 2: Draw the Iris of the Reindeer’s Eye

Drawing the eyes of the reindeer.

Insert a small, curved line parallel to the outline of the eye. This line will help distinguish the reindeer’s iris, the part of the eye that shows colors like blue, green, or brown.

The line must be slightly off-center, about two-thirds of the way up, so the iris takes up the most significant space in the eye. The more minor bit is the white part or corner of the eye.

Step 3: Add the Pupil of the Eye

Drawing detailes of the reindeer's eyes.

Like humans, a reindeer also needs a pupil in the middle of its iris. Draw the pupil as a small circle towards the top part of the iris. The pupil’s radius (or diameter) must be about 0.3 cm.

Step 4: Add a Reflection Spot to the Reindeer’s Eye

Fourth step in drawing the reindeer.

A reflection spot is a feature that animators and illustrators use to add realism to their characters’ eyes. It is a tiny white spot, always smaller than the pupil, near the edge of the iris. To create a reflection spot, draw a little circle in the bottom right area between the pupil and the edge of the iris.

Step 5: Draw Three Eyelashes

Drawing the eyelashes of the reindeer.

Draw three little curved lines on the right-side edge of the eye to create eyelashes.

Step 6: Add an Eyebrow

Sixth steps in drawing the reindeer.

Give your reindeer an eyebrow by adding a slight arch that towers above the eye. If you want to be exact, make the space between the two ends of the arc about 0.5cm.

Step 7: Add the Nostril

Drawing the nose of a cute reindeer.

Draw another circle representing your reindeer’s nostril about 0.5 cm away from the eye, towards the lower left area. The ring can be as big or slightly more prominent as the pupil you drew in step 3.

Step 8: Draw the Reindeer’s Head

Drawing the face of the reindeer.

Carefully shape the reindeer’s head, starting your outline 1 cm below the inner corner of the eye and making your way around. Stop once you are aligned with the reindeer’s bottom eyelash, about 1.5 cm above.

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Please note the snout’s shape: it must be an apparent curve outward and coming back in towards the nostril. After that, you draw a semi-circle for the rest of the head.

Step 9: Add the Reindeer’s Right Antler (Starting With the Brow Tine)

Drawing the horns of the reindeer.

In the middle of the top part of the head, draw a shape that looks like a thick twig about 1 cm long. This will be your brow tine. Don’t complete it fully by letting the downward line meet with the head – stop halfway instead.

Step 10: Draw the Right Antler’s Crown

Drawing details to the horns of the reindeer.

Finish the antler by adding two more tines that make up the crown part. The result should look like a cactus plant or a rooster’s comb.

Please don’t worry if your antler does not match the image 100%. Moving on to the next step is OK if it seems close enough to resemble an antler.

Step 11: Add the Reindeer’s Right Ear

Drawing the ears of the reindeer.

Draw an ear that looks like it is situated behind the right antler. To do this, measure about 0.5 cm from the antler’s base and sketch a curve that emulates a reindeer’s ear. The ear needs to have a soft, rounded peak at the top before the line drops downward to meet the head.

Step 12: Draw the Reindeer’s Left Antler (Starting With the Brow Tine)

Twelfth steps in drawing the reindeer.

Repeat step 9 for the second antler. Create your bow tine, which should look like a finger in profile or a feather. Don’t complete the brow tine by letting the downward line meet with the head – stop halfway instead.

Step 13: Draw the Left Antler’s Crown

Adding details to the horn of the reindeer.

Repeat step 10 to finish off the second antler. From the bow tine, draw another two tines that make up the crown. The whole antler must curve outwards to the right.

Make sure this antler is slightly larger (longer) than your first one. Because you are drawing the reindeer in profile, there is a trick to make your sketch look more 3D. Making features that are ‘closer’ to you larger in size gives your drawing foreground and background. This technique is called foreshortening and will make your drawing look like it has visual depth.

Step 14: Add the Outline of the Reindeer’s Left Ear

Drawing the second ears of the reindeer.

Start 0.5 cm towards the right of the bottom eyelash and draw a gradually curved line upward. Your line must meet the edge in the middle of the left antler.

Step 15: Add the Inner Detail to the Left Ear

Drawing the reindeer's ears with detail.

Draw a pointed fold inside your reindeer’s ear to make it look more realistic. The inner shape mustn’t be closed at the bottom but look like the letter ‘n’ or a pair of tweezers.

Step 16: Complete the Reindeer’s Head

Complete the face of the reindeer.

Finish your reindeer’s head by drawing a curved line that connects the ear and snout. Start about 0.5 cm from the base of the ear and draw an outline that forms a semi-circle, ending with the reindeer’s nose.

Step 17: Draw the Chest

Drawing mane of the reindeer.

Draw the chest area of the reindeer by making a curved line that ends about 3 cm below the mouth.

Step 18: Draw the Reindeer’s Left Leg

Drawing the front leg of the reindeer.

Continue with the chest line and shape the first leg, which must be about 2-2.5 cm long. Look at the image and notice the seemingly minor details about the proportions that will help your sketch look more accurate:

  • Notice the 1 cm inward curve at the top of the leg that comes out into a sharp, arrow-like point to the right. This shape indicates the reindeer’s knee. See it in the following step if it is unclear in the accompanying image.
  • The leg is wider at the top than the bottom, like a human leg, where the ankle is narrower than the thigh.
  • The hoof is flat, yet the baseline has a slight downward curvature.

Step 19: Add a Line for the Hoof

Drawing the detail of the reindeer's feet.

Draw a curved line to indicate the reindeer’s hoof. The result must look like a half-centimeter band at the bottom of the reindeer’s leg.

Step 20: Draw the Reindeer’s Neck

Drawing the neck of the reindeer.

Add a curved line just under 1 cm to create the back part of the neck.

Step 21: Draw the Reindeer’s Back and Backside

Drawing the body of the reindeer.

Starting in the middle of the neck, draw a line that follows the reindeer’s profile. You want your line to be slightly curved downward for the back, then arch upwards for the backside, and come down with a curve until it’s more or less in horizontal alignment with the top part of the front leg.

Step 22: Add the Back Left Leg

Drawing the hind legs of the reindeer.

Continue with the body line and draw a leg, starting with a bulge outward towards the right (which is the reindeer’s knee part or ball and socket). The rest looks like the leg you drew in step 18, except for the bottom, which is more exaggerated: make the hoof wider and add a more prominent downward curve at the base.

Step 23: Add a Line for the Hoof

Drawing the detail of the reindeer's hind feet.

Draw a curved line to indicate the reindeer’s hoof. It must look like a half-centimeter band at the bottom of the reindeer’s leg.

Step 24: Complete the Reindeer’s Back Left Leg

Drawing the detail of the reindeer's hind legs.

Show the reindeer’s upper leg (thigh) by drawing a curved line upwards, making the thigh look significantly bulkier than the other leg parts.

Step 25: Draw the Belly

Drawing the belly of the reindeer.

Make a short (0.5 cm) curved line for the reindeer’s belly, starting from the middle of the thigh.

Step 26: Draw the Back Right Leg

Drawing the second hind legs of the reindeer.

Repeat step 22 to draw the reindeer’s back right leg. It must have a similar shape as the other rear leg. However, note that there is no knee and the two back legs are not on the same horizontal baseline. The back right leg is placed slightly higher to show visual depth again.

Step 27: Add a Line for the Hoof

Drawing the detail of the reindeer's feet.

Draw a curved line to indicate the reindeer’s hoof. The result must look like a half-centimeter band at the bottom of the reindeer’s leg.

Step 28: Draw the Reindeer’s Front Left Leg

Drawing the front legs of the reindeer.

Once done, add the final leg (front left) to your reindeer drawing. Notice the 1 cm inward curve at the top of the leg that comes out into a sharp, arrow-like point to the right. This shape indicates the reindeer’s knee. After you make the point, continue to shape the rest of the leg downward.

Step 29: Add a Line for the Hoof

Completing the front detail of the feet.

Draw a curved line to indicate the reindeer’s hoof. It must look like a half-centimeter band at the bottom of the reindeer’s leg.

Step 30: Draw the Front Left Shoulder

Completing the body of the reindeer.

Finish the last leg by drawing a curved line representing the reindeer’s front left shoulder. The shoulder line must start where the first leg (front right) starts and end just past the edge of the other front leg.

Step 31: Draw the Reindeer’s Tail

Drawing the tail of the reindeer.

Give your reindeer a tail by its backside. Draw a convex shape that looks like half a feather or leaf with a sharp point approximately 1 cm wide and 1.5 cm long.

Step 32: Add Six Spots to the Reindeer’s Body

Drawing the spots on the reindeer's back.

You can practice a little more flexibility in this step.

Add six spots to your reindeer’s back. The circles or ovals must be as big as your reindeer’s nostril and pupil, but they don’t all have to be the same size. Start by drawing three that run along your reindeer’s back, and then add three more underneath that.

Step 33: Finish the Snout

Drawing the mouth and nose of the reindeer.

Draw a curved line to indicate the snout of the reindeer.

Step 34: Color the Reindeer’s Eye

Adding details to complete eyes of the reindeer.

Use a black marker, crayon, or pencil, and color in the iris of the reindeer. Avoid coloring inside the two small circles (pupil and reflection spot). It would look better if you kept these white.

Step 35: Color the Reindeer’s Nostril

Drawing details to the nose of the reindeer.

Continue with the black and color the reindeer’s nostril.

Step 36: Color the Reindeer’s Head

Coloring the head of the reindeer.

Now use a yellow or orange colored crayon or pencil and color the reindeer’s head. Remember not to color the snout or antlers since this will be a different color.

Step 37: Color the Reindeer’s Body

Coloring the body of the reindeer.

Use the same color as in step 36 and cover the rest of the reindeer’s body. Avoid coloring the hooves and spots on the body.

Step 38: Color the Reindeer’s Right Antler

Coloring the horns of the reindeer.

For the next part, use a brown crayon or pencil and color in the reindeer’s right antler.

Step 39: Color the Reindeer’s Left Antler

Coloring the second horns of the reindeer.

Repeat step 38 and color the reindeer’s left antler brown as well.

Step 40: Color the Reindeer’s Spots

Coloring the spots of the reindeer.

Continue with the brown and color the reindeer’s body spots.

Step 41: Color the Reindeer’s Hooves

Final steps in drawing the reindeers with color.

Finally, color the reindeer’s hooves brown as well.

Congratulations! You have now created a beautiful reindeer.

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