Unicorns—they’re mythical, they’re magical, and they’re beloved by kids and adults alike. Whether your preference is for realistic unicorns or cute, cartoon-like varieties, if you’ve ever admired these creatures, you’ve probably wondered how to draw a unicorn at some point. 

Here, you’ll learn how to draw a unicorn step by step—both realistic and adorable versions—plus see examples of famous unicorn art and unicorn drawings. Even if you’re just starting out as an artist, this guide will make learning how to draw a unicorn easy!

How to Draw a Unicorn

A realistic unicorn drawn by Skillshare instructor Mr. Noel.
A realistic unicorn drawn by Skillshare instructor Mr. Noel.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

First, have your drawing supplies ready. For a realistic unicorn, you’ll need two blank pieces of paper (one more opaque than the other), a pencil for your outline, an eraser for adjustments, and pens or markers to add details and life to your unicorn. 

Set up your workspace before beginning your unicorn drawing.
Set up your workspace before beginning your unicorn drawing.

Step 2: Draw a Line of Action

In this exercise, you’ll learn how to draw a unicorn that’s standing on its hind legs. Begin by drawing a “line of action” that curves to the top of the page. This will be the base of your unicorn’s body. 

The “line of action” informs the final placement of your unicorn.
The “line of action” informs the final placement of your unicorn.

Step 3: Form the Unicorn’s Torso

When creating your unicorn outline, you will build the torso with two circles and a triangle wedged between, following your line of action. The triangle will help you determine how big your unicorn’s torso and body should be, based upon whether you’re drawing an adult or foal. 

Use circles and a triangle to create your unicorn’s torso and begin sizing its body.
Use circles and a triangle to create your unicorn’s torso and begin sizing its body.

Step 4: Draw a Line of Action for the Unicorn’s Legs

Much like your foundation line of action from step one, the line of action for your unicorn’s legs will determine their final placement. It’ll also form the basis for the unicorn’s neck and head. 

The line of action returns to help form the unicorn’s hind legs.
The line of action returns to help form the unicorn’s hind legs.

Step 5: Draw the Outline of the Unicorn’s Neck and Head

Next, you’ll move to the front of your unicorn and begin outlining its neck and head. The neck can be formed following the original line of action, and also in congruence with the unicorn legs’ line of action. You’ll want to create a “sideways” capital D for the shape of the neck, and you can also use an upside down capital D and a smaller, correctly-oriented capital D to hold space for the unicorn’s head. 

Use different variations of capital letter D to help form your unicorn’s neck and head.
Use different variations of capital letter D to help form your unicorn’s neck and head.

Step 6: Confirm Leg and Hoof Placement

Now that you have the general parameters for your unicorn’s body, draw the basis for the front legs, which are bent due to the upright position of the unicorn, and the “landing” placement for the back hooves. From there, you can begin to form the shape of the back legs, with the thigh closest to the viewer shaped like two pointed ovals and following the original line of action. 

As you move toward completion of your outline, your unicorn will begin to look more realistic!
As you move toward completion of your outline, your unicorn will begin to look more realistic!

Step 7: Finish the Unicorn’s Body Outline and Add a Tail

Now that you’ve designated the placement of all of your unicorn’s limbs, you can begin to more realistically form each leg, keeping perspective in mind. This is also the point at which you can add your unicorn’s tail. The tail is formed by curving the original line of action upward at the unicorn’s backend, and adding simple shapes to create the volume of the tail. 

Every unicorn needs a tail!
Every unicorn needs a tail!

Step 8: Draw the Unicorn’s Head

Now it’s time to focus on your unicorn’s head! Again, using the capital letter D, draw your unicorn’s ears. You’ll also want to add a small, straight line connecting the unicorn’s head to its neck and body, and add a miniature circle to hold placement for the unicorn’s mouth. This circle should sit just behind the capital letter D that you used to create the unicorn’s nose. 

In this step, you should really see your unicorn’s head coming to life!
In this step, you should really see your unicorn’s head coming to life!

Step 9: Finish Your Outline

While this may seem like a lot of steps, you’ll quickly find that the better your outline is, the better your unicorn art will be when it’s finished. For this stage of your unicorn drawing, add details to the face by drawing the nostril and mouth within your capital letter D near the unicorn’s nose, and adding the unicorn’s eye high on the face for emotive expression. 

This is also the point at which you’ll add the all-important unicorn horn and begin drawing your unicorn’s forelock (the turf of hair between the ears) and mane (the hair that cascades down the neck). You can make your forelock and mane as long or as short as you’d like.

Your unicorn’s face, horn, mane, and forelock complete the outline.
Your unicorn’s face, horn, mane, and forelock complete the outline.

Step 10: Trace the Outline to Reveal Your Finished Unicorn

Once your outline is complete, you’ll trace the edges of it onto a second sheet of paper to reveal its final design. You can use a lightbox if you have one, but an opaque piece of paper over the top of your outline should also do the trick. With your paper stacked, trace the final lines of your unicorn outline onto the opaque piece of paper with a pen or marker. When you’re finished, you’ll have a clean sheet of paper with your finished unicorn drawing! 

Once you’re finished tracing, your unicorn outline is transformed into a completed unicorn drawing!
Once you’re finished tracing, your unicorn outline is transformed into a completed unicorn drawing!

How to Draw a Cute Unicorn

“Mia the Dancing Unicorn” by Skillshare Instructor Winda Lee.
“Mia the Dancing Unicorn” by Skillshare Instructor Winda Lee.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

When learning how to draw a cute unicorn, you’ll need a blank piece of paper thick enough to withstand the use of markers, a black marker, and crayons. If you prefer, you can also use colored pencils, markers, or even paint in place of the crayons. 

Gather the materials needed to draw your cute unicorn.
Gather the materials needed to draw your cute unicorn.

Step 2: Draw Your Cute Unicorn’s Horn

To begin drawing this cute unicorn, you’ll start at the top—with the horn! Using two fingers, measure about 4 inches from the top of the page and draw a small cone shape to act as the basis for the horn. Within your cone, you can also add the lines or “stripes” of the horn. 

Though it doesn’t look like much at first glance, this cone will become the anchor for your cute unicorn!
Though it doesn’t look like much at first glance, this cone will become the anchor for your cute unicorn!

Step 3: Outline Your Cute Unicorn’s Hair and Face

In this step, you’ll be creating the outline of your cute unicorn’s hair and face by using curvy lines. For your unicorn’s flowing hair, draw a curved line underneath the cone shape that you drew for the horn. From there, continue the curved line backward, toward the right side of the page, to show the length of the unicorn’s hair, and then create the unicorn’s face using a capital letter C shape. 

Your unicorn’s face is formed by mimicking the shape of a capital letter C.
Your unicorn’s face is formed by mimicking the shape of a capital letter C.

Step 4: Finish Your Cute Unicorn’s Face and Neck

Now, you’ll add the finishing touches to your cute unicorn’s face and neck. First, add a small black dot for the nostril, and an eye, which is closed with short eyelashes. You will also draw the next part of your cute unicorn’s long, flowing hair, a small leaf-shaped ear, the neck, and a big smile! 

The details you add to your cute unicorn’s face gives character and personality.
The details you add to your cute unicorn’s face gives character and personality.

Step 5: Begin Drawing Your Cute Unicorn’s Dress

Now that your cute unicorn has a beautiful face, you’ll want to give them something equally adorable to wear. To make a tank dress, like the one shown in this exercise, draw a small curved line down from the unicorn’s neck and another curved line coming off of the lower hairline. Connect the two curved lines with a slightly bowed horizontal line, and draw a small scalloped line near the neck to form ruffle details on the unicorn’s dress. You’ll finish your cute unicorn’s dress in a later step, but you’ll need the top to be complete for step six. 

Every cute unicorn needs an adorable outfit!
Every cute unicorn needs an adorable outfit!

Step 6: Draw Your Cute Unicorn’s Arms

Since your cute unicorn is being drawn in a less-realistic style, draw arms with soft hooves attached. The unicorn in this exercise has their arms outstretched, like they are soaking in sunlight or awaiting the embrace of a friend. To mimic this style, draw two long cylindrical shapes with curved ends and create a line at each end to show where the unicorn’s hooves are placed. 

In this step, you’ll create your cute unicorn’s arms.
In this step, you’ll create your cute unicorn’s arms.

Step 7: Finish Your Cute Unicorn’s Hair and Dress

Next, you’ll finish the dress and add magical locks! Create the bottom of your unicorn’s dress by drawing two curves from the existing part of the dress and flowing outward toward the left and right bottom corners of the page. Connect these lines with a scalloped horizontal line, add stripes and dots for additional details, and your unicorn’s dress is complete! For their hair, you’ll follow your original curved lines to create more volume and texture with each line. 

Now that your cute unicorn is fully dressed, it’s time to add the finishing touches!
Now that your cute unicorn is fully dressed, it’s time to add the finishing touches!

Step 8: Draw Your Cute Unicorn’s Legs and Shoes

In this step, you’ll add legs and some dancing shoes to your cute unicorn drawing. To draw legs, you’ll follow the same process as you used in step six for the arms. Instead of stopping with a horizontal hoof line, you’ll also create a small criss-cross pattern on your cute unicorn’s legs above each hoof. When you’re finished, it will appear as if your unicorn is wearing ballet slippers!

Your cute unicorn drawing is almost complete.
Your cute unicorn drawing is almost complete.

Step 9: Choose Your Coloring Tools

With a unicorn outline as versatile as this, you have endless options for adding color and creativity to your drawing. You can use crayons, markers, pastels, colored pencils, or watercolor paints! Unless your drawing was completed on canvas paper, you will want to avoid using oil or acrylic paint, which can bleed through your paper and damage your unicorn drawing. 

Crayons are an excellent choice for adding color to your cute unicorn drawing.
Crayons are an excellent choice for adding color to your cute unicorn drawing.

Step 10: Color Your Cute Unicorn Drawing

Now that you’ve chosen your coloring materials, it’s time for the fun part! You can take full creative license with your unicorn and add as much color as you’d like. If you want to add additional details to create a setting for your piece, go for it! There’s truly no limit when personalizing your unicorn drawings. 

Feel free to be as creative as you like when coloring your cute unicorn!
Feel free to be as creative as you like when coloring your cute unicorn!

Unicorn Art

If you’re in need of a bit of inspiration before you begin your unicorn drawings, look no further! Here, you’ll find examples of unicorn art to help you get into a creative mindset. 

This unicorn carving, made from sashi wood, dates back to 19th century Japan.
This unicorn carving, made from sashi wood, dates back to 19th century Japan.

Though it doesn’t necessarily resemble a traditional unicorn, this wood carving from 19th century Japan, on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is modeled after the popular mythical creatures. 

In this etching, a unicorn stands its ground against invasive lizards.
In this etching, a unicorn stands its ground against invasive lizards.

This etching, aptly named “Unicorn Chasing Lizards From a Pond,” was created by Dutch artist Hendrik Hondius in 1610 and is also on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

This mixed materials carving once adorned the helm of King George II’s flagship of the Royal Charles.
This mixed materials carving once adorned the helm of King George II’s flagship of the Royal Charles.

Without a doubt, this is a unique unicorn piece! The carving was the centerpiece of King George’s beloved fleet before the ship was captured by the Dutch in 1667. The “counter,” as it’s called, was preserved to commemorate the Dutch win over the English and it is now housed in the RijksMuseum in The Netherlands. 

This is one of seven original unicorn tapestries.
This is one of seven original unicorn tapestries.

The Unicorn Tapestries were created in the Middle Ages. While little is known about their true origin, there are seven tapestries in total, each depicting a different part of the hunt for the elusive unicorn. 

This painting, of unknown origin, shows a woman with a small unicorn.
This painting, of unknown origin, shows a woman with a small unicorn.

This large-scale oil painting, also owned by the RijksMuseum in The Netherlands, is a bit of a mystery. The museum was unable to determine the identity of the artist and could only discern that it was painted in 1510 in or near Venice, Italy. 

Unicorn Drawings

A unicorn drawing by Italian artist Antonio Tempesta.
A unicorn drawing by Italian artist Antonio Tempesta.

This unicorn drawing was created by Roman artist Antonio Tempesta around 1565. Though it’s rather simple in nature, it shows that people have long been interested in unicorns!

This drawing shows a person with a unicorn friend.
This drawing shows a person with a unicorn friend.

This drawing, also housed at the RijksMuseum in The Netherlands, was done by Italian artist Annibale Carracci in or after 1602. Entirely greyscale, the piece shows a person spending time with a unicorn. You may have noticed that artists draw unicorns in varying sizes depending on their personal interpretation. 

This drawing shows two unicorns of different sizes.
This drawing shows two unicorns of different sizes.

Also drawn by Italian artist Antonio Tempesta around the same time as his previous piece, this drawing shows two unicorns and a lion. The unicorns are depicted in different sizes and, interestingly, the larger unicorn’s horn points horizontally. 

“Maagdelijkheid Virginité” by Jean Charles Delafosse
“Maagdelijkheid Virginité” by Jean Charles Delafosse

This drawing, created in 1768 to depict the purity of “maidenhood,” can be credited to French artist Jean Charles Delafosse. The unicorn is the centerpiece of Delafosse’s drawing and exists in protection of the woman in the drawing. 

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