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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
How to Draw a Cute Unicorn
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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, 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.
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.
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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