How to Draw a Shark in 4 Steps With Photoshop

This topic will deal with how to draw a shark in a way to create a shark drawing. Specifically, we will deal with how to draw shark features and then refining it to form a realistic picture of this magnificent and dangerous animal.

A shark is an animal that is mostly feared in western cultures. With its large mouth and sharp teeth, media will portray them as something akin to a dangerous eating machine. Never go swimming when these animals are close by!

Despite this, we are fascinated with this animal. When we look into them in more details, only a few species are aggressive to people. There have been efforts to capture these animals for study in aquariums.

As an artist, there are many reasons why we would want to learn how to draw a shark. It can be for personal reasons or a publication. Regardless, our goal is to capture the image of this animal as something to be feared and respected.

How to draw a shark: the form

Your first intuition is to realize that this animal is a fish. Understanding this means that you have to look for the proper features that is unique to all fishes.

First, there is a long streamlined body with a pointed head and tails. The middle round section is primarily biased towards the front since that is where most of the internal organs are close to.

Then, there are the amount of fins. On an average fish, there are eight fins protruding from set points on the body. Divide your sketch in half and you will find that six out of the eight fins are on the back half of the sketch.

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The differences from most fishes are the shapes of the gills and the placement of the large mouth located around the underside region.

Technique wise, gills, teeth, and fins require sharp angular strokes from your gesture drawing as the idea is to built this animal on triangular shapes mostly.

Once that is done, you can start filling in the object with mass and simple shadows to be refined in the next step. It can be done on a different layer and then merged into your gesture sketch.

How to draw a shark: the cleanup

The clean up involves just erasing any unwanted edges from the shark object. This can be simply done with the eraser tool.

After that, lock the object's shape in place and begin to work on the actual body of the shark. Since the skin is smooth, this is done with long brush strokes. This can be done by alternating between chalk and smooth brushes.

The other thing to note are values. You will want to use darker values for the top half of the shark and lighter values to show the difference between the top and the belly.

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If needed, you can use the smudge tool to combine the two different color value differences together. Sometimes, you will get additional textures out of it.

It is also the time to draw out and refine facial features like the eyes, mouth, gills, and to define the fins a bit better.

Once you are satisfied with all the values, the next step would be to refine it a bit further with textures of the animal.

How to draw a shark: texture work

Depending on the type of shark drawing you are going for, each specie will have its own type of skin blemish and textures.

Textures can be done through the regular chalk brush. However, if there are complicated types of blemishes, you may need to create custom brushes that mimic specific types of blemishes.

Locking the shark object in place also eliminates painting texture outside of the object by accident. This is important as any other work on the shark object is made much easier by locking it in place.

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You may also need to use this chance to define the head better. Dark values like the mouth opening can be filled in. Lighter values like the teeth can be simply painted in with a lighter value.

The same can be done for the eyes and nostrils. These are just small areas that you can apply color burns in the area to darken these textures.

This is also the stage where you can start work on lighting. See how well you can bring the shark out from the background with simple rim lighting.

How to draw a shark: lighting

The last step always involve integrating your shark with the environment. Lighting as a critical part of this and one that all artists need to consider.

In water, ripples of light must be reflected off the marine animal. Luckily due to the random nature of light, you can have some fun with the shapes of these reflections.

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With the object still locked, use a light value brush and begin to paint in random wavy lines across the animal's back. The more random it is, the more natural it will look.

You may want to lighting some of the rim light around the shark as well. Different intensities of rim light will give it a more natural look as it mimics the water's reflections.

You can also add in more environmental shadows here and there with a round brush as a means to blend the animal in with the background.

Even tiny things like reflections in the eyes can make it more realistic. Every little bit counts!

From start to finish, thinking about the process step by step will make learning how to draw shark form and features much manageable. The steps are flexible enough that you can draw any species exactly how you want.