Hi! My name is Sandra Unterkircher, illustrator of A Very Special Flamingo and all-round flamingo fan. Here’s a secret: I didn’t actually know how to draw a flamingo before I started working on the book, but I came up with a quick and easy method that I’d love to share with you here.
So, if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to draw a flamingo like Hans-Peter, simply read my short guide and get started. All flamingos are different (in the real world and the illustrated one) so feel free to add your own personal touches each step of the way!
Like these illustrations? Take Hans-Peter home with you!
Hans-Peter is, as the title of the flamingo book suggests, a Very Special Flamingo. However, that doesn’t mean that the illustrations of him have to be too detailed, or too photorealistic.
In fact, I found that simple is often better. Hans-Peter is deliberately drawn in an easy-to-replicate, child friendly style. That’s good news if you want to know how to draw a flamingo: it means that these instructions are easy to follow along with… possibly even for children too. To start drawing your own flamingo like Hans-Peter, grab some paper and a pencil (or your digital drawing device of choice), and let’s get started!
Keep reading to find out how to draw a flamingo by yourself. You’ll be able to create your very own beautiful flamingo illustrations in no time!
How to Draw a Flamingo: Equipment
To draw a flamingo with a pen/pencil and paper:
Paper. For drawing paper, you can’t go wrong with a good sketchpad like this one.
Pencil or pen. I don’t do much drawing on paper nowadays, but I like the feel of these excellent pens.
Colored pencils or pens, if you want color (pink is a must here).
To draw a flamingo digitally
A stylus or digital pen. Again here, I used the Apple Pencil, but if you use a different type of software, you might find an alternative (like this one from Logitech) more suitable.
A color palette that includes pink.
A drawing tablet or computer with drawing software. To draw Hans-Peter, I used an iPad Pro and the software Procreate… but you can choose any that fit into your budget and that you feel comfortable using.
Let’s continue learning how to draw a flamingo.
Step-By-Step: How to Draw A Flamingo
Got the equipment and want to know how to draw a flamingo in seven simple steps? Let’s get started.
Step 1: Body and Torso
Draw a large circle for the torso and a smaller circle for the head. Connect the two circles with a curved line to form the neck.
Important to remember: When learning how to draw a flamingo, this first step is crucial. Don’t get distracted! Although they look pretty unique, flamingos aren’t all that much different beneath their feathers than swans or geese… from the illustrator’s perspective at least.
Always start with the basic shapes. This will make the drawing process much easier. Try to draw lightly, so that you can easily correct any mistakes. Don’t be afraid to erase and start over.
Practice makes perfect!
Step 2: Adding the Legs
Next, sketch the legs and feet. Flamingos have very long legs with webbed toes, so make sure to add those details as soon as the body shape is ready.
Flamingos are known for standing on one leg in the water. This helps them conserve body heat. If you’re wondering how to draw a flamingo in this iconic style, the bent leg crosses above the knee. However, don’t worry if you want to mix it up a bit. Flamingos often stand on two legs too!
Important to remember: Always pay attention to the proportions of the body and legs. Flamingos have long legs compared to their body, so make sure they are drawn appropriately. Take your time and don’t rush through the process.
Step 3: Beak and Eye
Add the beak and eye. Flamingos have a long, curved beak and a small, dark eye.
If you’re still deciding how to draw a flamingo, your own previous work might be a good guide. For “cartoon style” flamingos, play around with the size of the eyes so it matches the style of your other characters.
Important to remember: When adding details like the beak and eye, it’s important to pay close attention to the proportions and placement. Study reference images to get an idea of the shapes and placement of these features. Don’t be afraid to refine your lines and add shading to create depth and dimension in your drawing.
Step 4: Wing It!
Draw the wings. Flamingos have large wings that are mostly hidden when they are standing. Once you’re done add the smaller wing details like feather tips and shading to create depth and texture.
Important to remember: When drawing the wings, keep in mind that they should be fairly short and stubby, as flamingos are not known for their flying abilities. That said, if you want to learn how to draw a flamingo in flight, pay attention to the shape and angle of the wings, as well as the position of the legs.
Don’t forget to have fun with it! Experiment with different colors and styles to make the drawing your own.
Step 5: Tickle Me Pink
Add the body feathers. Start with small lines along the neck, the body and the wings to create the texture of feathers.
If you want to know how to draw a flamingo in color, this is the point, to start experimenting with the different shades of pink you want to use. Play around with layers so that you can replicate the different types of feathers your flamingo will have.
Important to remember: Take your time with the detailed lines, as they will add more realism to your drawing. The wing feathers are slightly longer than the ones on the body. Make sure the feathers’ texture is consistent throughout the body.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Add final details. Once the main features of the flamingo are in place, it’s time to add those finishing touches that will make your drawing really come to life. If you’re illustrating an entire story, it’s important to make sure that there is a variety of settings that your flamingo will look comfortable in.
Important to remember: Think about the environment your flamingo is going to be in. Consider adding elements like water, grass, or other birds in the background to give your flamingo a more authentic touch.
Step 7: Enjoy!
You’ve learned how to draw a flamingo… just by drawing one! Take a step back and admire your beautiful flamingo drawing! Don’t forget to share it with your friends.
Important to remember: Be proud of what you’ve done! When you finish your flamingo drawing, you can frame it and display it proudly (or even create your own flamingo book for kids, just like our). Remember to sign your artwork and date it. Keep practicing and have fun!
That was it… now you know how to draw a flamingo step by step. For more flamingo illustrations, why not check out Hans-Peter’s very own nest on Instagram.