Oliver Jeffers on how to draw a penguin

I’m a big fan of Oliver Jeffers’ children’s books1, so I was pleased to stumble across a post by Oliver on the Guardian website where he provides a tongue-in-cheek tutorial on how to draw the penguin from Lost and Found2.



1. We all know how important it is to draw from REAL LIFE so step 1 is: borrow a penguin.

2. Ok, so its pretty tricky to borrow a penguin. And they are quite expensive, so buying one is out of the question. If you failed to complete step 1, then step 2 is find a photograph of a penguin.

3. Can’t find a photo? Alright, Alright I’ll show you. As you can see from this study of the anatomy of a penguin, it is made up of only three parts: head, body and useless wings, Its important to get these right.

4. Lets get the proportion first by drawing a circle on top of a bigger circle.

5. The bigger circle is the body. Draw in how it meets the head.

6. Now for his wings, which look like two sausages on either side.

7. Penguins look like waiters, so lets give him his white shirt by colouring in his head , wings and sides, black.

8. It’s time to add his beak, which is a blob of orange in the middle of his face. While you are at the orange, do a bit of fluff on his neck.

9. His eyes are two dots of white paint. Where you put them changes where he is looking.

10. Lets decide where the sun is. For the sake of argument, we will say its to the right. This means we put in a shadow to the left, and make his belly fluff darker on the left too.

11. We are ready for the final touch, his feet, which are really just two blobs of orange at the bottom of his body.

12. There you go! You now have a penguin and you can make him do whatever you want.

Notes & References

  1. Oliver Jeffers’ book Stuck has me in stitches every time I read it to my children and the Heart and the Bottle was one of the first really good interactive children’s books launched on the iPad. []
  2. The original post can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site/gallery/2011/jun/27/how-to-draw-penguins-oliver-jeffers []