How to draw a koala
They're cute, furry and an Australian icon - everyone knows the famous koala! But if you've ever tried to draw one of these cuddly marsupials, you know it can be more difficult than it looks. Their unique nose, strange proportions and fuzzy fur makes drawing them pretty hard, but don't worry - this beginner's guide will help you every step of the way, with images, video and detailed instructions.
See below for instructions on how to draw a koala step by step!
- Intro to koalas
- What do I need for my koala drawing?
- How to draw a koala step by step
- How can I preserve and display my koala drawing?
- Find everything you need for easy koala drawing at Spotlight
Before we dive in, let's go into what makes koalas so special. Did you know that koalas:
- Can't recognise eucalyptus leaves (their only food) if given to them on a plate?
- Have fingerprints (a feature otherwise unique to only humans and primates!)
- They're not related to bears - they're actually related faintly to wombats!
- Sound terrifying? Many Australian campers know the fear of hearing a vocal koala while they're trying to sleep at night - it's like a mixture between an angry cow and a bear.
- Have a small, smooth brain? Luckily they don't need much brainpower to survive! They don't have any natural predators, so the most a koala needs to think about is where to find its next meal and where to sleep for the night.
To create your koala sketch you will need some basic drawing supplies.
- Pencils - grey lead pencil is what we will be using to create our sketch - we used a HB size.
- Pad - choose drawing paper that is acid-free and at least 130gsm, with a crisp white colour that will show off your linework brilliantly.
- Drawing accessories - have a sharpener and eraser on hand.
Now let's draw! For those of you who love a video, here's the entire process:
Here's what you need to do to draw a koala in ten easy steps:
- Start in the centre of your page and draw a circle that's a little wider than it is taller. Add in a vertical oval to the centre of this circle towards the bottom - this is the head and nose of the koala.
- Draw two circles around half the size of the head at the top left and top right sections of the head. These will be your koala's ears. Add some fluffy hairs to the top of the head between the ears.
- Under the ear on the left side, leave a small gap and then create the first arm of the koala. Have the shoulder nice and round, then taper the arm into a rounded paw that ends just past the nose.
- Starting right underneath the shoulder, draw the top of the leg - again, nice and round. Taper the end of the leg to end just under and to the left of the first paw you drew.
- Draw a straight line at a 60 degree angle that runs just underneath the two paws, next to the jaw of the koala and just up under the right ear. Then draw a second line parallel to this one, leaving around a 1cm gap in between - this is the branch.
- Add in the 'hidden' limbs of the koala poking around the back of the branch, ending in rounded paws.
- Draw two small circles in the centre of the head, spaced apart and separated by the top of the nose. Colour them in with your grey lead, but leave two small circles in the same place in each eye white. Colour in the nose fully.
- Add some small, thin claws to the top of each paw.
- Using your eraser, gently erase the lines of the limbs and ears, replacing them with sketchy, spiked lines that simulate the fluffy fur of the koala.
- Add a half circle to each ear, representing the inner ear of the koala.
And you're done! You can leave your koala drawing as is, line it with a black liner pen or colour it with colouring pencils.
Now that you've drawn your koala, the next step is making sure it stays as crisp and clean as the day you drew it! Here is what you can do to protect and maintain your artwork:
- Lay it flat - if you are storing your koala drawing loose, make sure it is laying down flat and not leaning against something vertically. If you leave it standing up, it will begin to buckle and bend over time. Keep your picture horizontal and flat!
- Wax paper - if you are leaving your drawing in your sketchbook, sometimes all it takes is contact with the sheet of paper above it for your precious artwork to smudge. To stop this from happening, place a sheet of wax or baking paper on top of it, as this will keep it from blending with the paper on top.
- Varnish - one of the best ways to protect your artwork is with a spray on protective varnish. You can choose from matte or gloss variations in most brands, then it's simply a matter of spraying on a few light layers in a well-ventilated area. If you can find a varnish with UV protection, it will help if you plan to display your koala drawing in sunlight.
- Frame it - finish your artwork off in style by displaying it in a picture frame. A frame will make your koala drawing easy to transport and, if you can shell out for a UV-resistant glass cover, it will help protect your drawing from sunlight as well.
Want even more art supplies? Check out our buying guides for some great advice on what is best for your next project - and if you need some inspo, our various art project guides are sure to get your creative juices flowing.