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How to Draw a Dove

How to Draw a Dove

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How to Draw a Dove Using Watercolour Pencils

If you’re thinking of creating your own holiday cards this year, you might want to add this simple yet elegant dove drawing to your design. Doves are universally known as birds of peace and are the perfect symbol to use on Christmas cards or as framed holiday art. This article will show you how to draw and paint a dove using watercolour pencils in six easy steps.

Watercolour pencils are such a versatile art tool. You can use them like you would a regular coloured pencil to get vibrant colours and beautiful layers, or you can add water to your marks and they instantly turn into watercolour paint! How fun is that?

Let’s get started!

List of Supplies

How to Draw a Dove Step-By-Step

When drawing subjects with lots of parts, such as birds and animals, it’s best to start with basic shapes—circles, ovals, squares, rectangles, and triangles. As you look at your reference photo, you’ll begin to see these shapes.

It’s also best to use a drawing pencil with a hard lead, such as an HB, to make the lines of your sketch very light so that they blend with the colour pencil.

step 1

Step 1

Use basic shapes to sketch the body, head, tail, and wings. As you can see here, the head is a small circle, the body is an oval, and the wings and tail are triangles that have been adjusted to mimic their actual shape. Now that you have drawn the basic overall shape of a flying dove, you can start to add the details.

step 2

Step 2

You don’t have to draw each individual feather. Instead, add lines that indicate the feathers in the wing and the tail. To show where the dove’s legs and feet will be, place two small circles at the lower edge of its body. Next, add the olive branch with leaves, the bird’s tiny triangular beak, and a small oval for the eye.

step 3

Step 3

Once you outline your initial shapes you’ll begin to see the dove taking shape. This is when you can define the feathers more and add his little feet. Erase any lines outside the outline of the dove.

step 4

Step 4

Colour the feathers inside the wing using A089. You don’t have to colour in every wing, as this dove is white and the blue is supposed to depict the feathers that are in shadow. Add some blue lines to the belly of the dove to give its body dimension. For the wings that are catching the most light, colour them with the A040. This looks like the sun shining on them, doesn’t it?

step 5

Step 5

Use a water brush to moisten the pencil marks, gently blending the coloured areas. As the colour dries, you can go over some areas to sharpen them. Use more water to thin the paint along the feathers’ edges, moving it away from the wings. This gives the illusion of the wings flapping in motion.

step 6

Step 6

To finish, add more blue to darken the shadows and more yellow to brighten the highlighted areas. Don’t worry about the blue and yellow mixing to make green. This just adds an interesting and painterly quality to your drawing.

Wow! Look what you’ve done! You now have a beautiful dove to embellish your holiday cards or frame as a gift for someone special.


  • Always use paper that is at least 140lb/300gsm when using water media. This sturdy paper can withstand the moisture without buckling or warping.
  • Experiment with the different techniques you can use with watercolour pencils, such as glazing, blending, and creating soft and hard edges, by adding a little or a lot of water to your marks.
  • Practice adding water to the paper before using the pencils or dipping the pencil in water first and see what fun effects you can get.

Watercolour pencils give you the best of both worlds—drawing and painting. Since they’re easy to transport, they’re the perfect tool to take on sketch outings. By using a water brush, that’s prefilled with water, you don’t have to worry about bringing along water cups; instead, you’ll always be ready to paint! We hope you’ve enjoyed this mini tutorial on how to easily draw a dove. We’d love to hear all about it, so please leave a comment below.

Are you ready to create even more art? Please shop suggested set below for your next creation.

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