How To Draw a Fish
Has your child shown interest in wanting to learn how to draw? Drawing a fish can be a good place to start since this illustration involves simple shapes that even very young children can draw. But not only is it fun to draw these fascinating animals, but it’s also fun to learn more about them.
Did you know there are more than 20,000 different species of fish? Fish come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. They fill the oceans and seas, as well as your local pet store… and maybe your plate, too. Some are beautiful, and some are a little scary and mysterious, but all can capture our imaginations.
Fun Fish Facts To Draw Upon
Below you’ll find an easy step-by-step guide on how to draw a fish… but before we get into the details, we want to share some fun facts about fish.
Kids often learn through casual conversations, so dropping some of these cool facts as you draw together is a great way to add a little learning to a fun, kid-friendly activity. With just a little guidance, you can draw some stunning creatures of the sea AND bond with your younger family members at the same time, even if you’re oceans apart.
Have you ever wondered how long fish can live? The lifespan of fish varies drastically. For example, the Orange Roughy fish can live as long as 100 hundred years! How incredible is that?
Fish are also social creatures, just like people. They interact with other fish and sea life (and if we’re lucky, they interact with people like us, too).
Have you ever heard the phrase “Memory like a goldfish?” used to refer to someone who is forgetful? It turns out that assumption might not be accurate. Scientists have proved that goldfish have pretty good memories, especially involving food and mealtimes.
Have you noticed that your goldfish swims to you when you approach the bowl? Goldfish know that you are the person who takes care of their feeding, and like most creatures, they learn to trust and appreciate you accordingly.
Fish are often classified by the types of food they eat. There are three primary categories: carnivorous fish, herbivorous fish, and bottom dwellers.
Carnivorous fish (like sharks) eat other fish and animals, often whole or in large pieces. Fish who swim close to the ocean floor, known as bottom dwellers, such as rays, typically feed on small shellfish by crushing them with large flat teeth. Fish who are herbivores, also known as grazers, tend to have teeth in their throats capable of pulverizing plants.
How To Draw a Fish
Drawing is an amazing way for children to develop motor skills and express creativity. Working with drawing tools helps children build the necessary muscles and fine motor skills that they will need for writing. The act of drawing can also help teach math skills and quantitative reasoning as children tackle more challenging art concepts like perspective and depth.
Perhaps most importantly, drawing can be a joyful and satisfying process for children of all ages. People love to doodle, and doodles of fish — along with stars, faces, and other simple shapes — can be a great beginning to a lifelong love of the creative process.
Let’s dive into that process now, with our guide on how to draw a fish:
Step 1 - Outline the Body and Tail
Start by drawing an oval to form the outline of your fish. Make your oval as big or small as you’d like your fish to be. If you are drawing on your iPad or tablet, you may have the luxury of adjusting the size later if needed, but it’s harder to do that with pen and paper.
Next, add the outline of the tail to the body. Essentially, the tail will look like a triangle attached to the oval. Start from the left side of the oval, draw up diagonally to the left, then straight down, and then diagonally back up to the right, connecting back to the oval and forming a triangular shape.
Step 2 - Add the Fins
Now it’s time to add two fins to the body of your fish: one on the top and one on the bottom. Start on the top of the oval and draw a line going up diagonally to the left and then back down, connecting to the top of the fish’s body. This shape will also resemble a triangle, much like the tail.
To draw the bottom fin, start on the bottom of your fish and draw a line going diagonally down to the left. Then take the line back up, connecting to the bottom of the fish. The shape should also resemble a triangle but be slightly smaller than your top fin.
Step 3 - Finishing the Body & Tail
At this point, the body and tail are connected through the oval and triangle shapes, but you can add detail here to create a more lifelike fish.
Start a line on the fish’s body between the fin and the tail, and connect it to the top point of the tail. Repeat this step on the bottom part of the fish, but this time connect to the bottom point on the tail.
Once these two lines are down, you can erase the inside lines that formed the body and tail (parts of your original triangle and oval), making the connection more true-to-life, and bringing your fish close to its final (adorable) form.
Step 4 - Add An Eye
Your drawing depicts the side of your fish, so you will only need to draw one eye. Draw a circle inside your fish’s body, on the right half side. You can make this shape as big or little as you’d like the eye to be (but it should be smaller than the oval!).
You can encourage children who are new to drawing to make a simple dot for the eye to keep things simple. Or, for a unique, creative spark, you can even suggest drawing a little heart as the eye.
If you’d like to draw a more lifelike fish, you can draw a slightly curved line (not connecting to the top and bottom of the fish’s body) next to the eye, with the curve going around the eye. This little detail will create the illusion of the fish’s face and separate the eye from the rest of the body.
Then, draw a smaller, slightly curved line right under the eye, with the top of it touching the circle. This line will give the illusion that the fish has cheeks and make your drawing appear more like a cartoon.
Step 5 - Draw The Lips
On the right side of the fish’s body, you can use two small oval shapes to create an upper and lower lip. The upper lip will be a tiny oval angled upward, while the bottom lip oval should be similar in size but angled downward and connected to the upper oval so that the lips appear closed.
Step 6 - Add Scales
You can use half-circle and oval shapes to add scales to your fish. Begin near the tail, away from the eye and face area. You can either connect the scales or leave them scattered. Either method will still resemble scales, so you can go with your personal preference.
If you’d like to add details to the fins, draw lighter horizontal or vertical lines within the fins to give them some texture and make them look a little more 3D. You can add as many or as few lines as you’d like.
Step 7 - Make Your Fish Your Own
This final step is often the one that kids love the most. Once the fish is drawn, it’s time to color it in and make it uniquely yours. Encourage your little ones to channel their creativity and think outside the box as they decorate!
Drawing Time Is Bonding Time
Drawing together with kids or grandkids is a wonderful way to bond. Time spent sharing with loved ones over a sketchbook or coloring book is like nothing else.
But sometimes, families can be like tropical and Antarctic fish: oceans and continents apart. If you are far away, how can you draw with your grandkids or younger family members?
Enter: Kinoo. The Kinoo app adds fun, cooperative activities to video chats between family members. It’s no secret that younger children often struggle to focus on the video call in front of them. Kids can be easily distracted; after all, they have whole worlds to explore just in their imaginations.
Luckily, Kinoo video calls go beyond ordinary video chats like you get with Facetime. Kinoo, engages children with interactive games and activities, including drawing sea-worthy fish. The app lets you see and talk with far-away family members and helps guide conversations and build connections by prompting fun facts, tips, and tricks to keep the conversation going.
With a dash of the Kinoo wand, your child or grandchild can help you go fishing together virtually, too! The wand transforms into a fishing rod on screen through the magic of augmented reality. You can also bake together, sculpt together and more as you connect, play and learn together, and watch their creativity come to life. No matter where you are, you can connect with your family and see their precious faces light up while you do.
With Kinoo, you can build these memorable moments without waiting until the next time you visit. And hopefully, this step-by-step guide on drawing a fish will add some enchantment the next time you draw together — either in person or on a Kinoo video call.
Fun Facts About Fascinating Fish | NOAA Fisheries
Do goldfish really have a 3-second memory? | LiveScience
The art of creating: Why art is important for early childhood development | MSU Extension