Tutorial for How to Draw a Pirate Ship

Written by tatyana ivanov
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Tutorial for How to Draw a Pirate Ship
A reference image of a pirate ship will help you fill in the details of your drawing (NA/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The iconic image of classic sailboats was made popular by many stories, including "Peter Pan," "Treasure Island" and "Pirates of the Caribbean." These pirate ships are large sailboats with many sails, one of which usually has the classic image representative of pirates: a skull and crossbones. Drawing a pirate ship can be done by creating a basic outline of the ship, followed by filling in the details. A reference image or drawing of a pirate ship can help you visualise what you're drawing.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Eraser
  • Stock photo
  • Pirate ship model

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  1. 1

    Obtain a pirate ship reference photo, model or drawing. You can get one by searching the Internet or looking through historical books or illustrated novels about pirates. The reference photo or drawing will help you fill in the details of your pirate ship.

  2. 2

    Sketch the guidelines, or basic outline of the ship. First, draw a large horizontal oval at the bottom of your paper. This oval will form the body, or hull, of the ship. Draw three long vertical lines coming from the bottom of the oval and extending up to represent where the masts and sails will be. From the front and back vertical lines draw a line downwards at a 45 degree angle. Do the same thing with the back vertical line.

  3. 3

    Turn the oval into the shape of the boat hull by drawing a long line at a 45 degree angle from the back of the ship hull, then connecting it with a horizontal line that goes up above the top of the oval. Draw the bowsprit, or pole that comes out from the front of the ship by drawing two straight parallel lines extending from the front of the oval. Connect these two lines at a point, then connect the bowsprit to the top of the ship by drawing a vertical line that connects all three. Consult your reference image to fill in the details and specific shape of the hull of the ship, if necessary.

  4. 4

    Draw the sails on the masts of the ship by drawing three irregular squares on the lines you drew as the masts. The top square will be slightly smaller than the bottom two. Draw these three sails on each of the three masts. Make the masts appear three dimensional by drawing a line parallel to the line you already drew and then connect the two lines at the top.

  5. 5

    Add the details to the boat hull and sails. The boat hull can be made to look like wood by creating small horizontal marks to simulate seams in the wood along the front and back of the boat. Draw small curved lines at the tops and bottom of the sails to show they're billowing.

  6. 6

    Draw a skull and crossbones on the main sail to show that this is a pirate ship. Draw wavy lines beneath the boat to mimic the appearance of water. Establish a horizon line. Sign and date your work.

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