How to Draw a Silverback Gorilla

Written by jacob stover
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The silverback gorilla is a large, majestic primate native to mountainous regions in Africa. These great apes are intelligent creatures with lifespans that can reach beyond four decades. Silverback gorillas are among the most endangered species on the face of the earth. Due to their naturally small numbers and relatively remote habitats, the species was not even formally known to science until 1902. It is believed that less than 1,000 silverback gorillas are left on the planet. Learning to draw these elusive creatures is easy with a bit of study and practice.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Drawing utensils
  • Reference material

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  1. 1

    Examine reference images and films to get a good understanding of the basic shapes and structures that make up the gorilla's body. Pay close attention to proportions, poses and styles of movement. Try to gain a good understanding of natural curves and angles within the gorilla's body, as well as an idea of how the gorilla holds itself in the wild.

  2. 2

    Draft rough shapes for the body and head of the gorilla. The gorilla's body is massive; it is very thick and deep. Try to display this fact in your basic outline.

  3. 3

    Add crude outlines for the gorilla's limbs. Gorillas have long, powerful arms and stout legs. Keep a consistent shape and size for the arms and legs, paying close attention to their overall size in proportion to the body and other limbs.

  4. 4

    Segment the head into small sections using a median line or cross shape. Draw the bisecting lines very lightly. Use these lines to assist in the placement and size of the facial features. The face is the most complex and detailed portion of your gorilla drawing, so you'll want to spend extra time on it. Refer back to your reference images often to keep the face looking natural and well-proportioned.

  5. 5

    Use your pencil to make thick outlines over the rough lines used to create the outline of the animal. Make thick, bold lines for the outline when you are satisfied with the shape and contour of the animal's outline. Use your eraser to clean up reference lines and sketchy portions of the image.

  6. 6

    Add shading to the animal for realistic lighting. Go over your outline and add fur and other detailing as desired.

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