How to Draw a Wolf Howling at the Moon Step-by-Step

Updated April 17, 2017

No one really understands why wolves howl at a full moon. The subject is replete with legends and myths about why this may be. Perhaps it is simply a reaction to the full splendour of a large rising moon that sets off a natural reaction, as it often does in people. Many natural occurrences happen during certain full moons, such as sea turtles choosing a particular full moon to come ashore and lay their eggs. A drawing of a wolf howling at the moon in a natural setting can be a very powerful, full of mystery and beauty.

Find a good side-on photograph of a howling wolf and a good close up picture of a full moon to use as your main references. Look for other close-up photographs that may help to identify some of the details of the wolf. Prepare your drawing area and have the photos placed so that you can easily view them as you draw. Decide how large you would like the wolf to be. Use the actual size on the photo if you think it is large enough. If you want to change the size, as in doubling it, for example, simply multiply your measurements from the photo by 2 to get the exact proportions. To get half the size you would multiply the measurements from the photo by one half (.5), and so on.

Draw a large circle using your compass. The circle should be about half the size of your page, placed in the middle or slightly above. Don't worry if the top of the moon is off the page but make sure the sides are inside the edge. Ensure that this circle is perfectly round. Texture the surface of the circle to indicate the surface of the moon. Add irregular lines going in random directions. Use your reference image of the moon to guide you through this. Lightly mark where the dark regions are and shade them in so they look grey. Keep other areas white. Keep detailing the moon surface until you are satisfied.

Shade in the area around the moon to represent the night sky. Keep the shading away from the moon by a few inches. Draw the darkest shading at the edge of the paper and gradually make it lighter as you go inward. Use the cloth to blend the shading by rubbing from the outside in. Don't smudge it too close to the outer edge of the moon to preserve the moon's glow. Carefully blend in areas on the surface of the moon as well. Use your reference photo if you get confused at any time.

Draw a line to indicate what the wolf is standing on. Don't worry if it overlaps the bottom of the moon. Draw the line in a way that the silhouette of the wolf will be prominently visible in the middle of the moon. This line should be the same as the ground in the reference photo showing the wolf side on. Shade in the area below the line. Shade it in darker than the darkest part of the sky.

Draw the outline of the wolf. Keep referring to the photo and use measurements to get the right proportions. Note the position of the head, tilting upwards, the open mouth and the angle of the ear. Place the feet correctly and include the tail. Keep working on this outline, as it will be the most detailed element of the wolf. Don't draw any other details on the wolf as only the outline matters when drawing a silhouette. Redraw incorrect lines until the wolf is clearly recognisable. Shade in the wolf as dark as the ground it is standing on.

Refine the outline of ground beneath and around the wolf. Create fine lines to indicate some grass and other vegetation. Keep the same level of shading for the wolf and the ground and vegetation around it.

Clean any smudges with an eraser to finish your drawing.

Things You'll Need

  • Graphite pencil
  • Eraser
  • Drawing paper
  • Compass
  • Cloth
  • Reference image
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About the Author

Rod Kuster has been a writer and editor since 1995. His work has been published in "Computer Magazine," "Boom Magazine" and Shock Media. Kuster holds a B.A. in international development studies from the University of Dalhousie.