How to Draw Egyptian Scarabs

Written by f.r.r. mallory | 13/05/2017
How to Draw Egyptian Scarabs
An Egyptian scarab beetle has a striking appearance that is often made into jewellery. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

An Egyptian scarab is a type of beetle that is found in Egypt. These beetles are highly decorative with striking colours, shapes and designs on their upper casings. Images of Egyptian scarabs are found in all kinds of jewellery and artefacts from this area of the world. To draw a scarab is not difficult since the insect has a uniform and simple body that is very graphic. Start with a good overhead photograph of the scarab you can use for reference.

Place the drawing pad on the table. Position a piece of scratch paper under the heel of your drawing hand for it to rest on while you draw, this keeps the drawing paper free of the oils and pencil transfer caused when your hand touches the paper.

Draw a line down the vertical centre of the paper to draw a vertical scarab with the head toward the top of the paper. The scarab is symmetrical, or the same on both sides, this allows you to use tools effectively to keep the drawing even.

Sketch the basic shape of the scarab on the paper lightly so that you know the size you want.

Position an oval template along your centre line where the rear of the insect is drawn. Use the template to correct your oval and curved lines. Templates are thick plastic sheets with perfectly shaped graduating holes. Along each hole are quarter marks that allow you to line up the template hole with your drawing.

Draw the main body of the bug, it is a long U shape. Draw two horizontal lines at the top of the U shape where the head and body are separated into two segments. The head is above the body and tapered toward the nose. Sketch in the eyes on either side of the head. Draw in a horizontal line above the eyes and a second line below the eyes. The nose is a slight protrusion made notable by very straight-line moustache-like protrusions on either side.

Draw in the front legs. These are barbed along each side, slightly curved and they end in a large claw. The scarab has double back facing legs that are more narrow than the front legs. One set is behind the body/head separation point and the second set is midpoint along the body and all legs have inward facing claws.

Detail the neck joint to show the dip toward the wings and elaborate on the wing separation line. Detail out the legs to add hair and small spikes. The wings may be so smooth they look like polished chrome and the head has the appearance of worked leather. Finish by adding shadows and colours to suit your specific type of scarab.


While most animals and insects look symmetrical, no two limbs are exactly the same. Small distinctions actually make the drawing look more realistic.

Tips and warnings

  • While most animals and insects look symmetrical, no two limbs are exactly the same. Small distinctions actually make the drawing look more realistic.

Things you need

  • Drawing pad
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Scrap paper
  • Oval and circle template

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