How to Draw a Gerbil

Updated November 21, 2016

Gerbils are small furry rodents that are often kept as pets. When drawing a gerbil, consider the purposes of your artwork and decide if you wish to draw a realistic or a cartoon animal. If you are creating a likeness of a pet, consider an accurate approach. If you are making a comic strip or a funny card, you may prefer to draw a caricature.

Draw from a model. If you do not own a gerbil, look at a picture in a book or on the Internet. Using a model will help you achieve accurate proportions if you seek realism, or decide which features to exaggerate if you are drawing a cartoon.

Sketch the body using your pencil. Start with an oval, egg-like shape and add small, light lines to indicate fur. Erase and adjust until you are happy with the shape and have drawn enough lines to give the body a textured, fuzzy appearance.

Add arms and legs using your pencil, mimicking the position of the limbs of your model. Include prominent haunches for the back legs. Sketch paws and feet, indicating five delicate digits on each, unless you are drawing a cartoon, in which case you can draw paws with less detail.

Draw the head of the gerbil. For a cartoon, give your gerbil puffy cheeks and big ears. When drawing a realistic gerbil, attempt a narrow, mouse-like head that accentuates the shape of a real rodent skull.

Add facial details such as nose, mouth and eyes. Gerbil eyes are round and black. You can give them a lifelike glint if you leave a small circle of white in the same position on each eyeball. Gerbil noses are slightly smaller than the eyes and have a soft, fuzzy appearance. The nose is above the mouth, which you denote only by two chubby cheeks peppered with whiskers.

Sketch a tail at the rear of the gerbil the same length as the gerbil's body. Realistic gerbil tails feature sparse hairs and are not fluffy. When creating a cartoon, feel free to experiment with proportions and texture of the tail.

Use your pen to darken the outer edges of your drawing. Add wispy lines to the fur at the borders of each body part to enhance contrast and indicate shadow. Use a pen to fill in the eyes and accentuate the whiskers, or whichever body parts you want to stand out.


Examine images of gerbil skeletons available online. Understanding the bone structure of the animal will help you recreate each furred body part with accurate proportions and positioning.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Sketchpad
  • Model gerbil or photograph
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About the Author

Emma Rensch earned her B.A. in writing for contemporary media from Scripps College in 2011. Currently, she lives and writes in San Diego.