This tutorial shows how to draw the head of a bald eagle from the side view in twelve steps. It includes detailed illustrations and simple drawing instructions.
While drawing animals can be complex this is a fairly beginner friend tutorial as it offers a very detailed breakdown of the drawing process. The examples show how you can take an eagle’s most characteristic features with a minimal amount of detail and create a fairly realistic looking line drawing.
It’s recommended that you start the tutorial in pencil and draw light lines that you can easily erase in case you make a mistake. You will need to do so in several of the steps.
Step 1 – Draw an Outline of the Eagle’s Head
Start the drawing with a simple outline, basically a silhouette without any of the smaller details.
First draw a fairly large beak with a hook like tip and afterwards add the lines to define the top and bottom portions of the head/neck.
Please be aware that you can and may need to weak this outline as you begin adding the different parts of the head.
Step 2 – Draw the Eye & Surrounding Shapes
Draw the eye as a circle or a light oval with it’s top portion lightly covered by the eyebrow. You can project the eyebrow line/forehead line from the area where the beak transitions into the head.
Afterwards you can draw a some construction lines for the feather pattern above and below the eye as shown in the example. Please note that the actual feathers will be added in later steps and these lines can then be erased.
Step 3 – Draw the “Cheek” Area
From about the middle of the shape surrounding the eye going down to about the tip of the beak outline the feather pattern of the “cheek” area. You can then extend the bottom of the bill to basically merge into it’s bottom curve.
Step 4 – Draw the Details of the Bill
Add the smaller details of the bill as shown in the step by step breakdown below.
- Add the line that splits the top and bottom halves
- Draw a wave like line in the upper portion to separate it from the nose area
- Show the “lips” as an outline of the mouth that is wider towards the base and narrower towards the tip
- Draw the line that separates it from the head
- Add the nostril
Step 5 – Draw the Details of the Eye
Once again you can see a step by step breakdown below. This time for the eye.
- Draw the pupil as a small circle or a light vertical oval
- Add the highlight (light reflecting from the eye) overlapping the pupil as a tiny horizontal oval (can be just about any shape depending on light source)
- Show the eyelids as an outline around the main shape of the eye
- Define the shaded area
- Fill in the pupil and “in shadow” part of the eye with black or pencil shading
At this stage you should have a pretty much finished basic outline drawing of the eagle’s head. So you can begin darkening the lines you will keep for your final drawing by going over them with more solid strokes. You can alternatively use a pen or a black marker but only if you are very confident that you won’t make a mistake.
Step 6 – Darken the Lines
As already mentioned you can darken the parts of the drawing that will remain unchanged in it’s final stage. After you finish with the eye you can also go over the outline of the bill.
Step 7 – Draw the Feathers Around the Eye
To make the eagle look more realistic and less like a wire frame you can now add some of the feather pattern starting with the area around the eye.
You can draw most of these with just two lines adding some single and lines here and there to make the pattern appear more random. Also try and draw each clump to be slightly different in size and to have a bit of a random wave or curve (different directions).
You can draw the feather lines with darker strokes right away as you already have the construction lines from the previous lines to guide you. You can then use the tip of an erase to remove the guide lines after you are done.
Step 8 – Draw the Feathers around the “Cheek”
After the eye add the feathers around the “cheek” and base of the mouth area.
The feathers below the mouth generally tend to be tiny so you can pretty much draw them to look like fluff with very tiny lines. The feathers towards the back of the “cheek” however should be much larger.
Step 9 – Draw the Feathers Outlining the Head
Outline parts of the overall shape of the head with a darker line similar to the bill but also add some feathers clumps randomly sticking in a few places.
In particular these should be a little bit below the bill and at the back of the head. You can also add some tiny fluff in the upper part of the head just past the bill.
Step 10 – Draw the Forehead Feathers
Show some of the feather pattern of the forehead by simply drawing a few curved and wavy lines. These should be of varying length with somewhat random curves and waves but at the same time should have the same general flow (towards the upper/back of the head)
Step 11 – Add the Feathers Around the Neck
As bald eagles have white feathers on their head/neck area you can shown this pattern by creating a sort of “upside down crown” pattern of feathers around the neck.
Randomize the size, curve and direction of these feathers but at the same try draw most of these to be larger than in other areas of the head.
Step 12 – Finish the Eagle Drawing
Finally add the last bits of feathers as some fairly random batches of clumps around the upper neck area and back of the head.
This will create an appearance of the head being covered in fairly rough feathers without having to draw every single one of them.
Once you finish these you should be done with the drawing of the eagle’s head.
A bald eagle is a pretty cool looking bird and having a well done drawing of one can look quite impressive. Hopefully following this guide has helped you gain a better understanding of how to draw one, and possible a slightly better understanding of how to draw in general.
If you liked this tutorial and want to try some more like it also see:
- How to Draw Bird Step by Step – Side View
- How to Draw Lion Face & Head Step by Step
- How to Draw a Wolf Face & Head Step by Step