With some basic shapes and a few easy steps, you can create your adorable reindeer artwork. In this guide, we will break down how to draw a reindeer step-by-step from start to finish.
How to Draw a Reindeer – Let’s Begin
Also known as caribou, they are large deer species native to the Arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia.
Known for their vast antlers on the males and their sturdy bodies equipped for cold weather, reindeer have become a popular subject for holiday-themed illustrations and decorations.
With some patience and basic sketching techniques, you’ll be creating your own unique Rudolph-inspired reindeer masterpieces in no time!
Step 1: Drawing the Reindeer Head
The first step in drawing a reindeer is sketching out the head, as this will be the foundation for building the rest of the body.
- Lightly sketch a circle near the top of your paper – this will represent the basic shape of the reindeer’s head
- Don’t worry about perfect proportions yet; freehand a rough circle shape
- Make sure to leave room at the bottom to add the body, legs, etc, later.
- Divide the circle horizontally into equal thirds with very light guidelines
- Then divide the lower third of the circle vertically down the middle for the snout.
- Add another horizontal line near the bottom of the mouth
Step 2: Draw the Reindeer Body
The reindeer’s head should now be well-established, so we can start building downwards by adding the main body:
Chest and Back
- Lightly sketch an oval shape below the head for the chest and upper body
- Draw a slightly smaller oval behind that one for the hips/hindquarters
- Extend primary lines down from the body to represent where the legs will go
Step 3: Add the Antlers
Now, let’s give our reindeer its signature antlers! Male reindeer grow a vast, showy set of antlers each year that curve and branch into unique shapes.
Main Antler Beams
This step guides how to draw a reindeer quickly by lightly sketching two lines extending up and slightly backward from the top sides of the head circle at about a 120-degree angle from each other. These will be the main beams of the antlers.
Smaller Branch Shapes
- From those main antler lines, sketch 2-3 smaller line offshoots coming off each main beam.
- These can go in any direction—forwards, backward, or upside down—so feel free to get creative! Vary the lengths for a natural look.
- Draw the antler lines lighter at first, then trace over the key branches more darkly once you have placed them how you like.
Step 4: Draw the Legs, Hooves and Tails
The fourth step of this guide on how to draw a reindeer will focus on the Legs, Hooves, and Tails of your reindeer
- On the lower left and right sides of the body, sketch two vertical lines that bend at a 90-degree angle midway down. These form the front legs.
- At the end of each front leg, draw a small, upside-down U shape—these will be the cloven hooves.
- Behind each front leg, add another pair of longer back legs with the same stick shape and U-shaped hooves at the bottom.
- Try to angle the legs so they look more dynamic vs. stiff.
Let’s finish up the main body by adding a tail emerging from the back:
- Extend a tapered teardrop shape from the lower back to represent the tail
- Angle it somewhat upright, but use a slight curve or swoop
- Add some flicks and fur tufts along the sides to increase fluffiness.
Step 5: Add Details to the Face
Our reindeer is really coming together now! Let’s boost the cuteness factor by adding some facial features:
On the upper half of the head, sketch two oval shapes side-by-side to form the eyes. Draw smaller circles inside for the pupils and highlights.
Above each eye, add a couple of tiny lines for the eyelashes.
On each side of the snout, use curved lines to define furry cheeks leading up to the eyes.
Step 6: Finish with Shading and Coloring
We have all the critical parts in place; this is the most fun of all the steps in this guide on how to draw a reindeer cute.
Now, let’s finalize our design with some shading, texture, and color:
- Shade the nostrils and mouth of the snout more darkly for definition
- Add darker shading along contours like the neck, chest, back, and belly to give form
- Shade lightly under legs, tail, neck, etc., to ground the deer
- Draw small lines and shapes on the body for fur texture
- Paint the nose bright red or pink
- Fill in dark brown color for the antlers and hooves
- Use lighter brown, beige, grey, and white for fur sections
Customize your reindeer pattern by inventing unique color schemes and markings on the fur. Add scenery, too, like snowflakes, trees, characters, accessories, etc.
Congratulations, you did it! You now know how to draw a reindeer from start to finish, even if you’ve never drawn one before.
With simple shapes and lines, you learned to create an adorable and lively reindeer scene.
Reindeer make for a fun, festive subject matter to exercise your creative skills. Try using this step-by-step process to draw other winter animals, too, like snowy owls, polar bears, arctic foxes, and more.
Chirstmas Reindeer drawings also make lovely handmade gifts and crafts. Personalize with a name or custom antlers to give one-of-a-kind Christmas presents to friends, teachers, and family.
Or make an entire artistic reindeer herd as whimsical winter wall décor.