How to Draw a Pirate

Olden day pirates committed robberies at sea, targeting ships and launching attacks on coastal towns. Over time, they developed a certain "look" that defined the pirate, such as the eye-patch, the wooden leg, the striped shirt and the distinctive pirate hat. Drawing a pirate isn't hard and it's a style of drawing that lets you make your drawing as character-filled as you'd like. Here are some suggestions to get you started!


  1. Image titled Basic Shapes Step 1 3
    Draw the basic guidelines for the pirate as shown here. These guidelines will enable you to create the pirate as shown in the introduction image. Once you've mastered this pirate, you'll be ready to try many more.
    • It is recommended that you begin with either the head or the torso first and then add the other elements to the picture so as to keep the proportion right.
  2. Image titled Shape for the Face Step 2
    Draw in the facial lines, shown here in red. Basically you're delineating the edge of the face where the beard whiskers commence.
  3. Image titled Eyes and Nose Step 3
    Draw the eyes and nose. The nose can be quite striking as this is someone who spends a lot of time in the harsh outdoor elements. For one eye, use a traditional eye-patch in place of the eye.
  4. Image titled Beard and Mouth Step 4
    Draw the mouth. In this case, the mouth is open a little more to suggest a menacing appearance. Then complete the beard, as shown by the read lines here.
  5. Image titled Hat Step 5 4
    Define the pirate's hat.
  6. Image titled Coat Step 6
    Draw the pirate's jacket. The sleeves are usually rolled up slightly in order to avoid catching on ship's rigging and swords.
  7. Image titled Belt Step 7
    Draw in the belt. Make the buckle stand out as it's a feature piece.
  8. Image titled Pants Step 8 1
    Refine the pirate's pants. In this case they're more like tight culottes but pirates can also wear baggier pants. It's really whatever you'd prefer your pirate to be dressed in.
  9. Image titled Left Boot Step 9
    Draw the boot on the leg that is in the air. Boots were an important part of keeping dry and safe on the ship's rigging, so make it a substantial boot.
  10. Image titled Wooden Leg Step 10
    Draw the ubiquitous wooden leg. He wouldn't be a good caricature of a pirate without this addition! However, if you'd rather he had both legs and two boots, simply copy the boot from the other foot but have it facing either forward or in the opposite direction of the first boot.
  11. Image titled Hand Step 11
    Add the pirate's hand. While drawing the hand, turn it into a scrunched up fist for a more threatening pose, as shown in the red lines here. For the end of the sleeve, draw the ruffle or lace extending from the shirt to reflect the clothing of the olden days.
  12. Image titled Sword Step 12
    Draw the pirate's cutlass. Make sure the tip of the blade is pointed. And add the same ruffle detail to the sleeve end as in the previous step.
  13. Image titled Add details Step 13 1
    Deal with the details. To make the pirate come to life, the details are an important aspect of giving him depth. Some of the details include:
    • The skull and crossbones insignia on the hat.
    • Clothing lines to help make the clothing seem like it's flowing and therefore realistic.
    • More whiskers in the beard.
    • Light reflection lines off the clothing, the leather of the boots, the hat, etc.
  14. Image titled Lines Done Step 14 1
    Erase all the guidelines that you haven't drawn in and outlined during the previous steps. They're quite evident here, and they should be easy to find on your own drawing too.
  15. Image titled Clean Up Step 15
    Make the finishing touches needed to complete the outlining and shading of the picture. Darken areas such as the eye-patch and shade in areas needing shadow gradations. Make any fuzzy details clearer. Once this is done, you're free to color in the pirate with pencils, crayons or paint as wished. The introduction image shows one suggestion for coloring in.
  16. 16
    Draw some accompanying elements to create an entire pirate theme. As well as drawing some more pirates, some other suggestions to turn your pirate drawing into an entire scene include:

Things You'll Need

  • Quality drawing paper
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Outline marker
  • Coloring tools

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Drawing People and Features