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How to draw a fairy step by step

  • Adults 
  • Teenagers 
  • 120 min
What you need:

Colour pencils Art Grip Aquarelle, India Ink Pitt Artist Pen S, Graphite pencil Grip 2001 2B, Brush

The world of elves, goblins and nature spirits offers plenty of scope for exciting stories and beautiful drawings. The figure in our picture is a cheeky little fairy who is on her way through an enchanted forest. She has her back turned towards us, which means her delicate, semi-transparent wings are particularly prominent. She is looking at us over her shoulder, as if she were inviting us to come with her.

Step 1

To draw your figure, first make a preliminary sketch on the A4 drawing paper. It is best to start with a simple stick figure and then add the joints to it. You can bring out the playful, cheeky and nimble spirit of your wood fairy by means of the correct bodily posture. That’s why her left shoulder is raised slightly and her back is shaped with a slight hollow.

The drawing should not completely fill the A4 paper, because otherwise there will not be enough room for the background later on.

Step 2

Give your fairy a little more plasticity by means of basic geometrical shapes such as cylinders. When doing this, make sure you draw the proportions and the overlaps so that there are not too many lines meeting at one point. In this step, incidentally, you must also decide how much volume the body of your fantasy figure requires so that it will have the typically tender and delicate shape of a fairy, whilst at the same time not looking too thin and fragile.

Step 3

Now give your figure hair, a dress, stockings, gloves and wings. These wings extend for just less than two thirds of the fairy‘s body size. Turn the body a little more towards the observer and give the head typically elfish ears. If the new elements give rise to undesirable overlaps, you can improve the position of the limbs a little more at this point. Now you can also consider how spare the costume should be, and how elaborate the other details can be at most, in order to avoid distracting from either the body shape or the wings. This is why her hair has also been kept rather short. 

Step 4

In the next step, build up your fairy completely as shown in the picture. Now you have completed your preliminary sketch. This will help you to judge better which areas should later be coloured more delicately or more strongly with the coloured pencils in order to achieve a result that is as plastic as possible. Also, you will be able to bring out the difference between those parts of the picture which are opaque and those which are semi-transparent. You will also find it easier to decide what eye size is most appropriate and how the folds of the costume should run.

Step 5

You can make your final alterations to the preliminary sketch. The forms of the fairy‘s body are now a bit fuller, the left leg more acutely angled and the wings have been made smaller. Following this, use graphite paper to transfer the subject to a sheet of A4 watercolour paper. Work over the lines again with a fineliner pen and erase the pencil lines that are still visible.

Step 6

We recommend placing your watercolour paper on an unused sheet of paper. This will prevent the structure of the underlying surface (e.g. table panel) from pressing through. On the fineliner drawing, ground out the in dividual surfaces using the Art GRIP watercolour pencils. When doing this, hold the pencil as flat as possible and stroke it carefully over the paper in order to fill in the individual areas. You should resharpen the pencil from time to time if required. To give a greater impression of depth and three-dimensionality, you can reduce or increase the intensity of colour application at particular points in the picture. For example, the wings and clothes especially must be coloured more delicately so that they will appear more transparent later on. You can see the difference in the application of colour on the hair, parts of the costume and the rear wing which is achieved by painting over with a wet brush. This method enables you to create various surface structures.

Step 7

The next step is to colour in all the elements of the figure as shown in the illustration. Don‘t forget to vary the intensity of colour application. You can refer to your preliminary pencil sketch from step 04 to see where the darker areas should be. The ability to paint over Art GRIP watercolour pencils with water means you can achieve beautiful colour transitions and shadings really easily with a moist brush. The finished elf is wearing cheerful, shining colours which underline the expression of her playful character. Add more structure to the wings and the fringes of her costume after they have dried, using the fineliner.

Step 8

Now draw in the background image, once again by making a preliminary sketch on a new sheet of DIN A4 drawing paper. Our fairy is standing in the middle of a living greenwood. Outline old trees with thick bark and thick roots, standing amidst long grass. The grid will help you to divide the sheet of paper sensibly. The landscape has been kept rather simple, and the individual surfaces are clearly separated from one another so that the fairy clearly stands in the foreground in spite of her delicate colouring in some areas.

Step 9

When you are satisfied with your preliminary sketch, draw it out cleanly a second time on a new sheet of A4 watercolour paper. Then ground out the background according to the illustration using the Art GRIP watercolour pencils. At points where you want to create more depth, you must follow up the shading of the area by applying somewhat more colour. In the spaces between the trees, you can create warm sunlight falling through the leaves by using a little yellow. Following this, paint over the various coloured areas with a moistened brush, in order to create the soft transitions between the colour applications of different intensity within the individual areas of colour. Finer details such as the individual stalks of grass will be added in the next step.

Step 10

As soon as the background has dried, add individual stalks of grass and give more structure to the treetops and the bark by a dry application of colour.