How to draw a barn owl

Grab a pencil, drawing pen and sketch pad to create an elegant winter owl using simple shapes and lines  


It’s difficult to image, after seeing a barn owl perched on a fence post in the wild, that you could capture its shape and character on paper.


But with these five simple steps, you’ll be able to do just that.

There are 4,000 breeding pairs of barn owl in the UK ©Getty


1. Create the shape

Using a pencil, draw a curved line across the page. Overlay four circles, each centred on the line – these should vary in size.

2. Sketch the outline
Link the four circles together. Add two slightly curved lines to circle one, dividing it into quarters to create the outlines for the face.
3. Add the face
Use the vertical line on the head to help sketch the beak, draw the eyes just above the horizontal line, and then add the facial disk.
4. Sketch the feathers
Sketch the wing and tail feathers using the two middle circles as a guide. If you are feeling confident, add the feet and fence post.
5. Add detail
Ink over the lines you want to keep using a drawing pen, leaving a small highlight in the eyes to give your owl life. Finally, erase the pencil.

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Main image ©Alan Batley