How to Draw a Cartoon Hydra

Cartoon hydra drawing

Right off the bat you may be thinking... a cartoon hydra? Is a 'hydra' even a dragon? And if so, my answer would be... well, it's dragon enough for the dragon section!

This is an advanced lesson as I'm sure you had already guessed (and read). It takes time to draw in seven different overlapping heads, and on top of that - have them all detailed.

A little bit about the hydra first... did you know that this was the beast that according to Greek Mythology, the legendary Hercules slayed? It's true (so the story goes)... the beast was the guardian of the underworld and could only be killed if its 'main' head was removed!

Here, I'd like to show you a method to go about creating your own cartoon hydra with seven different heads. In your case, perhaps three or five heads is more suitable. Actually, the less there are, the easier it will be to draw - your choice.

OK then, let's get to it!

First Step - A Dragon-Like Framework

Start your seven-headed monster off with a simple framework of basic shapes. Two circles and a joining line works very nicely for the torso (top circle) and the abdomen area (bottom circle).

With the torso and abdomen area in place, move on to some of the other parts that you'd do well do map out ahead of time...

Drawing the framework of the cartoon hydra Adding a tail and limbs to the framework

Looking at the drawing above, you can see how I've used some very simple lines to sketch in the limbs for the hydra as well as a long tail extending out from behind it - just like a dragon's. The creature will be sitting and viewed at its side and so only one of the back legs needs to be drawn in.

Now of course, we're forgetting the head... er 'heads' I mean. Actually, let's tackle the heads in the next step as there's lots to do and explain!...

Positioning the neck placement on top of the torso of the hydra

Second Step - Mapping and Positioning Your Hydra Heads!

Before you venture too far into this lesson, do know that it's a bit different than others. After all, there're seven heads to draw as opposed to just one! :-)

Drawing seven heads can get a bit confusing - especially when the overlap. So, to help you stay focused and organized, I advise that you create a simple guideline from which you can match out the position of each head & neck combination.

Similar to the crosses that we've used in previous lessons to help keep symmetry, draw a simple pattern as I've done in the example to your left, composed of four simple lines - three parallel and one perpendicular.

It's from this little guideline that you will keep each of the heads of your cartoon hydra in line and in the correct position. Like so...

Positioning the first head of the cartoon hydra Drawing in several other heads for the cartoon hydra

While it may not be the most simple layout you've ever seen, mapping out each of your hydra's heads in this manner allows you to draw each one in its correct position. Oh, and color-coding each one can't hurt anything either! Just remember to keep your lines as light as possible.

Once you've got each head positioned, depending on the look that you're going for... think about how you're going to draw each one. And yes, I do say 'think about' as I don't want you to rush in just yet!

So, we know that this cartoon hydra is going to have seven heads. Yours? Maybe five? Either way, with such an odd-looking creature at hand, you can really have some fun here when it comes to drawing the 'look' of each individual head. Here the ones I came up with - note how each one is different in its own unique way...

Seven different cartoon hydra head drawings

Now it becomes much clearer doesn't it! Each dragon head can be draw a totally different way to give your hydra a truly unique look. Notice how in each case, I kept to the framework that I mapped out? Well, do your best to do the same.

So, do you have some cool ideas for the heads of your hydra? Great! Now it's time to go ahead and draw them...

Third Step - Draw Each Head, Overlapping... One by One

Before you continue on, take a look once again at the seven unique heads that I drew in the previous step. See where each one is positioned according to the guideline that appears at the base of their necks? This provides a pretty good indication of what order you'll need to draw yours.

Here's the order that I recommend: Green > Brown > Purple > Red > Blue (Main Head) > Orange, and finally... Pink. And here's how each one takes shape, one by one - and overlapping...

Positioning the first hydra head Positioning the second hydra head Positioning the third hydra head Positioning the fourth hydra head Positioning the fifth hydra head Positioning the sixth hydra head Positioning the seventh hydra head Black and whit drawing of hydra heads

Depending on how you positioned each hydra head, you may have more or less of each one actually visible in the end. In my case, I purposely 'bunched up' all seven heads so that you can better appreciate the effect created when you draw things to overlap.

Take your time as you draw the heads of your hydra. Having them overlap like this is a tedious process, but with a little patience, the results will be very nice indeed! And when you're ready, let's move on to the body of this cartoon hydra...

Fourth Step - Draw the Body of Your Cartoon Hydra

With so much energy spent on drawing the heads of your cartoon hydra, the body seems almost simple in comparison. Still, like with any other dragon - or 'dragon-like' creature I should say... drawing the body takes effort too. But with the help of the framework you mapped out, it should be a little bit more straight-forward.

Beginning with the lower right leg, here's how to go about it...

Drawing the leg of the cartoon hydra Drawing the arm of the cartoon hydra Drawing the body of the cartoon hydra Drawing the limbs of the cartoon hydra

As you can see, drawing your cartoon hydra is a lot like drawing any other dragon - the exception of course being that the (this) hydra doesn't have wings, and has six additional heads! :-)

OK, let's finish it up... a tail, some color... and I think that's it!

Black and white drawing of a cartoon hydra

Final Step - A Tail and You're Done!

Well, you're down to the last part of the lesson now... finishing your cartoon hydra drawing by drawing a tail, and any other details that you think are necessary.

Oh and color too! Go back up top and you can see that seven heads of seven different colors can give your hydra a pretty cool-looking appearance.

In the end, the key thing to take away from this lesson, is not really how to draw a hydra, but how important being creative and coming up with your own unique ideas really is...

...if you think about it, I could have drawn a hydra with seven exact same heads, all of the same color too. Instead though, I went for something out of the ordinary by giving each head its own look and character (Katie when you read this - thanks for your input!).

So then, be creative and never hesitate to put your wildest ideas to the test on paper! And of course, have fun in the process!

Congrats on creating a unique 'x-headed' cartoon hydra! :-)