The Mighty Flighty Pterodactyl

Cartoon pterodactyl image

A long time favorite of mine, the pterodactyl is also a dinosaur I love to draw due to it's close resemblance to a dragon.

In a sense, this dinosaur is kind of like a simplified version of a dragon. Similar proportions and measurements - yet just not as detailed. For example... it has a smooth bird-like head, no tail, and the wings don't have the extra finger-like extensions like dragons do.

So in a sense, this lesson can appeal to both dinosaur and dragon lovers alike, as the two creatures share(ed?) very similar physical traits.

OK, let's put this lesson into flight... off to to draw the mighty, flighty pterodactyl!

Cartoon pterodactyl framework drawing

First Step - A Perfect Pterodactyl Framework!

As I mentioned above, this dinosaur is one that closely resembles some of the dragons here on this site. As such, drawing this particular dinosaur, and the framework... will be good practice for any future dragons you plan on drawing.

As you can see, the core part of the pterodactyl is extremely simple - an oval for the body, a curved line for the neck, and a small circle for the head. Draw yours so it looks the same.

The rest of the framework is rather complex as you've got to take into account, the large spanning wings...

Framework for a cartoon pterodactyl

In drawing the wing lines as you see above, it's important to keep them about the same length. I say 'about' as this particular dinosaur is turned slightly to the left (your right). As such, it's left wing (again your right) should appear slightly shorter.

Next, move on to drawing in simple lines and shapes to bring out the key features of the dinosaur...

Drawing of a pterodactyl framework

The beak and horn-like protrusion on the pterodactyl's head is pretty straight-forward, especially when you draw a cross first to keep symmetry. After that, draw in the legs - three straight lines a piece... followed by four circles for the soon-to-be claws and talons.

Cartoon pterodactyl framework drawing

The last additions to your framework are two different colored straight, vertical lines. Why? Well, they mark off the halfway point between where each wing connects to the body and where each wingtip ends. And this is helpful for when it comes time to draw the webbing of skin later on.

And with that - you're ready to move on and begin drawing your cartoon pterodactyl! Let's continue...

Second Step - Draw the Head and Body of Your Pterodactyl

The crosses really come in handy when it comes to drawing the actual head and body of your pterodactyl. To start, draw the head followed by the arms like so...

Drawing the head of a cartoon pterodactyl Drawing the arms of a cartoon pterodactyl

Remember - feel free to change the look of your dinosaur. You've got the proportions all mapped out and so, focusing on coming up with your own unique look is something to aim for.

Next, work your way on down the pterodactyl by drawing simple lines to complete the body and lower legs...

Drawing the body of a cartoon pterodactyl Drawing the legs of a cartoon pterodactyl

And Just like the cross on the circle portion of the head, the cross on the oval portion of the body is helpful as it gives you a unique perspective of the drawing where you can balance the left and right sides accordingly, keeping symmetry as you progress.

Well, with the head and body complete, it's on to the next step!...

Drawing the foot of a cartoon pterodactyl

Third Step - Drawing the Talons and Claws

Beginning with the talons (feet), check out the small example on your left. Using the circle that makes up the foot area on each leg, draw in three sharp-looking talons. To get yours like mine, begin with the inner-most digit first, and then work your way out to the side.

Drawing the talons of a cartoon pterodactyl

And then, once you've got the talons in place - move on up to the claw area - the circles that appear halfway along the top part of each of the wings.

Just like with the talons, use the circles to guide you along as you draw three fingers on each. Actually, it's four fingers and not three - the fourth finger is similar to a human's 'baby' finger... and it extends to the very tip of the wing, supporting the webbed skin than allows the dinosaur to fly.

Also, before you finish each claw - make sure that you leave a small open area to draw each 'baby finger' that will extend out to either tip of the wing.

On to the final step...

Fourth Step - Finish the Pterodactyl by Completing the Wings

At this point, everything is in place and all that's left to draw is the wings. Lucky for you, you've got a very nice-looking framework from which to accurately place the remaining components of the drawing - beginning with the 'baby fingers'...

Mapping out the wings for a cartoon pterodactyl

Looking at the example above, you can see how each of the remaining fingers protrudes out and away from the claw to become the supporting branch for the rest of the wing. Draw each of these, keeping to the shape of the framework. And also, draw two dots - one on each colored line. Mark them the same distance down from each of the two claws.

Completed drawing of a cartoon pterodactyl

Last thing then -- use the red dot (and the green lines - penciled in your case) to draw the last part of each of the wings - the skin. It's the webbed skin that allows the pterodactyl to fly, just like a dragon. The red dots, marking the halfway points, can make it easier to create a more curved look for this part of the wing. They also help in balancing the left and right wings in terms of symmetry.

And there you have it, some final touches and you're all finished!

Cartoon pterodactyl image

Final Step - Ready for Flight!

Actually, there aren't too many details to add at this point. Again, it's a pretty simple looking creature when compared to a dragon, and so... why not keep it that way?

But of course -- do add some color to give your drawing some character. Up top, I came up with a unique red-orange, orange, and yellow polka dot combination. But hey, try something a little different... purple or brown skin would also be pretty neat looking!

And so, this brings us to the end of yet another cartoon dinosaur drawing lesson. I hoped you enjoyed creating this 'mighty flighty pterodactyl' and I welcome you to come back again soon for some more lessons!