How to Draw a Stegosaurus

Cartoon stegosaurus drawing

Easily one of the most famous dinosaurs of all, the stegosaurus is very unique-looking with large plates along its back and sharp spikes at the end of its tail.

Actually, this dinosaur has always been a favorite of mine. While not as good as the first movie, the scene with the stegosauruses in the Jurassic Park sequel 'The Lost World' is definitely one of my favorites. Seeing the actors along side it for the first time really let you appreciate just how big this dinosaur really was - and how dangerous they could be too!

Well - plates, spikes and all... let's get going with the lesson!

First Step - Draw a Framework

The first thing we're going to do in creating this dinosaur is create a simple framework composed of basic shapes. And basic indeed, at first glace of the examples below, it's quite clear that the shape of this dinosaur is pretty basic...

How to draw a stegosaurus - a simple framework A framework for drawing a cartoon stegosaurus

Alright, let's begin. Start by drawing a large oval on the page in front of you, followed by the other simple shapes you see in the image above. Draw two triangles extending out on either side - one for the head & neck, and the other for the tail. After that, draw a couple rectangles just like I've done above - one for the front leg and the other for the back.

Next, with the first five shapes in place, draw a small oval for where you want the head to be positioned, and draw a small curved line at the opposite end for the tip of the tail where the dinosaur's horn-like spikes will extend from. Finally, draw a series of simple vertical lines from head to tail to position the plates to be drawn later.

The head of a cartoon stegosaurus drawing

Second Step - Draw the Head and Neck

One thing to keep in mind... the stegosaurus has a very small head when compared to the rest of its body. So then, do your best to keep with the size of the oval... try not to draw it too big!

A tip for drawing the head... draw the top of the head so that it's flush with the top of the oval. Also, it may be easier (and better looking perhaps!) if you close the mouth of your dinosaur. Mine sort of looks as though it's coughing... you may want to keep it very simple, just like the head of an apatosaurus - a lesson well on it's way!

Drawing the neck of a cartoon stegosaurus

Next, use the triangle to help you draw in the neck of your cartoon stegosaurus. Only use it to guide your lines though... look to the right and you can see how I've deviated from it.

As your lines get closer to the large oval (the body) of your stegosaurus, have them curve accordingly as they will soon become part of the main body of the dinosaur. Draw the lower neck line so that it stops near the top of the rectangle.

So... how's your dinosaur looking up to this point? Is the head and neck in place? Good stuff! Let's keep going... the next step is drawing the body of your stegosaurus.

Third Step - Stegosaurus Body and Legs

Alright, now it's on to drawing the body and the legs of your cartoon dinosaur. The first thing to do then is complete the back and tail of your stegosaurus by continuing on from where you left off at the neck...

Drawing the back and tail of a cartoon stegosaurus

As you can see, using the framework to guide you along is very helpful - just follow along the shapes to create the core body of the dinosaur from the head to the tail. You'll notice that I left gaps where the two rectangles are. Similar to the gaps at the legs -- you may also wish to leave gaps along the upper neck, back and tail lines in the areas where you'll draw in the plates later on.

OK... on to drawing the legs...

Drawing the legs of a cartoon stegosaurus

As you can see, the rectangles serve as a very nice position marker for the stegosaurus's legs. Always remember though... it's not about drawing exactly what you see in the example - it's about using the ideas that you see as a guideline... 'food for thought' as you create a dinosaur of your own! It's quite alright to change the look of the legs, even to something more simple and square-like.

OK, go ahead and finish off Step Three by drawing the other limbs...

Drawing the second set of legs for your stegosaurus

With the left (your right) front and back legs drawn in, adding the others are pretty straight forward. The easiest way to draw them is to 'mirror' them just like in the Tyrannosaurus Rex lesson.

And once you finish the legs, it's time to draw in the 'trademark' features of the stegosaurus... it's armor-like plates and its horn-like battle spikes that protrude outward from the end of its tail.

Final Step - Stegosaurus Plates & Spikes

There's really no 'one right way' to draw the plates of the stegosaurus. That's why I only had you draw simple vertical lines. They help get the placement correct so that when it came time to draw them (now!), you can have some fun and come up with unique looking plates of your own style...

How to draw a stegosaurus - lines complete

Something obvious to note here... depending on the look you're going for, it's OK not to have the plates cross over the line and into the body of the dinosaur. This of course would require you erase a number of spaces on the upper neck, back and tail lines to create the effect that you see above.

If you want, draw the plates flush with these lines. Remember, it's a cartoon and as such - simplicity is of importance! Either way, have some fun drawing in each plate. Notice how I made mine fairly unsymmetrical and not-so-evenly spaced. This gives it more 'character'.

Cartoon stegosaurus image

Well, you're just about finished now... just gotta draw in a few more things. Similar to how you drew the legs, draw a second row of plates (two spikes as well) to sort of mirror the first row.

And other than this, your dinosaur drawing is complete! You've now got a very cool-looking cartoon stegosaurus drawing, one you can be proud of... Good job! :-)